In high school, we had a guy on our basketball team that was 6’8” tall. Before one of our games, I told him, “Go out to the court while the other team is warming up. I want you to reach as high up on the net as you can and then stare down the other team for 30 seconds. After that, turn around and walk back here.” My hope was that the other team would take one look at him and change their game plan. I also wanted the psychological advantage before the game because I knew they would take one look at him and believe he was made for basketball. The truth was he rarely made it onto the court because his coordination hadn’t caught up to his growth spurt.
So many times we judge people by their outward appearance. We make snap judgements about whether we like them or not, whether they’re smart or good at a certain task. Many times we aspire to be like someone based on their appearance or how they present themselves on social media. While we look at how someone looks outwardly, God is more concerned with our hearts. David’s brother had the look of a king, but David had the heart God wanted in a king. If God hadn’t intervened, Samuel would have anointed the wrong man.
In 1 Samuel 16:7 God said, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (NLT). God wants you and I develop a heart that desires to know Him and serve Him. When we make it a priority to get our heart right, God opens doors that we’re closed. His blessings are not based on what we outwardly do, but by the posture of our heart. Spend time today seeking God’s presence in order to know His heart more. The more we know His heart, the more ours becomes like His.
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I was chatting with a friend at church recently. We were talking about the need for satellite churches around the city. As we were discussing locations that would be good, he brought up a certain area of town. He broke down and began to cry. He said, “We’ve got to get in there and take the Gospel to the people who live there.” I could tell his heart was breaking for that demographic. I believe God has given this man that burden and that’s why it bothered Him so much that there were so few churches in that area trying to reach them. His passion touched me, and it got me to thinking about the importance of anguish in a Christian’s life.
Several years ago, David Wilkerson preached a sermon called, “A Call to Anguish”. It’s one of those sermons I’ve listened to many times because it fires me up. In it, he says, “Anguish means extreme pain and distress. The emotions so stirred that it becomes painful. Acute deeply felt inner pain because of conditions about you, in you, or around you. Deep pain. Deep sorrow. The agony of God’s heart.“ That’s what was going on in my friend, and to be honest, I was a little jealous because I wanted to feel God’s anguish like that.
In 1 Samuel 1, Hannah wanted a son. Every day she was reminded of her barrenness. God put it in her heart to have a child so she went to the Tabernacle to pray. Verse 10 says, “Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the Lord” (NLT). I believe her anguish was born in her heart by God. I believe it’s something every one of us need. If you’re not feeling God’s anguish today for a brokenness in the world, ask God to share part of His heart with you. It’s time we wept in anguish for the things that break God’s heart so we can do something about it.
Take five minutes today to listen to these excerpts from David Wilkerson’s sermon “A Call to Anguish” and ask God to share part of His heart with you.
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