How many times have you looked in the mirror, only to fix or change what you see? Clothes aren’t right. Hair isn’t right. Accessories aren’t right. Weight isn’t right. What about the pictures that you haven’t posted on your social media or have told someone else not to. Picture wasn’t right. Angle wasn’t right. Face wasn’t right. We put that pressure on our kids constantly. Look just right. Act just right. Perform just right. But truly, none of that matters. It can be all right and still all wrong.
But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:7
The prophet Samuel had looked at seven of Jesse’s sons when anointing a new king of Israel. His own eyes told him that these fine, strong, young men would be the one to anoint. Yet none of them were. It was the youngest son that the Lord chose, David. The Lord knew what was in David’s heart, and even when it seemed wrong to choose the youngest, ruddy, shepherd boy of the family, the Lord knew his heart was right.
We strive so hard to look all put together. We want others to see us as successful, good-looking, wonderful parents who have a story book life and story book children. We live through our children’s successes in sports, performance, academics and popularity. We create a façade and live in it in order to appear as if all is right. But underneath all of that, what the eye can’t see, is something chronically wrong.
So He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is prized among men is detestable before God. –Luke 16:15
You may think that no one knows and that you’ve got things covered up pretty well. In fact, people may long for your life, the façade one, that is. But if they knew about the hurt and the emptiness you feel in your heart, would they still? If they knew you had something you were holding back from God’s forgiveness or grace, would you still hold your standing among them?
Some of us don’t even realize the condition of our hearts. You’re even more unlikely to know if you don’t apply scripture to it. If we’re measuring our lives against the standard of the world, we’re doing ok, right? Or striving to be there, at least. And the thoughts and feelings that we hide are supposed to be hidden according to the way the world works, so that’s normal, right? So as long as we are approved according to what people look at, we’re in good shape, right? Wrong.
Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. -Galatians 1:10
How do we get it right? First, we have to care to. Whose standard are we going to be right at? God’s or men’s? If we’re looking to please men, by all means, continue with the façade. But if we’re looking to please God, to be in right-standing before Him, we have to drop the façade. Let it shatter.
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds. –Jeremiah 17:9-10
To be clear, we can’t please God without the covering of Jesus. He’s our righteousness, because our hearts without Him are desperately wicked. Yet He understands the heart. It’s what He looks at and knows. Without Him and the standard of scripture, we easily swept away by the standards and “ethics” of the world. Without our deliberate attention and eyes on Him and what He’s doing, our eyes can be easily diverted to the things that people see and value instead of what He values and wants to clean in us – our hearts.
I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. – Ezekiel 11:19
How do we get it right? We allow ourselves to be changed by Jesus. We steep ourselves in scripture, allowing the Holy Spirit to shine a neon light on verses that show us our heart’s deceit, areas of our emptiness and our true motives. We allow the wrong to be pruned and His right to be grafted in its place. We pray for the discernment of where our standards are out of alignment, choosing daily to align our hearts with His, and trust Him to complete the work He began in us.
The mirror will only show appearance. Social media pictures will always lack the depth of our personality and the moments before and after the picture was taken. Our kids are a work in progress, with hearts that need Jesus just as much as ours do. He fully sees our hearts…nothing is hidden from Him. Let’s choose to take our eyes off the mirror and what we see, and fix our eyes on Jesus, for He is our righteousness, and in doing so, let Him make your heart right.
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. –Psalm 51:10