1 Samuel 16:7 (KJV)
“But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.”
There is very clear distinction between how we view things and how God views them. The scripture is saying we judge by outward appearance, but God has the ability to look further and see the heart of an individual. Our culture is very much taken up with performance. We are aware of what others do and do not do. At least we would like to think that way. I realize, over my years of ministry, that I have made many mistakes. Sometimes I have thought that I needed to be more disciplined. As grace has made itself real to me, I have concluded that the things that I thought were important, because I judged by the outward appearance, were not as important as I thought them to be.
In fact, I have learned that God is very determined to do something great in our lives. 2 Corinthians 12:9 makes it clear that God’s power shows up greatest in our weakness. I have always been fascinated by the character Simon Peter. I identify with him because of his imperfections. At times he was bad tempered, used bad language, and cursed at people. Yet God uses him to bring 3,000 into the kingdom a short while after he denied knowing Jesus Christ. In the gospel Simon Peter is presented as Jesus’ right hand man and, in spite of all his short comings, God had a great plan for his life.
I am becoming acutely aware that some weaknesses God will never remove. I ask myself, “Why?” Yet I believe I know the answer. It is because it causes us to be aware of our need of Him. If you want perfection in your life, you are going to be waiting a long time. The church needs to give itself permission to be imperfect. Yet always growing, willing to bend, and becoming stronger. May I encourage you not to be hard on yourself because you haven’t arrived where you think you should be. You are a person in a process. That process of change is ongoing. In Ephesians 2:10 we are called God’s workmanship. The intent of that verse is to have a view of God’s continual process of change. I believe that God is in the business of stirring us up beyond all our shortcomings. God does not write us off. There are so many characters in the Bible that have shortcomings. In some places the scripture is quite graphic in its description of those who have failed. Yet God did not give up on them. Many of those characters got back up and went on to fulfill their destiny.
If you believe that you have failures and weaknesses which you may have. I want you to know that God is greater. Let me encourage you to acknowledge what is good about you. Many are overly critical of themselves and do not stop to think about the good things they have been involved with and the many ways in which they help others. So do not beat yourself up when you are in the process of changing. I know it is true that I am not any better than others, but I am also no worse. The great thing that we have going for us is that no matter what God has approved and accepted us through his son Jesus Christ. My closing thought is that God has an invested interest in His perfect plan for your life and He will not give up.