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A Wisdom Retreat - January 4

The Guise of Godliness

1 Samuel 16:7
But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."

I have never had a State Highway patrolman stop me and say, "Sorry to bother you, sir, but I just wanted to commend you for coming to a complete stop at that stop sign back there . . . here's fifty dollars—have a nice day!"

Nor have I been pulled over by an officer who said to me: "Hey, I noticed you were keeping the speed limit even when you were going down that steep hill. I thought that was pretty remarkable of you to do that, so I want to give you these gift certificates to the Mall... so long!"

This will probably never happen... you think?

Truth is, those who abide by the law will often be viewed by men as the "godly" ones. It happened in Jesus' day with the Pharisees and Sadducees; they deceived men, as well as themselves, into thinking that their own good works were enough to make them righteous before a Holy God. They fully expected God to shower them with gift certificates to the bazaar!

Although it is important to obey the law, it isn't the real test of godliness. Actually, it's possible for you to keep the speed limit and still be an ungodly person. It's possible to stop at all the stop signs, hold the door for women, chew with your mouth closed, clock-in to work five minutes early every morning, and perform good deeds galore—and still be completely unholy in your heart.

Although everyone may sing your praises, the question is: what does God see when He looks at your heart?

God reminded Samuel in 1 Samuel 16:7 that man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. Even today, God is the only one who sees past the gimmicks—the facade, the clothes, the make-up—directly into the heart of every person.

The encouragement of this truth rests in the fact that, because God sees the secret intents and motives of every person's heart, He actually does reward those who keep their hearts pure. Though the world may often get it wrong and may praise deceptive people, God never will.

The world rewards people of influence; God rewards people of integrity... and our reward is just ahead.

Prayer Point: Expose your heart before God and ask Him to cleanse you of all the things you have done recently for the eyes of men, rather than the eyes of God.

Extra Refreshment: Read Matthew 6:1-24.

Wisdom for the Heart online

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Christianity / Devotionals / A Wisdom Retreat with Stephen Davey / A Wisdom Retreat - January 4