This morning as I was deciding what to have for breakfast, 1 Samuel 16:7 came to mind: “For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
Even though I have thought about this scripture many times, the Lord posed a new question that made me think:
“Do you want to be healthy inwardly or just look healthy outwardly?”
A hard question! “Do I want to just ‘look the part’ or ‘be the part’?”
This is even a good question to ask about other areas of life:
- Do I want to just look like a Christian or be an authentic Christian?
- Do I want to just look like a good wife or be a good wife?
- Do I want to just look like a good leader or be a good leader?
- Do I want to just look like a good employee or be a good employee?
Each alternative speaks of your priorities: The first choice speaks of a desire to look good before others, regardless of reality. While there is nothing wrong with wanting to look good, there is a problem when your outside does not match your inside!
The 1 Samuel 16:7 scripture refers to the situation in which God sent the prophet Samuel to see Jesse the Bethlehemite to anoint the new king of Israel from among Jesse’s sons. While Jesse’s son Eliab looked the part of a king in outward appearance, the Lord chose David because David had the heart of a king! The Lord knew that David had a heart to please Him.
So let’s return to the hard question I asked myself: “Do I want to just ‘look the part’ of health or ‘be the part’?”
Some days, I admit that I just want to look the part. It’s okay with me to just look healthy and fit outwardly, never mind what is going on inside.
Some days, I don’t want to eat fruits and vegetables, or exercise to be healthy. My flesh wants to live off junk food and sweets, and not exercise at all.
Some days, I’d be tempted to take a weight loss pill that would bring me instant health and slimness if one existed (and you know that it doesn’t so please stop looking for one)!
Here is the reason: Being the part is a lot harder than just looking the part. Being the part is a heart issue that only God can fix.
Being the part means putting aside your pride, humbling yourself, and asking for God’s help in prayer because you know you can’t do it alone. Putting aside your pride hurts.
Being the part means saying no to your flesh, which wants to act selfishly and without restraint. Saying no to your flesh hurts.
Being the part may mean having the courage to confront past hurts, fears, and pain. Doing all of these things can hurt.
I guess that’s part of the reason Jesus sent us a Comforter (Helper) in the person of the Holy Spirit! He knew we would need comfort to endure not only the sufferings of this present world, but also the sufferings of our own flesh as we strive to do the right thing. Our heart’s desire is to please Him, no matter the cost.
So my prayer today is the same one that King David prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me (Psalm 51:10 ). Lord, help me to be the part and not just look the part. Help me to be single-minded in pursuing good health because it is a sign of respect for the body that you have given me.”
I just ate a banana and some almonds for breakfast because I wasn’t that hungry. After I ate it, I felt good that this food will not only help me to look the part of health, but be the part!