Where is your heart at?

This week’s devotion by

Mbali Sebaeng

Bible reading : 1 Samuel 16:7

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

My aunts were in a fist (or was it a slap?) fight recently. One of them took it upon herself to inform me of what happened. In her relaying of the story, she mentioned that she knew she was a drunk, but she wondered what kind of Christianity my other aunt was portraying, engaging her in a fight for something that she deemed useless? She went on to say that God looks at who you are as a person and how you treat others, not if you are a drunk or not.

While I don’t completely agree with her theology, she had a point.

My other aunt made herself look like she was a better human being and sister by parading her sobriety and what she had achieved. We are under so much pressure; go to school, get your degree, get a job, climb the corporate ladder (yes, even you artistic soul), get a car and house, travel, get married (or not), have children (or not),retire, and finally die with everything on your bucket list ticked off. These are good things, but somehow I don’t think that the treasure is in the acquiring, but in something else.

Maybe God is less concerned with exactly what you’re doing and more concerned with who you are becoming.” Jeff Goins, The In Between

Imagine that! Imagine that in our quest of achieving all these things, God was less concerned with ticking items off the “My Will for Mbali’s Life” list, rather,he was watching who I was becoming in the process of it all. I’ve heard that God is a God of process. Whenever I heard this, internally I would roll my eyes and think “another Christianese cop out!”, outwardly I would nod politely. But it makes sense.

When God sent Samuel to anoint David as king, Samuel had an image in mind of what a good king looked like. But God had something else in mind as the first priority: The heart. David’s heart was after God’s own heart. In David’s journey, with each thing that he accomplished, his heart was becoming more of what God wanted it to become. Don’t get confused, David had the strength and looks (all the outward things) of a king, he was just the youngest. But he had something else that distinguished him.

For your reflection

In the process of fulfilling God’s purpose for our lives, we constantly need to check who we are becoming. Are we becoming more like Christ? Or will he not recognize us as his own when we finally come face to face with him?

Say this little prayer

“Lord Jesus, thank you that you have had a life full of adventure mapped out for me since before I was born. I pray that on the journey of fulfilling all these things, I may always have my heart turned towards you becoming who you made me to be. I ask this in your name. Amen.”

Mbali Sebaeng is a writer, linguist, friend and self-taught horizontal runner. She spends her days teaching at a high school in Soweto and trying not to lose her sanity. Check out more of her thought-provoking writing at Thinking and Thunkings (click link).

3 thoughts on “Where is your heart at?

  1. Hey Mbaz, I like thinking and talking about this subject of acceptance and how God views us. Especially when we start getting his heart for people and what he values in them. I really enjoy it. However at the moment I am in a place of disagreeing with you about the affections of God being motivated primarily by the vision that he has of us and who we are becoming instead of who we are now.

    Something I am exploring and starting to get a grip of is that his affections for me are rooted in him and not in me. His capacity to love me comes from his nature and his goodness. He is so good and he is so great that he enjoys me now. Even in my weakness and even in my failures, even in my immaturity. He loves me and he values me intensely. I definitely agree with you. Something needs to change in the way we pursue acceptance from God and from people.

    I find it really difficult to love myself and to be content with who I am currently with all my flaws and all my weaknesses. I used to think that some of my weaknesses that made me not like myself would be over in a few weeks and then I would be the person that I can take pride in. Guess what the more I tried to deal with my issues and my stuff the more I began to realise that shucks there are a lot more worms where they came from. It was not until, the Holy Spirit began to reveal the father and the love that the father has for me and for us that I began to feel that wow, I am extremely loveable and acceptable by God. He takes extreme delight in me and I move his heart exactly how I am. It was during this time of coming into rest that I began to stop striving for that “one day when I am like xyz” root of my identity that I began to udnerstand more of the grace of God and the delight that he has in me.

    It is a difficult thing to accept completely in society because of the danger for people to stop striving and to stop fighting for holiness and Christlikeness and slip into lawlessness. I am learning though that if my fight for Holiness and the appearance of righteousness is so that I can please God more and please myself more then I am losing sight of what Christ did on the cross. He already made me Holy and gave me his quality of righteousness. By learning to deny my flesh and live in his economy and awareness of the Holy Spirit I allow the grace of God to empower me to become more “Christ”-like.

    I hope this promotes discussion and insight. Sorry that I had to say so much. I guess you have to if there is a danger of being mis-interpreted and mis-understood.


    1. Hey Lest!

      So sorry this reply has taken forever to find its way to you… I wanted to give you a reply worthy of your response.

      I hear you completely and I fully agree with everything that you have said. I guess I did not articulate myself clearly.

      My post was more on the issue of figuring out God’s will for your life and pursuing that will. I feel that we are under so much pressure from the world and ourselves to achieve certain things and be certain people. Sometimes we even think that God is exerting that same pressure on us.

      His love for us is rooted in His love for us. As Brennan Manning put it “He loves us because He loves us
      because He loves us.” And because God loves us, He does have a plan for each life that He created.

      What I was getting to was that we get too fixed on completing that life plan at any cost. The reasons vary; some do it because they think it will make God love them, some do it because they think it’ll make them happy. But I firmly believe that while God was dreaming up our individual lives, He wasn’t as concerned about the PARTICULAR things we would achieve for the Kingdom, rather, I think He was dreaming up of a Mbali who was growing to become more like Christ; in sonship and in worship. The tool he decided to use for her to get to that place would be writing, teaching, marriage, mothering (or whatever else he has laid/will lay in my heart). But even if I decided that I didn’t want to be a writer for whatever reason and took up singing, He would use singing for me to get to that point. He would work it out for the good because he has called me into His purpose and his purpose I believe is to be more like Christ.

      The opposite is also true. I could be a writer (do His will), but be completely unchanged by the writing. I could find myself using the gift for something that doesn’t glorify God. I could lead others astray instead of revealing to them in written word the wonder that is God. My heart would not be turned to God. Through it all, His purpose would not be achieved.

      I want to get to the point where I am not obsessed with the WHAT I am meant to be doing, rather with the WHO I am becoming because I think that this is M.O
      What do you think?

      This has become a post in itself. Hehehe.


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