The Heart of Our Identity


But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

In a recent sermon, Ben explained that the phrase the Lord looks on the heart could be translated the Lord looks with the heart. I couldn’t help but consider, what does it mean for the Lord to look with his heart? What did it mean for David and what does it mean for me as a believer? Not coincidentally, as I pondered this idea, my daily Bible reading took me to the following passage in Ephesians.

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so that you may know what is the hope of his calling, what is the wealth of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the mighty working of his strength. (Eph 1:18-19)

Did you catch that? “...the eyes of your heart may be enlightened...” Paul prays that the Spirit of God which is alive in these believers would enable them to see as God sees—with their heart.

What is it that God sees when he looks with his heart that Paul prays that these believers will see as well?

To answer this question, we first must ask, “What is it that we see when we look with our eyes?” Do we see the circumstances, limitations, heartaches, regrets, imperfections, brokenness and sinfulness that can so easily come to define us and those around us?

Instead of these believers looking with their eyes, Paul prays that they might see what God sees, how God sees it. So, what is it that God sees?

How does he define us and our believing brothers and sisters? Not by our sin and circumstances or our position or possessions (or lack thereof), but as believers who are fully righteous in the immeasurable power and strength of the finished work of Christ. What is the result of this special sight? The hope of glory that will one day fully define us because of the greatness of the finished work of Christ!

When we see with our hearts, the problems and sufferings of this world are no longer our focus. We see that there is hope for this sinful, decaying flesh. We see the work of Christ as being magnificent enough to declare us as righteous without a single contribution of our own. We see fellow believers, not as projects to be fixed, but as glorious examples of the immeasurable grace of God. We are holy, not because of what we do, but because of who God has declared us to be in Christ. We are free!

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