Outside the Zone of Appearance: David
In the first part of this lesson, we looked at verse 7 of I Samuel 16 in the context of how God wants us to step outside the comfort zone of appearance.
“…Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart.”
A great visual was offered to assist in understanding the lesson and now to continue our study, the next four points are practical applications that answer the question:
How do we look on the heart as God does?
1. By staying in close communication with Him. I Kings 8:57-61 is Solomon’s praise to God before the people. The man of wisdom offers his blessing and advice to the people of Israel and in verse 59, a nugget of truth is revealed. Solomon requests that his words be near to God day and night. The more time we spend with God, the more we will see things as He sees them. When I spoke about this particular point during our study evening, I discussed our human relationships and how scheduling time with the important people in our lives is significant. However, if all the time we spend with those closest to us is scheduled, how close are we truly going to be?
It is the integration of constant communication and thought that brings us closer to our loved ones and the same is true with our Heavenly Father.
Continual interaction and desire is how we develop our relationship with Him. While I’m for praying for every meal and at bedtime, if those are the only times we talk to God, how close we will become in having our heart perfect toward the Lord? An old hymn just popped in my head: There’s nothing like sweet communion, a sweet communion with Jesus…There’s nothing like a sweet communion with Him.
2. By keeping good company who will assist your focus on the Lord. I Kings 11 begins describing Solomon and his issue of loving lusting after women. The first three verses discuss the degree of this problem, but in summary, verse 4 explains the outcome:
As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been.
No big mystery, is it? Choose your close relationships with care.
3. By doing right. In I Kings 15:1-5, David, the man after God’s own heart, is described as being fully devoted to the Lord. We are told that he “did that which was right in the sight of the Lord.” Except in one manner, which was fully revealed. How do we have our hearts perfect toward the Lord, thereby having the ability to step outside of our comfort zones and take a leap of faith? We make the constant choice of proactively doing right. Doing what we KNOW to be right according to what God has revealed to us through His Word and any manner He so chooses. Does it mean that we won’t make mistakes? David made mistakes. A huge mistake. He committed adultery and then murdered a man over it. There is no scale of sin degree in God’s eyes. David was still a man after God’s own heart because when he did sin, his heart immediately repented.
Do right, but when you fail, not if, but when, turn immediately to the Lord again.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10
4. By knowing God and serving Him with a perfect heart and willing mind. In I Chronicles 28:9, David details what having a perfect heart is all about. Essentially, this point summarizes the practical application section of this lesson. What steps do we physically take to get out of our comfort zones, those boundaries that hold us in lukewarm spiritual staleness? How do we have a perfect heart before the Lord? We have to willingly use our minds to choose to do the right thing. We nurture the desire to have a close relationship with the Lord.
Wow! I didn’t realize it would take so many words to summarize our Bible study discussion from last week, but yes, there is one more section that you won’t want to miss:
The security of God’s promises to us when we stop keeping ourselves boxed in by these characterless walls of our comfort zones.
These promises will blow down the straw house of our comfort zones faster than anything since The Three Little Pigs!