Saturday, March 1, 2008

The Lord Looks at the Heart

March 3, 2008

"....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 16:7b

Oh how this verse has comforted me over the years. When I mess up, I claim this verse. When I look in the mirror, I claim this verse. When I've been rejected, I've claimed this verse. And when I find myself making an assumption about someone based on their behavior or looks, I remind myself of this verse. The old saying is true, you just "can't judge a book by it's cover." So why do we?

I can compare myself to other so called beautiful, young, skinny, successful, well dressed, or uptown girls and come up short real quick and easy if I'm not focused on the truth. Sure I may have areas in my life that need work, but just as God is not looking at my outward appearance, I shouldn't be super focused on that either. I especially shouldn't be determining my self worth and confidence based on it. My appearance may change over time, but no one can change or take away what's in my heart. Does this mean that we should just let ourselves go and not give any attention to our appearance? Well, of course not! There is a proper perspective. It's God's. Let's look at it now.

Our verse today says that "the Lord does not look at things man looks at (outward appearance)....The Lord looks at the heart." To me that means He's not so concerned with my zits, gray hairs, double chin, belly rolls, thigh dimples, short unmanicured fingernails, generic brand clothing, or salary, etc to determine my value. He is looking right past all that and straight through to my heart. No matter how I look, act, feel, or what I say, He knows what's in my heart. He knows when I'm sorry, when I'm hurting, if I'm sincere, if I mean what I say, and if I'm filled with love. And these are the types of things He really is concerned with. Plus our hearts are the place where Jesus resides, if we've so chosen. What could be more important than that?

I admit, I tend to focus way too much on my outward appearance. I convince myself that people will think something negative about me ("look at her, my she's gained weight" , "why can't she fix her hair better?", "her clothes are too tight") and I even put words in their minds that I believe they are thinking. I heard Dr. Phil once say, "If you only knew how little people were thinking of you, you wouldn't worry about it so much. They are too busy thinking of themselves to pay attention to you."

The only way I've found to combat the lies that fill my head is to fill my head with the Truth of God's Word. The more time I spend in It, the better I feel about just being a child of God. After all "just being a child of God" is the best title I have! I love that when I read His Word it comes to life in my life. Those God breathed words are nourishment to my heart and soul.

I want to encourage you today. If you look in the mirror and question for even one itsy bitsy second the person you see staring back at you, remember what your Creator is looking at. He's not saying, "Oh look at ____________. Her roots look horrible. She ate that big Mexican dinner last night and it shows...just look at that bloated belly. Ooooh and nice plump fat zit you got there sweetie. Why can't you look any better than that?" No, no, no, no!!!!!! That is not the voice of God. When the Lord looks at you, He's more likely saying something like this, "There's my daughter, who I created just because I wanted to. And oh how I love her. She is wonderfully made because I made her and I don't make mistakes. I hope she sees herself the way that I see a child of Mine with great purpose. She is absolutely beautiful!"

Dear Lord, Help me to see myself through Your eyes. Thank you for looking past my outward flaws and into my heart. Help me to keep my heart pure, clean, and filled with love for You and others. I pray when people see me, they see my heart. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

To determine if your perspective is in line with God's answer these questions....and be honest.

1. Describe your best friend in 3 words.
2. Describe yourself in 3 words.
3. What is your best feature?
4. What is your worst feature?
5. If you could change anything about yourself, what would it be?
6. Would you rather be smart or pretty?
7. Have you ever stayed home because of how you looked?
8. Do you compare yourself to others based on how you look and how they look?
9. What are some names you call yourself?
10. If you bought a new shirt and cashier undercharged you, would you tell her/him or would you just acknowledge silently to yourself that you just got a deal!?
11. When a group of your friends are talking about someone in a negative or gossipy way, do you listen? Join in even?
12. Do you spend more time in God's Word or getting ready?

****none of these questions are meant to condemn you, just to make you think!

These questions were just off the top of my head. This is not a real survey. I just want you to evaluate your answers. Do you focus more on the physical appearance in your answers or the heart? Would God like your answers? Would He agree with them?

Make it a goal today to focus on the heart. Find some time to pray and read a few verses from God's Word. If you catch yourself thinking about your outward appearance (or anyone elses!), remember 1 Samuel 16:7b. Say it to yourself silently. Then again outloud. Write it down. It's an easy one to memorize. I bet you can already say it without looking!

Have a beautiful day! Celebrate one of God's greatest and one of a kind!
And please share your encouragement with others who may visit here by posting a comment. This is not about me, but meant to be a place to share how God is working in your life and making you feel beautiful. Also share your struggles. If you want/need prayer or help, speak up. There is someone who would like to share life with you and be your friend. We are not alone in our journey. We need each other. I'm here for you. I hope you are there for me too. Check the sidebar (to the right) if you want to view my goals for the week and how I'm doing. Please post yours too.


****I'm so excited about this month's give away. Thursday morning I'll have the details!


Anonymous said...

Wow, thanks Melissa. This was so good and I need to share these things with my teenage daughters and tonight when we have a girls night is the perfect time.I struggle with self esteem, have a horrible self image although I do not struggle at all with my weight.You are beautiful obviously inside and out and I hope you have a beautiful day. Hope your foot feels better, I have been trying to decide whether or not to have mine done and I think you have talked me out of it!
Blessings, Margaret

Joyful said...

Melissa, I love this post. The Dr. Phil quote made me laugh, but it's so true!

I do a little speaking at Ladies events (maybe only 4 times a year), but I had a friend tell me once, "Don't say anything of great importance in the first 5 minutes, because no-one is listening to you anyway. They are sizing you up, checking you out, examing your clothes, hair etc...looking you over to see if you're worthy of their time." How sad...but how often very true.

As I read your post I thought of a Mark Schultz song, "You are a child of Mine". You put it so perfectly when you encouraged us to hear God saying, "There's my girl..."

Your questions are great - a wonderful way to help us focus on our heart. Because I struggle with this whole - "Who I am in Christ" - I have little "princess" things all around my home as visual reminders that I am a child of the King.

One of my favourite verses is Isaiah 43:4, "You are precious and honoured in My sight...I love you."

May you know you are a treasure in God's eyes today.

Charlene Kidd said...

I thought your questions were great. Thanks for making me think about things. I find that I am doing great with my exercise right now. My eating is mostly good. Your goal on healthy food choices from 3-6 was right on. That is my biggest challenge point each day.
Let me know if you find a secret to combat it.

Melissa said...

Your comments are so good. I am having a blue day and just reading them made me feel better!

Joy, I'm reciting the Isaiah verse you mentioned over and over today. Thank you.

Margaret, Have that surgery! It stinks for a time but from what I hear it's worth it in the end. I'm hoping so at least:)

Charlene, 3-6 is just a crazy time! I guess because the kids need me the most then and I'm trying to fix supper and I'm just getting home from work. I'm a busy eater...I get busy eating! And usually it happens so fast I don't even catch myself until I've put that 3rd handfull of crackers in my mouth.

I'm getting ready to post a new message. A prayer to the Lord, Who loves us just the way we are!

Much Love,