Summer 2024

Daily Devotional: Monday, December 4 - Inner Being

“The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” — 1 Samuel 16:7

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Sports fans typically admire the incredible abilities of athletes to run fast, jump high and compete with endurance. And in general, people with good health, physical strength and outward beauty are admired in our society. But the Bible focuses much more on inward beauty — the inner being — than physical attractiveness and abilities. “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

As we look at people, we should be less concerned with appearance and abilities and more impressed with lasting characteristics like honesty, gentleness, kindness, integrity, sacrificial love, generosity, hard work and loyalty. In fact, the Bible says these things are precious to God. “You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God” (1 Peter 3:4, NLT)

When the apostle Paul faced an obstacle, he felt like the ailment would hinder his ability to fulfill his ministry. But God corrected his thinking. “But [the Lord] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

If we look closely at Paul’s prayers recorded in Scripture, we see the main topic is the salvation and spiritual growth of people. Though he did want everyone to have good health and prosperity, his main concern was the Holy Spirit working in people’s lives. “For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being” (Ephesians 3:14-16).

Where is your focus? On your abilities and appearance, or the things of the heart that matter to God?

— Bill Kent, Pastor of Memorial Baptist Church, Sylvania, Georgia

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