1st Samuel 16:7
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.
Prove me, O Lord, and try me;
test my heart and my mind.
I have, unfortunately, been one of those people who looks on the outward appearances of others. I have used that appearance to place judgment on those people as well. This is not the way! When Samuel came to look at the sons of Jesse he was sure that Eliab was God’s anointed. He must have looked magnificent and kingly. God sternly rebukes Samuel and affirms that he does not look on our outward appearance but on our hearts. He asked Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” We know the story of how David was called in from watching the sheep. Many people believe that Jesse didn’t call David because of his stature. In reality, David wasn’t a small man. He was quite young though. Perhaps because of his youth Jesse was sure that he wasn’t who God wanted, however, God knew the heart of David and wanted him as king.
Years ago, I thought that I had made it. I was preaching to thousands of teenagers and traveling with well-known Christian bands. Little did everyone know; my heart was full of pride and my life full of secret sin. Everything that I had built came crashing down and people were able to see who I really was. My heart was in bad shape and God knew it. He loved me too much to let me continue to live a hypocritical and sinful life all while preaching the good news. In reality, I had no real knowledge of this good news. I was not applying it to my life. Instead, I was using it to pursue vein ambitions. Now don’t get me wrong, God was still speaking and ministering to me at that time, but I wasn’t listening and obeying as I should have been. It took, quite literally, many years and a deployment to Afghanistan to shake me enough to run back into the arms of my Father. Even then I still struggled with being genuine and real with those in my life who really wanted to see me grow.
The truth of the matter is, where you’ve been, what you’ve done, or what you look like means absolutely nothing to God. If you have given your life to Jesus and are pursuing a growing relationship with the Father, God can use you for anything. I think a lot of times we are the most judgmental of ourselves. We say things to ourselves like, “You’re not good enough,” or “You’ll just fail again,” or “Nobody will listen to me.” All of these statements are lies from the enemy. If you will stay genuine with God and with those whom he has placed in your life, you will grow and thrive in his purpose for you.
We must remember that appearances are deceiving. We should never judge another or ourselves based on what we see. Any change in your heart will be evident on your being but we cannot focus on what is on the outside, the inside is the most important. That’s what God says! When I go to sleep I ask God to forgive me for the things I struggled with and to help me do better the next day. Growth isn’t instant. God desires to have a relationship with you that is real and authentic. If you stay in that lane YOU WILL GROW!