It’s strange to think about, but your heart is the only thing on this earth that no one can see or know. People may be able to see what’s going on inside by your words, actions, and how you react to certain people or situations, but no one can know every single thing going on inside – except you and God. The heart is the source of our emotions and thoughts – all the things that we base our actions and words on. God calls us to live a life that is filled with actions and words covered in love but in 1 Corinthians 13, God says – if you speak the most eloquent speech, if you feed the poor, or if you give your body to be burned (which is kind of a huge deal since you’re letting yourself die for some reason), but have no love, it means nothing. Nothing. How does God measure the love you have? Is it through your action of giving a homeless man a blanket on a cold day? Or risking your life to help a friend who is stranded on the highway? No, God says you can do all these things and not have love. So, what is God looking at when He says you need to have love? He is looking at the heart.
“The heart is more deceitful than all else. And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?” – Jeremiah 17:9
After reading Jeremiah 17:9, I got kind of worried because… if the heart is the MOST deceitful thing and God sees only our heart, what does that mean for us?
The heart, without God and without any guidance, has a natural tendency to go down the wrong path. When God isn’t our focus, our focus turns to ourselves. Selfish desires lead us to make seemingly logical decisions that may have the wrong intentions. They may also seem innocent and we may come off as caring and as kind, but in the end, who is it really for? The thing that frightens me about this is the fact that I know a lot of great people who I know love me and care for me, however I can’t see their heart. It’s easy for me to judge others based on their outward actions to measure how “much” they love me. It’s easy for me to judge others based on their words to think they do really “care.” But we can’t fool God with doing things for Him and saying we love Him, if our heart isn’t focused on Him. Our words and actions are nothing to God unless the heart is aligned with the same intentions.
One of my favorite authors, C. S. Lewis, wrote about this in his book, Mere Christianity (It’s kind of a long quote so you can just read the bolded portion if you’re lazy or don’t have time, only God will know anyway):
“Human beings judge one another by their external actions. God judges them by their moral choices.
When a man who has been perverted from his youth and taught that cruelty is the right thing, does some tiny little kindness, or refrains from some cruelty he might have committed, and thereby, perhaps, risks being sneered at by his companions, he may, in God’s eyes, be doing more than you and I would do if we gave up life itself for a friend. It is as well to put this the other way round. Some of us who seem quite nice people may, in fact, have made so little use of a good heredity and a good upbringing that we are really worse than those whom we regard as fiends. Can we be quite certain how we should have behaved if we had been saddled with the psychological outfit, and then with the bad upbringing.
That is why Christians are told not to judge. We see only the results which a man’s choices make out of his raw material. But God does not judge him on the raw material at all, but on what he has done with it.”
The main thing I wanted to focus on, when it comes to the heart, is that it’s easy for us to judge people based on what we see others do or say. But in God’s eyes, there are people who were not given the same life as us. It’s easy for some people I know to go to church every Sunday, to make time for God, to pray with our friends or family every day, to go to conferences, camps, or retreats where we can hear the Word and grow. There are other people I know who struggle in their walk with God because they have gone through abuse, they have messed up in their walk during college and have a hard time forgiving themselves, or they have been so poor there were times they weren’t sure if they would be able to pay their next bill. Sometimes these people do small things that show a heart that loves God, that no one else sees but Him. We may see them and think they do nothing and therefore aren’t as spiritual as that other girl who is going to another country to spread the gospel. Don’t get me wrong, that is an AMAZING thing to do, but the measure of a heart for God isn’t how far we travel to spread the gospel, but instead, it’s where our heart is at in every single thing we do each day. It can be in picking up the phone and just listening to a friend. After a long day, that can be hard, but doing that small deed in love means more to God in comparison to someone who shares the Gospel with a skewed motivation, such as wanting to tell others in order to gain a sense of pride.
You should be sharing the gospel if you’re a Christian, but the point I wanted to get across is, your intentions behind each and every single little, tiny thing you do should be analyzed – because that is what God judges us on, our intentions, not what we’ve done. You’ve been given a life. God will want to see what you’ve done based on that life you’ve been given, no matter how small the things you do for others may be, do everything with intentional love and a desire to glorify God.