Heart Matters


While we may exhibit pure motives, devotion, and humility, God sees the true condition of our hearts.

1 Samuel 16:2-13

God removed Saul as King of Israel because “he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions” (1 Samuel 15.11). By rejecting the “word of the Lord” (15.23), Saul revealed a heart of fear and a lack of love and obedience for the God who made him king.

So God sends Samuel to anoint a new king from one of Jesse’s seven sons. When Samuel sees the oldest son he assumes, based on his appearance, he is the new king. But after seeing this son and six more, God lets Samuel know, “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (16.7b).

We often tend to be like Samuel: evaluating by physical appearance, skills, and intelligence. We tend to look at the immediate and external and are so easily fooled we can even fool ourselves! But God sees our heart. The impressions we leave may be an unreliable criteria of our spiritual health.

While we may exhibit pure motives, devotion to him, and a humility of spirit, God may actually be seeing resentment, competition, envy, pride, and a heart turned inward toward “self.”

Today, take some time to consider this question: What areas of growth or change would move you closer to reflecting the heart of God? Then read Psalm 139 and pray for God to “search me and know my heart….and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139.23-24).

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