Just a closer look
Look in the mirror. What do you see? Today you may see a new blemish on your cheek, a little puffiness under your eyes, or a few wayward gray hairs that seem to have a mind of their own. Look a little bit longer and you may realize you need to pluck a few hairs, deep clean a few pores, or see the dentist for a teeth cleaning. We 'see' what we want to see, don't we? There are days when I look in the mirror and just give myself a cursory glance. It is like a really quick once over to just make sure all the hair is down, there isn't anything dribbled down the front of my shirt, or that the outfit doesn't make me look too heavy. Other days I find that chin hair that sprung up out of nowhere, or noticing for the first time how tired I look after a particularly grueling set of circumstances have taken their toil on my body. We see what we want to see so many times, but at others we can see things we probably didn't want to see. God sees both - the things we want him to see and the things wee need to see, but may not be really wanting to see.
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at the way he looks on the outside or how tall he is, because I have not chosen him. For the Lord does not look at the things man looks at. A man looks at the outside of a person, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (I Samuel 16:7)
Man looks on the outside and is content to have made that 'cursory look'. The things hidden deep inside a man's heart are oftentimes completely bypassed because there has been nothing more than a cursory look. I know for a fact I have made wrong choices in relationships because I did little more than trust what I saw on the outside to be the exact representation of what would be on the inside! To merely stop at a cursory view of what makes up a man or woman's character is not sufficient to determine the 'make-up' of that individual. I am so thankful God doesn't merely judge by what is on the outside because we can 'make-up' the outside a whole lot better than we can 'make-up' the inside! Mankind has been in the practice of trying to hide their true selves since the beginning of time, so does it surprise you that we are still doing it today?
God looks at the heart because that reveals the integrity of a man or woman. The 'soundness' of moral character is one thing we cannot 'make-up' for very long. Eventually the true character of a man or woman will surface - given enough time and the right set of pressures, the thing we put forward will eventually crumble under the trial. God looks at the 'wholeness' of a man or woman - the 'wholeness' of a heart is determined by who controls the heart. The heart controlled by a self-willed, stubborn man or woman will be hard and calloused. Much like the hard shell of the turtle conceals the soft and vulnerable places of the inner turtle, the callouses on the heart can conceal what we want no one to really know about us.
What is it we are trying to conceal - to not really allow anyone, even ourselves, to see? Perhaps this is the real question we need to answer if we are to finally see a true representation of the integrity of our hearts. Without Christ, our hearts are never wholly free of those calloused places - those impenetrably hard places. The moment Christ gains access to those places, it soon becomes evident where there is a lack of integrity - a lack of wholeness in any of the places where we have misrepresented ourselves spiritually, morally, or emotionally. Maybe this is why we only want to look on the outside of a man or woman - because we are afraid of what we may discover if we look closer. God isn't put off by the 'closer look' - in fact, he desires it! Just sayin!