But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."
Looking on the Heart
Outward appearances can be deceiving. An airline captain who flew international routes also ran a small filling station near his home. Between trips abroad, he got a kick out of changing tires and pumping gas. One morning, dressed in his greasy overalls, he walked down to the local hardware store to pick up a new wrench. "What's new?" the store owner asked. "Oh, I'm thinking of taking the Cairo run this month," the captain said. "I enjoy flying to London and Frankfurt, but I think the change of pace will do me good." He paid for the wrench and left. Another customer asked, "Who's the world traveler?" Rolling his eyes, the store owner said, "Some nut who runs the gas station down the street. Thinks he's an airline pilot!" Both men got a good laugh.
The prophet Samuel also learned that outward appearances don't necessarily make the man. David's brothers, who were first interviewed for the job of future king of Israel, were all kingly looking. God, however, knew their hearts were not right and rejected them. It was not until David was brought before Samuel that God found a man "after His own heart" (1 Sam. 13:14). The most important responsibility Christians have is keeping their heart right with God. Physical exercise profits a little (1 Tim. 4:8), and there is certainly nothing wrong with looking clean and neat, but the real test in God's sight is our heart. No matter how "together" we might appear, if our heart is not pure before the Lord, He can't use us to accomplish His will.
Are you taking good care of your heart? If it has become spiritually out of shape, apply the 1 John 1:9 principle. Make sure that when God looks at your heart, He likes what He sees.
It's the internal, not the external, that affects the eternal.