Thursday, July 7, 2011

God Sees Your Heart

Thursdays – Dawn’s Devotions for Writers

“The Lord does not look at the things man looks at.
Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord
looks at the heart."  (1 Samuel 16: 7 NIV)

The world often focuses on outward appearances. Society puts pressure on us to look a certain way, and the media both ramps up those expectations and perpetuates them.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look nice. I certainly get a little freaked out some days after stepping on the scale! God wants us to take care of our bodies and stay healthy, but he also doesn’t want us to obsess about our looks.

But today, let’s take this in another direction. Outward appearances can also relate to whether people see you as a successful person, or a failure. Someone who works hard, or who hardly works. A giver, or a taker. Judgments are often made on perceptions. We’ve all heard stories of people who outwardly represented themselves to be honest, but in reality were criminals. Domestic and sexual abuse often takes place in homes, behind closed doors, while the outside world views the family as being perfect.

What does this have to do with us as writers?

Our books may be selling like crazy, and we may have five-star reviews posted on Amazon. Opportunities for speaking engagements may come and then be followed by praise for our abilities to stir our listeners. Fellow writers may see us as mentors, and readers may hope to one day meet us.

We may appear to have everything put together when it comes to careers.…

But, God doesn’t care as much about that as he cares about what’s in our hearts. It grieves him to see people playing games, pretending they’re something or someone they’re not. He knows if our intention is to put the attention on us—or him.

Jeremiah 17:10 says, “"I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve."

The good news. There’s freedom in knowing that God doesn’t look at our worldly success. Our motives are more important than our successes. He rejoices over our desire to serve him. We can still fail by the world’s standards, and still please our heavenly Father—God Almighty.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart …(Psalm 139:23 NIV).

More good news … We’re human. At some point, we’re all going to fail at having pure motives. It’s a given. But, we serve a loving and forgiving God. And all we need to do is ask for his help in getting back on track.  Each morning when we face a new day, we’re given a do-over.  The psalmist prays, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10 NKJV).

Man looks at outward appearances, but the Lord looks at the heart. What will he see in yours today?

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