But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."1 Samuel 16:7(NASB)
When Samuel had anointed Saul as king, it was his tall stature and good looks that caught the prophet's attention and yet Saul turned out to be a real disappointment to Samuel, for his heart was not pure before the Lord. Later, when this messenger of God came to anoint one of the sons of Jesse as God's chosen king, we discover that once again Samuel was judging the quality of the Israel's future king by his outward appearance, and not by the inner attitude and motive of his heart.
But God, Who alone can read the heart, attitudes, and motives of a man, is not influenced by our outward façade nor the good works we manufacture, nor even the exemplary words that may flow from our lips, for the heart of everyman is full of deceit. Appearances can indeed be very deceptive. It is the one who trusts the Lord and acts upon His Word that pleases the Lord. It is the man or woman who loves the Lord their God with all their heart and soul and mind and strength that satisfies the heart of the Lord.
As believers, we all have been given a new life in Christ which is placed alongside our old sin nature, and the thoughts of our hearts and the meditation of our minds can be influenced by either. Whatever flows from our new life in Christ is pleasing to the Lord, but if we choose to allow our actions, attitudes, and the words that come from our lips to be influenced by our old sin nature, we may fool other people, but we can never deceive the Lord, for He alone knows the intent of our heart.
Let us not seek to be man-pleasers, which may get us high acclaim from our fellows and provide us with a worthy reputation in this life, but rather let us take every thought that rises up in our hearts captive to the Lord so that we can be pleasing to Him and store up for ourselves treasure in heaven.
Loving Father, may I heed this warning not to rely on outward appearances, knowing that the heart of man can be so deceitful. Thank You that You look through my outward appearance and see me as I truly am. You even know my motives for my words and deeds. Thank You that nothing is hidden from You. Help me to keep my mind fixed on Jesus in all I say and do, that it may be the life of the Lord Jesus that flows out from me, making me pleasing in Your sight. In Jesus' name I pray, AMEN.
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