Men are big on what they make. God is big on WHY they make it. God’s top priority is the motive behind the front-facing life we present to the world.
Scripture so eloquently highlights the vast gulf between the celebrity culture we steep our emotions in and pour our attention upon, and the way of the Spirit:
“But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7 KJV)
The height of his stature…
The people she knows…
The bank balance he boasts, or the clothes that she wears…
The car that they drive, and the house which they own…
The time they spend in prayer?
The service they offer to their neighbor?
The cleanness of their thoughts, and intentions of their heart?
The loving way they live, and the peace they distribute?
The death they have died to self, and the resurrection life they now display?
Why do you do what you do?
“For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12 AMP)
God’s right here. His penetrating eye sees clearly, “…the secret thoughts and purposes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12 WEYMTH)
Jeremiah points out in no uncertain words:
“The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9 NKJV)
This should be a sobering thought for us, especially as salesmen and women. And before you run off thinking you are not selling anything, hang tight. You are!
Each of us has a window we sell to the world, that persona who’s plastered on the public wall.
No way am I suggesting that we can get caught in the game.
I’m not for a moment insinuating that our public and private lives sometimes stand in stark contrast to one another, with a less than perfect life behind the door, and a carefully cultivated image displayed through the various windows we choose to populate.
Not at all. Never. Well, maybe…
But there’s something deeper to consider. The whitewashed world we immerse our attention in is just what it is. The world loves the world and vanity is the norm. What else could we expect, and how can a man not be burned if he stands in the middle of the flames? Case in point, be careful what you consume, you might begin to think it’s real.
Deep to Deep In The Refinery
Dig down to the heart and consider the unplumbed divisions that show up only when we allow deep to call to deep. The ability of our own heart to convince us that we are right and pure, without guile or guise, and purely driven, is quite remarkable.
Think of Peter insisting that he would stand with Jesus whatever may come.
Or the rejection in John in his early discipleship insisting that calling down fire on an unresponsive town was the best course of action to teach them a lesson.
How about Thomas faced with the reality of Messiah’s tomb? Judas tempted by the money purse?
Testing has a tendency to reveal motives that lurk dark below the surface, only showing themselves when the heat is switched.
Step Willingly Into The Fire
Once we stand in the blazing light of Jesus’ presence, the impurities rise to the surface. Better to willingly let Him sift and sizzle them as Savior, rather than wait until you stand before Him as Judge.
God will allow frustrations to boil to the surface. He’ll put flame to your motives to see what remains. The care and concern that the Father has for your soul does not always manifest in ways that that agree with your comforts.
Malachi said that God “sits as a refiner and purifier of silver” (Mal. 3:3).
I read recently about a student who visited a silversmith to watch him at work. Sitting alongside the craftsman he observed him hold the piece of silver in the center of the fire where the flames are hottest to burn away the impurities.
The silversmith remained intently focussed, never turning his attention away.
The student asked why the silversmith had to sit carefully watching over the process at all times. The smith answered that he had to keep his eyes on the silver every second because if the silver were left for a moment too long in the testing fires it would be destroyed.
“You must leave it just long enough to serve its purpose,” he said, “and not a second longer.”
“And how do you know when the purpose is fulfilled and the silver is ready?” Asked the student.
The silversmith smiled, “Oh, that’s easy — when I see my image in it.”