by Dr. Gary Fisher
Director, Church & Faith Relations
Baptist Health System
And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him.” But the Lord said unto Samuel, “Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him; for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” --1 Samuel 16:6-7
We live in a world that is more impressed by form than content. Most of us look at things so superficially, that we miss the deeper issues of life. It is so very easy to judge a book by its cover, isn’t it? We would rather have things that look nice, than things that are effective. We value form over content. Real estate professionals will tell you that on a percentage basis, a new coat of paint will increase a home’s selling value far more than new plumbing. But which is more important to the usefulness and function of the house?
While we look at appearances that are most of the time deceiving, God is not interested in how things look. What is impressive to God goes beyond the surface image and gets down to the basic character of things. When God looks at a life, He doesn’t want to hear or see things that just appear to be good but are just a cover for the shallow substance that resides within. We may be satisfied with good form, a nice family, a new car, a pretty house, a good job, a respectable religion, but God reminds us that the content of our lives is much more important that surface level appearances. The scripture reminds us that “To obey is better than sacrifice.” (I Samuel 15:22) God’s perspective is different than ours. We may be deceived by appearances, but God is delighted by obedience.
We look at the body, the bank account, the breeding, but God looks at the content, character, and consistency of His people.
Lord, help us to be people who live from the inside out. Let us be people of character rather than those obsessed with how we appear to others. Let us be real and genuine as we seek to gain your acceptance. Amen.