Over the past few weeks, I’ve noticed in the books and articles I’ve read, sermons I’ve listened to, and movies I’ve watched, a trend to value the external over the internal. Like when we focus on exercising our bodies while neglecting our character. Or we care about a candidate’s political party affiliation more than the message they’re championing.
So, today, I want to take a good look at these lines we draw and the areas we focus on. My hope is that we are each challenged to take a look at what we love, value, and associate with. I pray that if anything doesn’t line up with God and his word, we will each be willing to change accordingly.
The truth is that this process of self-examination should be a constant in our lives. We will need to look again and again at what we’re valuing and how we’re responding to the world around us. It’s easy for our priorities to become skewed, so it’s important to remain vigilant about what’s happening in our internal ecosystems.
As usual, I can think of no better place to start this conversation than with ourselves.
When I first started my step study group at C.R., the leaders told us that people’s physical appearance changes from the first night to the last night. It’s a weird thing to hear because most people don’t change their external routines throughout the program. But the truth is that the internal always radiates outward.
If we’re upset, even if we have the best poker face in the world, it will still show up somehow on our faces or in our bodies. It’s hard to hide hurt and shame, though we try our best to cover those things up. Similarly, when we’re living from a place of freedom, joy, and victory, it can’t help but show even through the most difficult of circumstances.
That doesn’t change the fact that it’s so much easier to place a focus on the external; we want to look good on the outside, curate a put-together social media feed, and make sure that our things reflect a certain image. And I am so guilty of this! Instead of confronting internal issues, doubts, fears, hurts, and unhealthy habits, I tend to insulate myself from others and ensure that my pristine facade remains securely intact.
But, as we’re reminded of over and over again, God isn’t concerned about the outward appearance. In fact, he tends to pick the least likely of the bunch. David was the overlooked youngest of the family. The disciples were a ragtag bunch who hadn’t made the cut in seminary. And Paul was once a persecutor and murderer of those who believed in Christ.
What I’ve found over the last few months, in particular, is that God is concerned about the heart. He doesn’t care if I appear to have everything together on the outside, he cares about what’s going on inside of me. His primary concern is not with what I have, what I appear to have, or even what I do, but with who I am.
This truth is comforting but also makes me feel incredibly uncomfortable. Nothing in me is hidden from his purview, though sometimes I would like for that to be the case. But, when I get uncomfortable with the fact that God is after my heart, I can always return to who he is and, when I am sure about his character, I can feel confident in who I am in him.
My heart (and your heart) is priceless and have been entrusted to us to steward well. My prayer is that we are able to do so.
Do you find yourself valuing the external more than the internal? Why or why not?
Do you see your heart as precious?
Check out A Proverb A Day, available on Amazon.
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