In Front of God and Others
A devotional thought from Mike Cosper from “The Heart of the Matter”
Read: 1 Samuel 16:7
Samuel heard God say this while searching for Israel’s anointed King—it was a warning for him: “Do not to get distracted by appearances. Don’t be distracted by the ways that the world teaches us to judge and assess one another.”
It’s a great verse to demonstrate the idea of the “primacy of the heart.” God is most interested in hearts because they are the core of our being. From our heart come all of our actions, our speech, and our identity in the world. It has a primary role in our relationship with God because our hearts reveal who we really are.
You can fake the externals for a certain time and present the appearance of a godly person. You can fool lots of people along the way, too. But you can’t fool the One who matters most. God wants the externals of our lives to match the internal, and in the case of Samuel’s search for Israel’s King, he wanted a man after his own heart (Acts 13:22).
For us today, this means two things. First, you can’t hide from God—so, don’t bother. There’s no need for us to us to pretend we’re something we’re not when we come before Him. So be weak. Be sad. Be frustrated. Or, of course, be joyful and glad if that’s where your heart is. But don’t feel the need to pretend to be “Super Christian” when you pray or worship; God knows the real you.
Second, be bolder about being the real you before the eyes of others. Integrity means that you’re the same, inside and out. Therefore, don’t be afraid to acknowledge weakness and failure before the world. David was a man with integrity—but that didn’t meant he was sinless! He was a terrific sinner (like you and me), but he boldly sought God’s grace before the eyes of the world. Ultimately, he knew that God loved and accepted him because of His profound grace, and in that light, we can be fearless about revealing our true self to both Him and others.
Pause & Reflect:
• How do you tend to judge others? What’s your usual criteria? How do you usually judge yourself? Where are you frustrated with your own growth (or lack thereof) as a Christian? How does God’s priority on the heart change the way you want to look at yourself and others?
• In what ways are you tempted to fake it with others? How do you “fake” it with unbelievers? How might showing weakness actually increase the strength of your witness?