Yesterday, I attended a professional conference to receive an award. I walked to the podium looking to all the world as though I was confident and secure professional woman. In truth, every piece of clothing I owned was strewn across my bedroom floor because I had spend an hour trying to figure out what I was supposed to look like. I missed the point of the entire first session mapping my path to front of the room. I don’t really even know what the presenter said about me because I was repeating “just keep breathing, just keep breathing, just keep breathing” to myself as she talked.
When I finally made my way to the front of the room to receive the award… which was a very heavy glass vase, insert “don’t drop it, don’t drop it, don’t drop it” here, I actually said to the presenter, “I think I may throw up.” Just classy!
We live in a culture focused on appearances. Whether you consider Facebook and social media, celebrity culture, or even Sunday morning service it seems that we are all consumed with the way we look and appear to others. Once we enter the Christian culture, we catch on pretty quickly to what is expected from us. This sub culture has its own set of rules and expectations which both overlay and conflict with those in the world around us…
Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life Proverbs 4:23 NLT
This is a familiar verse which I’ve most often heard in relation to the culture around us. I’ve often been told to guard my heart from influences, images, and ideas that might negatively influence my life. While I believe that is true, I think there is much more here for us…
This is a verse about the heart, not the heart muscle that pumps blood through my body, but the very core of who I am. It’s also not just the Valentine’s day version of love. To the Hebrew, the heart represents all the immaterial parts of man. This includes our intellect, our spirit, our emotions, our ability to be relational as well as our volition or will. Hebrews didn’t separate these out into different parts like we do when we think of the heart as being about love, the mind about the intellect, and the spirit as being different from both of those things. They understood that all of these things together constitute our heart (lev- the totality of men’s nature). Its good for us to keep in mind that God is not interested in merely our outward appearance, but instead looks right into our hearts.
When Samuel was looking for the next King of Isreal, David’s father did not even consider him for the position (see 1 Samuel 16) “but the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” Throughout the Bible, God looks through the outward appearance to the heart of His creation. If God is interested in our heart, or immaterial inner person, then maybe we should be as well. QUESTIONS: When God looks at your life today, what does He see? How is that different from how you appear to others?