“Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has also rejected you from being king.” —I Samuel 15:22-23

For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” —I Samuel 16:7

            Our Lord is not interested first in what we are doing outwardly.  He is more interested in what is going on inwardly.  He sees within us and knows our very thoughts.  He actually knows what we are going to say before we say it— “Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely” (Psalm 139:4). 

            Many people do things, even good things, and from the outward appearance they seem to be done for the right reasons.  But only our Lord knows “why” we do what we do.  He knows the motivation behind “why” we do what we do.  Good things done from the outward appearance could actually be done in rebellion.  The good that we are doing, if not by the right motivation, could actually be sinful and idolatrous.  It all comes down to this—- Is what I am being and doing out of love for God and love for people?  These are the two commands that determine my motivation for being and doing. — “Jesus declared, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37-40).

So, how’s your heart today?  May we be faithful inwardly so what we do outwardly will be done faithfully as well.  Yes, Dear Father, may this be so by the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Your Son and my Lord Jesus.  Yes, may it be so!

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