Do you ever put pressure on yourself? Maybe a work project has got you overwhelmed, or you set expectations for a particular relationship. You hope things go a certain way or try to wear multiple hats simultaneously.
Me too. Beyond daily responsibilities and activities, I hold myself to high standards in emotional, relational, and spiritual matters.
I frequently tell myself and others (including God), that I just need to be better. I should be improving this or doing that.
I was weighing this (as I often do), when I had an unmistakable inner dialogue. Upon thinking “I just need to be better,” I felt God’s truth penetrate my spirit. “That’s not what I want from you. I want your heart.”
It wasn’t an arbitrary whisper; Scripture affirms it!
The oft-quoted words of God from 1 Samuel make it clear: “The LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart” (16:7).
In Zechariah 1:3, God implores His people, “Return to me, says the LORD of hosts, and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts.”
The cry resurfaces again and again.
“‘Return, faithless Israel, declares the LORD.
I will not look on you in anger, for I am merciful, declares the LORD; I will not be angry forever’ … ‘Return, O faithless sons; I will heal your faithlessness.’”
– Jeremiah 3:12, 22
“Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God,
For you have stumbled because of your iniquity.”
– Hosea 14:1
“‘Yet even now,’ declares the LORD, ‘return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.’ Return to the LORD your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and He relents over disaster.”
– Joel 2:12-13
He wants ourselves, not our sacrifices. Paul advocates offering our bodies as living sacrifices through spiritual worship, which God regards as holy and acceptable (Romans 12:1).
And we know from Hebrews 11:6, “Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.”
So yes, God desires us to be like Him, but not merely outwardly—rather, wholeheartedly.
God’s Provision: Deuteronomy 4:29 promises, “You will seek the LORD your God and you will find him, if you search after Him with all your heart and with all your soul.” He is able to be found, and in fact wants us to find Him!
Word of the Week: Guileless. Innocent and without deception. Jesus says the pure in heart will see God (Matthew 5:8), for indeed, God delights in the humble (Psalm 149:4). Our Triune God values sincerity (2 Corinthians 6:6, 1 Timothy 1:5).
Of course I should be better; we all should. But, Christ made a way; He is the Way. And now, genuine holiness and obedience from the heart is what He desires out of us.