MsDora, a former teacher and Christian counselor, presents practical Scriptural principles for joyful everyday living.
People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 NLT
My little seven year old cousin and our neighbor's seven-year old daughter were close friends, most of the time. At other times, their relationship had off-days (really off-hours or minutes) when they didn't communicate because one upset the other. One afternoon, after my cousin announced that she and her friend were not on speaking terms, she surprised us by asking for some extra dinner, which she intended to share with the temporary non-friend.
My mother was surprised, but she granted her request. My little cousin got ready to walk across to the neighbor's yard to deliver the food. As she left, she said in an obvious vexed tone of voice. "I want to see her choke."
We do not benefit when we impress others with our good deeds, while our motives condemn us. When certain individuals and groups consider us kind, responsible and generous among other virtues, they may place us on their good-people list. However, the more commendations we receive, the more likely we are to forget that while people judge our actions, God judges our hearts.
How good are we when we respond to offenses with an unforgiving spirit, which we cover up behind bright smiles? Do we forget that God knows the truth when we show kindness to someone only because we expect a return on our generosity? The challenge is to surrender to God's Spirit and allow Him to reside in our hearts. It is His nature to produce "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness" (Galatians 5:22) and all the other virtues which produce good deeds.
Without this spiritual enabler inside us, negative words of condemnation, attitudes of resentment and habits of discrimination can grow into hate without disturbing our posture of seeming goodness. It's all about surrendering to God's love for us, and realizing that our love for Him is manifested in our love toward others. (1 John 4:20) Good deeds come from good hearts which are filled with God's love.
Finally, Spirit-filled believers do not perform good deeds just to earn a do-gooder reputation. The purpose of our goodness is to mirror the goodness of God in our interaction with our family, friends and strangers. It is His goodness to us which makes us strive to be good to others. The more grateful we are for His goodness, the easier it becomes to be genuinely good to others.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, please let us focus on being versus only doing good. May we represent Your goodness in our good deeds to others, in Jesus' name, Amen.
Quotes on Being Good (Having a Good Heart)
- “Striving to be good is the ultimate struggle of every man...Being good requires sincere commitment, discipline and strength.” ―Suzy Kassem.”
- “To care about your outward appearance is important, but what’s more important is to have a beautiful soul.” ―Roy T. Bennett
- “Good heart leads to good work with the hands.” ―Lailah Gifty Akita
- “When you have a good heart, kindness becomes a responsibility you take up.” ―Ufuoma Apoki
- “Do good and be a good person because that’s just what the Lord expects...It’s what the Lord expects.” ―Andrew Galasetti
- “Sometimes, we may discover we helped the wrong person, but that should not be a reason to stop helping other people in need, even though we were fooled . . . Don’t let the fools spoil your good heart.”
―Nico J. Genes
- “Sometimes being kind allows others to see the goodness in humanity through you. Always be kinder than necessary.” ―Germany Kent
- A magnetic personality doesn't necessarily indicate a good heart. ―Laura Linney
- “A good heart is the finest ornament, the best makeup, the best cloth, the best jewel, the best lipstick and the best earring!” ―Mehmet Murat ildan
- “With everything in life, you have to look down deep into your heart! That fact is true with all things! If you have Jesus inside, He will give you all you need to say, and all the actions you need to do!” ―Mary Kate
More Sundown Devotionals
- Sundown Devotional: Tribute to A Father's Legacy
My father died before I was old enough to remember him, but in that moment, my heart embraced him with all the strength it had. I had benefited from his legacy of kindness. He was real and unforgettable!
- Sundown Devotional: Choose to Encourage Yourself
Despair is no stranger to Christians. We sometimes lack the awareness to see God in the gloom. We may choose to give up, but we can also choose to get up from "under" to "above" the circumstances.
- Sundown Devotional: Going Home Ready and Glad
Do we long for our heavenly home? Why then do we frighten each other with so many WhatsApp texts highlighting distress and disasters? Why not send messages confirming our joy and inviting others to get ready?
© 2016 Dora Weithers