In a previous essay titled My Way Or God’s Way we rhetorically asked the question are we following the will of God or are we rationalizing our lifestyles and actions—in our own minds—so that we believe that we are not allowing sin to control us and therefore walking in the path of righteousness; when in reality we are far from that path. In this missive we will take a brief look at how God knows what is in the heart.
But the LORD said to him, “…I do not judge as people judge. They look at the outward appearance, but I look at the heart.” 1Samuel 16:7 b
Briefly putting this verse in context, Samuel who was still grieving over the death of Saul was ordered by the Lord to go to Jerusalem, seek out Jesse, and at that time he (God) would instruct Samuel which of Jesse’s sons to anoint as the future King of Israel. Upon arriving and encountering Jesse’s son Eliab Samuel thought surely that this young man was God’s chosen as Eliab apparently was a fine specimen of manhood, whose physical appearance was the epitome typical of a born leader and great warrior King stereotypical of those times. But this was not the case as God told Samuel “…I do not judge as people judge. They look at the outward appearance, but I look at the heart.”
We find this theme in several place in the Bible in which we are told God know what is in our hearts, consider these passages;
- Psalm 44:21 … he knows the secrets of the heart?
- Luke 16:15 He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.
- Acts 15:8 God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us.
- Romans 8:27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
Jesus eloquently used this principle to chastise the Pharisees who he accused of justifying themselves in the eyes of mankind, in other words they sought to tell others that their actions were good and proper, that no matter how their lifestyles appeared to be wrong according to the word of God, they were still righteous, at least in their own minds. Through this rationalization they not only deceived others but themselves as well, although as Jesus said, “God knows your hearts!” So who were they fooling? Possibly some of the people, but they were not deceiving God for as the Psalmist wrote, “he knows the secrets of the heart.”
So do you rationalize sin, making “whatever” acceptable regardless of what the word of God says about that particular act? Do you know deep down that what you are doing is wrong, but you use contemporary wisdom—that belief which is of the world, not of God—to not only justify yourself in the eyes of man but in those eyes in the mirror? Please don’t lie to yourself, admit that you are a sinner and seek out God for forgiveness and guidance to overcome your sin; always remembering that he does know what is in your heart and he loves you unconditionally.