But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God does not see as man sees, since man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)
Many years ago, the Lord began to deal with me about the condition of my heart. The importance of keeping it guarded, and not allowing negative things or experiences to cause it to become hardened. At the time I was experiencing difficulties in my personal life that constantly warred against my flesh. My mind would wrestle against my heart/spirit. My thoughts and emotions would try to overrule what I knew to be the truth. I struggled to bring my thoughts under subjection to God’s Word. I would cry out to God often to “create in me a clean heart, and a steadfast spirit” (Psalm 51:10). After finding freedom in Christ, I have been able to maintained this posture whenever my thoughts and personal struggles try to overtake me. Even today, I have to be cautious and not allow the behaviors of others and the negativity in our culture to cause me to drift.
Through my personal struggles, I came to better understand how your heart can deceive you. You can be doing “good works” for God with a bad heart. Our preconceived thoughts can easily move us far away from what God expects from us as His children when we stray away from the truth. Satan can get a foothold in our lives when we began to believe good is evil and evil is good. During these times we need to ask ourselves “what is the condition of my heart towards God and His people?” Scripture says we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities and wickedness in high place. When we consider what Paul wrote to the Ephesians in chapter 6 verse 12, we realize that much of our effort is often misplaced.
. . . . a prophet has a responsibility for the moment, an openness to what the moment reveals. He is a person who knows what time it is.Abraham Herschel, The Prophets
The prophet Jeremiah declared God’s desire for repentance and righteousness regarding individuals and nations. He also prophesied of a future day when God would write His law on human hearts (Jer. 31:33, cf Rom. 2:15). Jeremiah called out the children of Israel because of their unfaithfulness to God. He pleaded with them to repent, calling them to return to God as a nation (Jer. 3:12; cf 4:1; 25;5: 36:15). They were still thinking that they were under the protection of God, yet they had forfeited His protection because of disobedience. Their hearts had become corrupt. They had become great and rich. They did not judge the cause of the fatherless with justice, nor defend the rights of the needy. This was sinful the eyes of God (Jer. 5:27-28).
There is no injustice found in God. He is faithful to keep His covenant promises. It is difficult for God as a loving Father, to deal harshly with His beloved people. Rather than inflict a penalty on the whole people, the Lord tries to purify them (Jer. 9:7). Sadly, all attempts at purification was of no avail. Filled with a sense of security, the people scorned the warnings of the prophets.
Sin hides in the recesses (the inner hidden parts) of your heart and then manifests outwardly when we give into the desires of the flesh.Tweet
Jeremiah 17:9-10 reveals the condition of mankind’s heart. The prophet says that the heart is desperately wicked and “deceitful above all things . . . . Who can know it” (v. 9). Only Christ can diagnose the condition of our hearts and bring the necessary healing to bare on our souls by revealing one’s innermost thoughts and feelings. The next time you say, “God knows my heart!” You may be surprised what God sees there.
God is not looking at our outward appearance nor physical stature. Nor is He looking at how many followers our ministries have or the number of followers you have on social media. He is searching for hearts, “For the eyes of the LORD roam throughout the earth, so that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His” (2 Chronicles 16:9). God wants to open the eyes of your heart to the hope to which He has called you as His dear child (Ephesians 1:18). He wants to stir up a fire on the altar of your heart that can never be quench (Leviticus 6:12). A heart that is set ablaze for His glory.
In light of the climate of racial tensions, political discord and strife in America, I encourage you to search your own hearts, and see if anything is there offensive to God. I encourage you to ask the Lord to create in you a clean heart and renew a steadfast spirit (Ps. 51:10).
I hope this message will open your eyes to the truth about your own heart. The Apostle Paul prayed for the church of Ephesus that the eyes of their heart would be enlightened so they would know the hope to which they had been called, the riches of God’s glorious inheritance in His Holy people, and His great power for those who believe. That same power He put forth when He raised Christ from the dead and seated Him at the highest place of honor and supreme authority.
Min. Dr. A. Francine Green
Notes: All Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.