My Bible study and I recently chased a rabbit trail called The Good Place. It’s a well-written, witty sitcom about a woman’s soul and where it ends up post-mortem. The show revolves around the idea that ending up in the “good” or “bad” place depends on how many “points” you earn. Good actions equate to “points” and bad actions negate those points.
Many think “If I’m good enough,” or “If I go to church enough,” or “If I tell enough people that I’m praying for them,” that makes them holy.
They forget to worry about what is going on in their heart. Though I’ve only seen a few episodes, my fiancée filled me in on the hijinks the characters get up to. Sadly, their mindset is much the same. On Earth they look good from the outside, but their hearts tell a different story.
Over the last year, the Lord has been teaching me about heart intention. Sure, you may look like the ideal follower of Christ, but when He peers past the façade you have constructed, what does God see?
…for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. | 1 Samuel 16:7b
We serve a loving God. Pick any part of the Bible and see that His every action is fueled by love.
Since we serve such a loving God, can we not trust that His plan is the height of fulfillment?
I am so guilty of not being at rest until I have exactly what my human mind conjures up as the idyllic life. Through this idea of “heart intention,” He is teaching me to let go of control and trust in a more wonderful plan.
Rather than seek happiness and earthly gain, I remind you, friend, as He reminds me:
Seek the fullness of God.
Rest in the heavenly joy which surpasses happiness!
Claim the unquantifiable fulfillment He grants in the mere knowing of Him.
Christ is the Prince of Peace and He offers us that peace. Not only external peace, but the inner quieting of the turmoil that so often besets us. I know firsthand how stressful it is to be plagued with constant worry over what others think and the idea that not doing enough means you’re not good enough. But it is not that external state that matters.
God looks at the heart.
He calls us to ask of Him:
Examine me, O LORD, and try me; Test my mind and my heart. | Psalm 26:2
When I did, oh boy did He test me. Sure, I was “serving.” But the motivations behind my service were all wrong. I served so others could see me serving, or so God would reward my service with earthly things that would fulfill my plan. We’re still working on it, He and I, but He continues to gently remind me to trust my Master, to fix my heart on His plan.
Please don’t take a single word of this to mean that I want you to stop serving God. I actually aim to encourage you to check your heart intention, refine it as the Lord leads, and consequently desire to serve Him all the more.
Stop worrying about proverbial “points” or what onlookers may think.
Forget your plans. Daily turn your eyes upon Jesus. Let the things of earth grow dim until the only thing you see is Him.
…serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will let you find Him. | 1 Chronicles 28:9