“For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7b
At first, this verse seems to be comforting. You can take it and say that people don’t view you the right way, that they think you’re something terrible, but God sees the good in your heart and knows that you really aren’t that bad. That’s the way I’ve been taking this verse ever since I read it.
But is that really the only interpretation we can get from that? I don’t believe so.
I will say, to begin with, that in the context God was telling Samuel that He was searching for a man after His own heart — David. All his brothers looked good on the outside, but it was David that the Lord wanted to be king of Israel. David, though a man with many faults and many mistakes, had a heart after God — he had a heart that desired God.
So this brings me to my point. The verse really should not only make us feel good when we’re feeling batted around like a cat after a mouse, but it should make us stop and think, “Is my heart desiring God? Is it true to what the Lord has for me?” The verse tells us to forget about what people think about us, whether it be positive or negative, and look to our own heart and see if it is what the Lord wants.
So what does He want? He wants us, frankly. He wants us to focus our attentions on Him, even through the daily routines of life. Does He care whether we choose to have cereal or eggs for breakfast? Not really, in that sense, but He does care whether we’re thinking about Him and taking care of the body He gave us (in other words, at least eat breakfast).
I have been asking myself lately if my heart has been in line with His. Honestly, I’m pretty far off. My walk with Him has been a part of a list that I have in my mind, which He really should be my life.
An example of how this affects me is how I have reacted to “being the good wife”. I’ll get a little personal here, but it’s needed to make my point. Adam asks me often to run errands for him. Somedays I don’t mind because I have the time and energy to do them, and I know that with his work schedule he really can’t get these things done. However, other days I grumble. I grumble and still run the errands because I just can’t get myself to say no and be a selfish brat like that. A friend may look at me and say, “You’re such a good wife — you run errands for your man. He’s so lucky.” But the Lord looks at the heart. He does not praise me for doing it because He knows I grumbled. Instead, He offers another chance to get the right attitude and has Adam ask me to run yet another errand, the following day. Do I get it? No. It takes me a couple of times to realize that God doesn’t give us tests once, but as many times as He sees fit to put us in the right mind and the right attitude of the heart.
He doesn’t do it because He’s nasty. He does it because He knows our lives would be so much better if we just smiled in our hearts and took joy in being alive in Him by serving others. With a happy heart, not a happy face with a grumpy heart.