Devotional

“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. 

In the introduction to the movie Beauty and the Beast, we are told that the prince had everything his heart desired, but was spoiled, selfish and unkind. The beast’s issue was not his appearance, but the condition of the heart. The beast is a microcosm of the human experience. It is evident throughout history or even by picking up the Bible that humanity may try to rise above the evil that is deep in their hearts, but continually fails. “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked…” (Jeremiah 17:9) 

It doesn’t take much study in the Bible to realize that Jesus is concerned about the heart. It is also equally obvious that Jesus is not concerned about cleaning up our act on the outside. “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy—full of greed and self-indulgence! You blind Pharisee! First wash the inside of the cup and the dish, and then the outside will become clean, too.” (Matthew 23:25)

Jesus is not concerned with outward appearance. The goal of Jesus Christ is to change the hearts of sinners like you and me. That is because the heart is what you are, with no veneer. The heart is what you really are, when nobody is watching but God: what you are, in the secrecy of your thought and feeling. And what you are at the invisible root matters as much to God as what you are at the visible branch. “The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7). From the heart are all the issues of life.

So the heart is utterly crucial to Jesus. What we are in the deep, private recesses of our lives is what He cares about most. Jesus did not come into the world simply because we have some habits that need to be broken. He came into the world because we have hearts that need to be purified.

God is looking at why you do what you do. That goes to the level of the heart. Given the mess we are in if left to ourselves and our sinful nature, it is amazing that God would love us enough to reach down and offer us a new heart, and a new mind, and new motives. But that is exactly what He does.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How does God speak to your heart? How does God give us a change of heart?
  2. How can we help God clean up our heart this week?