Many of us are familiar with the sons of Jesse being ceremoniously paraded before the prophet Samuel to see who would be anointed as the next king of Israel (1 Samuel 16).
As with most people, Samuel viewed the potential candidates according to what he could see, judging by their physical appearance. But it was God who interrupted his erroneous train of thought and informed Samuel the criteria by which He judges is far from the world of human perspective, saying, “But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).
Praise from God will never be about what everyone else sees. Praise from God will never be given based on what is done on the outside of an individual. Outward rituals and performances never impress our God so much as the inner moving of one’s heart.
God has always been in love with the inner man, for it is only in that place of hiddenness where one’s true character and motives reside. In this place, God’s eyes and knowing go beyond the scope of the visible. God’s view of a person is more thorough in reach and scope than any human eye can fathom in that secret place inside.
People work strenuously to put on a show for others. Do the right things, say the right words, and they will see that you are a good person. Performance in a certain way will gain you the right audience and praise from people, right?
How we behave on the outside can be an overflow of the true character on the inside, but this is not always so. While things may look good on the outside, the heart is what matters to God the most. And it is what’s in the heart that receives praise from God.
Paul wrote in Romans, “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God” (Romans 2:28-29; emphasis mine), meaning it doesn’t matter the rituals and performances one does on the outside to make themselves to appear to be a child of God, rather it is “the circumcision is that of the heart” that matters most.
My friend, we are living for the praise of God, living to please Him with our lives. Outward rituals will never impress Him like a true heart that has been changed from the inside out instead of one trying to work righteousness from the outside in.
There are a lot of things that can touch your heart, but when living for God and loving Him touches it more, then something beautiful takes place there. Something that cannot be ignored by the Father.
Prayer: “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” Psalm 139:23-24.
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