Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Lord looks at the heart

By Hayley Boud

I Samuel 16:7b“The LORD does not look at the things man looks at.
Man looks at the outward appearance
But the LORD looks at the heart”

Only God knows what is in our hearts. We can look like we are worshipping God but actually we are thinking about something else. Or we can look like we are not concentrating when we really are. For example, Bertila, she often looks distracted and I am sure she is not listening but when I ask her to repeat what I have said, she can repeat it word for word. So it proves that only God knows what is going on inside. On the outside, her appearance looks distracted but she is actually concentrating.

Any other examples?

I usually close my eyes at the meeting because of allergies my eyes are often sore and so someone might look at me and think I’m asleep but I can hear everything clearly and I remember more than others. Other people look like they are awake because their eyes are open but they are actually sleeping. Some people even nod and they look like they understand but when you ask them a question, they are completely lost. We might think we are fooling people but we can never fool God.

This makes me think of the verse (Gal 6:7), “God cannot be mocked” can’t mock God. You can’t pretend to be something in front of God. The verse continues, “you reap what you sow” meaning if you are asleep during the meeting, you will reap the consequences of that sleep. You will not benefit from the Word of God as others do because “faith grows by hearing the Word of God”(Rom 10:17) and so you will reaps the consequence of not listening.

We will also reap the consequences of our excuses. “I’m not able to come to the meeting because I’m so busy” but God knows if that is true or not. He also knows if your business is important. It’s not up to us to judge others but we should judge ourselves because one day we will stand in front of the highest judge and He will remind us, “on such a day, you said you couldn’t go to the meeting because you were tired but you stayed home and watched T.V.” God knows what is in our hearts.

Another example is giving the appearance you are working when you are not. I’ve seen lots of people do that. They can look like they are holding something and using it but they are just mucking around. God knows, so you can’t fool him into thinking you are working when you are not. This would be a big mistake to pretend you are praying or pretend you are using your gifts. God can see clearly if you are or not, so there is no need to pretend.

God doesn’t look at the things that man looks at. So what are the things that man looks at? We look at people’s hairstyles, clothes, your car, your position at work/church, if you are married or not, are you worshipping with your hands raised, do you carry a Bible with you.

God doesn’t look at these things. He doesn’t care about Hayley’s haircut that others might think is old fashioned. He doesn’t care and neither should we. We shouldn’t neglect our outward appearance but we shouldn’t judge others because of it and we shouldn’t make it our main focus.

“Keep up appearances” is when we pretend everything is alright when it isn’t. People do this in marriages when they pretend in front of others that everything is fine but at home it is a disaster. People do this with finances too. They are too embarrassed to admit they are struggling so they pretend they are ok, when they are not.

It is not a good idea to do this with our spiritual life. We can’t pretend to God that everything is alright spiritually when it isn’t. We must admit our weaknesses, we must confess our sins, we must tell God when we need help because if we try to pretend we don’t need God’s help, we will find ourselves in a serious problem. God is the only one who can help us, so don’t hide from Him (you can’t anyway). When we are weak, that is when God’s power can rest on us (II Cor 12: 9).

“Heart” is obviously on the inside because God doesn’t look at the outward appearance. So our heart must be the inner, hidden part of us. This makes me think of I Pet 3:3-4.

“Your adornment must not be merely external--braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses;
but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.”

“Adornment”: decorate
Making ourselves look beautiful or attractive
The things we do to attract people (and God) to us should not be only the physical things like make-up and hair.

“Be merely”: doesn’t mean we can’t wear make-up or dress nicely or wear jewellery or braid our hair. In fact we should look nice outwardly and we should look respectful.

“Hidden person of the heart”: it’s hidden, meaning it’s not seen outwardly like clothing or jewellery but it is inwardly.

It’s about our heart. The Bible says the heart is where our treasure is (Luke 12:34) and from the heart we sin.

Mark 7:15-21There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him."And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. 18And he said to them, "Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, 19since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?" Thus he declared all foods clean.) And he said, "What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery,

If our hearts love money, then that will be our focus but if our hearts love God, then we will live completely different lives. If our hearts are pure, then so will be all our actions and all our words. If I’m angry against someone, eventually I will spill my anger on that person but if I have forgiveness, then what is on the inside will show on the outside.

Therefore we need to work on our inner character and on our soul much more importantly than our physical bodies. If I spend 15 minutes per day showering with physical water then I should spend at least 15 minutes a day showering with spiritual water (reading the Word of God).

If I spend 15 minutes per day putting on make-up and doing my hair then I should spend at least 15 minutes per day praying. But it’s hidden, we don’t have to boast and tell others. We do it in secret as the bible says to not let the left hand know what your right hand is doing (Mathew 6:3).

“Imperishable quality”: means it will never disappear, be destroyed or forgotten, it is everlasting.

The quality of a gentle and quiet spirit lasts forever. It’s something that will go with us to eternity. It’s a quality that can’t be destroyed or forgotten. When things become difficult, the quality remains. When people talk rudely, the gentle and quiet spirit isn’t destroyed. When situations become tough, the gentle and quiet spirit isn’t forgotten – we continue to act gently and quietly.

“Imperishable quality”: how good or bad something is; is our character good or bad.
The feature of a person’s character
Of high standard

“Gentle”: according to the dictionary gentle means to be careful not to harm.

E.g. when we hold a baby, we hold the baby carefully. This is how we should think about other people’s souls. Our actions and our words can easily destroy someone’s chances of their soul making it safely into the Kingdom of God. If we are rough with others, they can lose their spiritual life in the same way that if we are rough with a baby, we can easily kill them.

According to the dictionary gentle means:

Kind and calm
Don’t use force
Not strong or unpleasant

When we speak, we need to be kind and calm (even if the situation is boiling up) and we don’t need to use force (even if we think we are right) or be strong or unpleasant. We have to gradually lead people in the right direction.

“Quiet”: making very little noise

As Christians it is important to not make a lot of noise, don’t complain, don’t argue, don’t discuss, don’t justify, just keep quiet. If someone annoys you, just keep quiet. If someone offends you, talk quietly and explain nicely. If someone tells you that you are wrong, keep quiet, let them talk and say thank you. If you do something good, don’t boast, just keep quiet.

We do this because the quality of a gentle and quiet spirit is “Precious in the sight of God”. When God sees us with a gentle and quiet spirit, He is proud and this is His treasure (precious means a treasure, something that is valuable and rare).

So let’s remember God sees everything and we can’t fool God. We also can’t fool people. We might think we can but we can’t, eventually it will be seen. If we don’t read the bible daily, it will be obvious to those around us because our actions will prove it or our lack of knowledge will show others. If we don’t forgive, it will be seen by others also in our way of talking. If we don’t change what is on the will be seen by God and by those around us, so let’s make an effort to look at our hearts and judge ourselves correctly and make the appropriate changes. Let’s make an effort to keep a gentle and quiet for eternity so God will be proud of us.

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