1 Samuel 16:7 – “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.” NKJV
This is an incredibly powerful and important truth that too often the church has missed or ignored. Through the years of ministry, I have often been amazed at how God will take someone who is not polished and does not have the credentials or physical appearance or speaking ability and use them mightily. I have watched young men and women pursuing ministry and many of those I associated with would gravitate toward the one that LOOKED THE PART rather than WATCHING THE HEART. That is a temptation and tendency I have been guilty of as well, so I am not faulting them only noting that this happens too often.
Based on the statements of Paul about his physical appearance and possibly his speaking voice I doubt that he would have been the one that many congregations today would have gravitated toward. I don’t know what Paul’s physical appearance was nor how he sounded when he spoke but I do know what his heart was, based on the written word and result. Samuel was looking, as do most of us, for the most desirable to the natural eye but God was looking beyond the external to the internal. God ALWAYS looks at the heart or the inside of the cup, not the exterior. God wants a heart that is broken, tender, and pliable in the hands of the Holy Spirit.
Many of the historic reports of a mighty Man of God, Jonathan Edwards illustrates what I’m saying. Many of his contemporaries and those following described his preaching as monotone and that he would stare at a rope at the back wall of the church without any gestures, and virtually read his manuscript word for word. He had none of the fiery eloquence of George Whitfield according to many reports. Whether this is the complete picture or not, I do not know, but I know from the historic report the result of his famous sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” and how it impacted people’s lives dramatically and brought many into the kingdom. That would lead me to say it is ANOINTING not ELOQUENCE or APPEARANCE that is most impactful in preaching. I have sat under preachers whose grammar was terrible but the Power of God was on them mightily. They did the best they could with their limited education but as with the disciples, they may have been ignorant and unlearned but it was evident they had been with Jesus. When they spoke, you could hear Jesus speaking as clearly as if He were standing there. When they prayed, you could hear Jesus praying as surely as if He had been there in person.
In today’s world, even in the church, too often we required entertainment to whet our spiritual whistles. We have a TV mentality and need short bursts with commercial breaks to accommodate our attention span. We are looking for eloquence, polish and appearance to soothe our conscience and when we hear someone who is clearly not eloquent, polished, or cut from the cloth of a model we turn them off. God is not looking at the external He is looking at the heart. When God finds a heart that is tender before Him, contrite and broken, and pliable He will take that heart and burn His message into it so that “Christ in us” shines forth. If you only see the external you will miss the best God has to offer. If you think you have to step out of GQ Magazine to be used of God, you will miss what He is trying to do. No, I am not saying you should be unkempt and not work on speaking properly and follow proper etiquette but eloquence and appearance are not anointing. If you want to turn your Jerusalem upside down for God get in His presence and give Him your heart. He will do the rest! Be who God made you to be and you are comfortable being and ask Him daily and continually to “Create within you a clean heart, renew in you a right spirit, and never take His Holy Spirit from you.” My daily prayer in addition that is, “Lord, let the mind be in me, which was also in Christ Jesus.” I long to know Him more deeply all the time and want Him to guard my heart and my mind so that I think His thoughts and my heart remains tender and pliable.
May the Lord be with you as you enjoy this wonderful day in Jesus!