I believe God cares more about our inner growth than our external growth. Let me expand.
When Samuel goes out looking for Israel’s first king under God’s leading, he looks first at impressiveness of Jesse’s older sons who were all good looking and strong. They were externally successful – but the purpose of my message is not trying to say there’s anything wrong with that.
What I mean to say is God cares more about what’s on the inside than what’s on the outside.
After God goes on to reject all of Jesse’s sons, Samuel asks if there are any other sons he has. So Jesse laughably says yes, he has another younger son in the fields. But surely God couldn’t have meant him.
David was not externally successful. He hadn’t started up any kind of business, he didn’t have a girlfriend or a wife, he had no education, he hadn’t done anything prophetic or had a big, crazy spiritual moment with God. There was nothing he had to boast about – other than killing bears and lions. And besides he was a kid.
We too daily compare ourselves to others when it comes to our accomplishments. But just like David had still accomplished amazing feats under his belt (he killed bears and lions in his spare time!), I wonder how often we underestimate the amazing things we have done.
Just lately I’ve been getting overwhelmed. I feel inadequate. As a young woman who wants to go into ministry, I look at others and think that they are better than me, that they clearly have accomplished more than me. They’ve gone to Bible school, any congregation laughs at their sermons, the confirmation of their calling into ministry is a no-brainer, and they can speak in tongues – in other words, I can visibly see their external success (not to say that that external success is not an outpouring of their internal growth) and it can often make me frustrated.
So in 1 Samuel 16:7 God finally explains what’s going on to Samuel who’s probably pretty confused and frustrated with God at this point.
“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
Let that be an encouragement for us all.
Again God DOESN’T CARE much for what you’ve done. He doesn’t care about how much money you have, He doesn’t care about how nice your car or house looks, He doesn’t care about how well your kids behave, and He doesn’t care about how many Sundays in a row you’ve helped serve coffee at church.
No, God cares more about how you developed on the inside because of that external growth.
In my circumstance of feeling called into ministry but not actually getting ministry like I see others around me doing, God is more concerned about strengthening my character than beefing up my resume.
1.In what ways are you jealous of those around you? And how are you underestimating yourself in the process?
2.Instead of making an external plan of how you can save more money or exercise more, why don’t you ask God what you need to work on inside of you and then create an external plan to do so.
For example, God’s wanting me to not rely on my feelings so much at the expense of replacing my feelings with listening to Him. So, I’m planning to fill my head with truth – through listening to sermons and reading the Bible more often – in order to equip myself for times when I’d rather go with the flow of however I’m feeling. Instead I can choose to have joy at all times because God is good at all times – I just need to remind myself that.