Pastor Nick Cleveland

Do you remember your first car? A firebird, a Dodge Charger or a Buick Grand National? Mine was a 2-door, powder blue Plymouth Sundance. A few weeks into owning it, I had already called AAA over a dozen times! The car looked fine, but under the hood there was definitely a problem. There was a problem with the starter misfiring that ended up being a simple solution, but until it was fixed, the car simply wouldn’t start. You wouldn’t notice that looking at it in the driveway, but under the hood it was a mess.

We are attracted to appearance. We put a super high value on the external “look” or “sound” of something or someone. Maybe nowhere is this more visible than in Hollywood. Actress Carrie Fisher once said, “I’m in a business where the only thing that matters is weight and appearance. That is so messed up.”  Like the side mirrors on your car that read, “objects may be closer than they appear.” Our reality is that our mirrors might say, “objects may not be as they appear.”

We are attracted to appearance, but God looks at things much differently.

We are drawn to the outside, but God is drawn to the inside.

It’s not like God all of a sudden changed the rules on us. He has ALWAYS been more concerned about the heart. Israel’s first king, Saul, was failing miserably. He was chosen based on the wrong checklist – man’s checklist. King Saul looked good on the outside, but he was proud and disobedient in the inside. When God appointed a man named Samuel to find his replacement, he immediately tried to use the wrong checklist again and thought he found the perfect candidate in a tall, strong, kingly looking man. But God said, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. 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)

The guy God really wanted was actually the kid brother, a shepherd boy, named David. David wasn’t the biggest or the strongest. David loved God and had a desire to follow him. God even described David as a “man after his own heart.”

Instead of focusing on appearance as the deciding factor, what if we looked deeper inside, to the heart? What if we focused on being authentic to who God has created us to be? Many of us are being held back by the fact that what’s happening on the outside doesn’t match what’s happening on the inside. To begin we have to look at things differently. We must see from God’s perspective.


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