As we lay down for a bedtime story my little five-year old granddaughter listened as I told her about the anointing of David to be King of Israel, even though he was just the baby in the family and not even thought worthy of consideration. God looks at our hearts, I explained to her. People just look at our outsides, God sees everything within.
The human heart can only be judged by God alone. We sometimes think we know another person’s motives, but truly, God alone knows motive. Oh, for the ability to see people as God does – from the heart perspective! How thankful I am that God deals with me according to my heart – not my popularity, looks, financial situation, fame or any such external.
It is so easy to get caught up in the way others view us – and that can have an effect on the condition of our hearts. We ought often to remember that we play to a “one man audience,” and His opinion of us is the one that counts. God knows how prone we are to allow other people and situations and things to become more important to us than they should. The Old Testament speaks a lot of about the worship of idols which seem unrealistic and bizarre to us now, but the heart of people remain the same. We tend to put other things in the place in our heart reserved for God alone – and that always causes trouble. It starts spiritual heart disease, and changes our spiritual health. It solidifies our hearts when they were meant to be soft and tender. David was called a man after God’s own heart – because of the condition of his heart. He still did things wronged and committed some devastating sins. But when he repented he did it with his whole being and his heart condition returned to a gentle state before the Lord.
The prophet Ezekiel gave us words of hope for the human heart:
And I will give them singleness of heart and put a new Spirit within them. I will take away their stony stubborn heart and given them a tender responsive heart so they will obey my decrees and regulations. Then they will truly be my people, and I will be their God. Ezekiel 11:19-20.
There are many things that can be instruments to harden our hearts – disappointments, hurts, betrayal, rejection, financial reversals, tragedy, and the list goes on. A human heart either becomes harder or softer one tiny decision at a time. Turning to God exactly at that moment when our hearts hurt allows positive change to take place. It’s a daily surrender. Being able to trust God even when life is hard restores our hearts to its tenderness, giving us supernatural peace to face our circumstances and genuine hope to help others along the way.