“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.’” I Samuel 16:7 (NIV)
Last time, through sharing my struggle with food, I talked about how God sees our heart for Him even when we deliberately choose to disobey. Today I want to talk about the other side of that issue: God seeing our hearts when we think we’re obeying but still falling short of the mark.
It is my opinion that our kids, for the most part, try to be obedient. Whether that is because they love their dad and me and want to please us or whether they are trying to avoid a negative consequence, I’m not sure, but overall they have a heart to obey. However, recently I saw in action that disobedience occurs…at times unintentionally. There is nothing sweeter than to see the innocence in your child’s face when they think they are obeying even when you know they have missed the mark. That moment when innocence and confusion collide, when they realize they have messed up is when I can see a glimpse of their heart the brightest. And I can’t apply a consequence to a misplaced behavior when their heart was in the right place.
I think that’s how God sees us sometimes. In fact I know He cares more about our heart than our actions. He says in I Samuel 16:7, “…‘The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’” (NIV)
I’m glad that God judges us based on our heart, not based on our actions. We aren’t perfect and therefore we will sin. A lot. Even when we try not to sin, we will still fall short and disobey at times. Just as I can’t bring myself to punish one of my children when they disobey unintentionally, I’m glad God doesn’t punish me when I disobey unintentionally.
Instead of punishing or condemning our misguided behavior, God gently and lovingly gets our attention and then speaks truth into our life, giving us a chance to obey. When done that way, I gladly obey and change my path. God has done that multiple times in my life, in fact one time very recently. In the summer of 2013, God used a friend to recommend a book to my husband and I: The Blessed Life. We had been tithing faithfully, but the book showed us areas where we had been misguided and needed to change. Our heart was in the right place, but our actions spoke a different story. We gladly made those changes. In 2015, we were again re-introduced to The Blessed Life through a simulcast at our church. I was excited to go through the message again and this time, God pointed out another area where I was again disobeying, not intentionally, but disobeying nevertheless. I’ve gladly changed directions and now have peace that my actions and my heart once again line up.
There will be times in our lives when we will disobey God deliberately and also unintentionally because we are sinful creatures. However, God sees our heart and when we are His children, He continually calls us back to Him, wanting us to show true remorse to continue a close walk with Him. I’m so glad that God sees my heart and “want” to obey even when my actions scream the opposite at times.
© Cheri Swalwell 2015