Inside Out

“But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.’”
1 Samuel 16:7 NKJV

Winston was a wrestler, spy, bird, racecar driver, angel, and the president. Winston, in reality, was a Yorkshire Terrier. For many years, his owners, Dave and Pam, entered Winston in an annual pet parade contest. On the day of the parade, he was bathed, combed, and dressed. He wore hats, bows, shirts, wings, eyeglasses, booties, and even wore a helmet one year. His float was a baby buggy decorated in theme. The crowd and the other animals easily distracted Winston. He was eager to jump down from the float once the parade ended. He would roll in the grass, stop at every tree, sniff every blade of grass, and play with other dogs. The outfits changed only his outward appearance. In his heart, Winston was and always would be a dog.

We can wear tailor made suits or blue jeans; high heels or sneakers; diamonds or costume jewelry. We can do many things to change how we appear. Clothing, shoes, and jewelry cannot alter a heart that is not loving, generous, and forgiving. God sees past our outward appearance and looks into our hearts. He knows who we are on the inside. We can clean up our outside, but only God can clean up our inside.

Father, help me to care more about the condition of my heart than my outward appearance. Create in me a clean heart.

By Angela, Ohio, U.S.A.