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It's the Heart that Matters
By Joel Osteen - Nov 20, 2015

All of us have areas where we struggle. We all make mistakes and do things that we know we shouldn't. We tell ourselves that we aren't going to give in to that temptation anymore, but we do it again. Or, we lose our temper or compromise in some way. It's easy to go around feeling guilty and condemned. Your mind will whisper, "God's never going to bless you. You can't get it right. You don't deserve it. Just sit on the sidelines." We think we have to have a perfect performance in order for God to bless us. We think, "Once I overcome in these areas, then I'll have God's favor. Then I'll feel good about myself." But Scripture says, "God searches the earth to show Himself strong in people whose hearts are turned perfect toward Him."

God is not looking for people who have a perfect performance, people who never make a mistake. He's looking for people who have a perfect heart turned toward Him. That means you may make mistakes, but you have a desire to please Him. Deep down, you want to honor Him with your life. It's your heart that matters. He is more pleased with someone with a right heart that makes mistakes every once in a while than someone with a wrong heart who performs perfectly all the time.

We see this in the Scripture. The Pharisees kept all the religious rules. They prayed at the right time, gave the exact amount required, and went to great lengths to perform the religious ceremonies exactly like they were supposed to. They had the performance part down. The problem was that their hearts weren't right. They were self-righteous, proud and critical. Even though they performed perfectly, Jesus said to them, "You're like a bunch of white-washed tombs. You look good on the outside, but on the inside, there's a major problem."

When Jesus chose His 12 disciples, it was just the opposite. He didn't choose people who had it all together. He chose a tax collector; they were known for being dishonest. He chose fishermen; they used bad language, lived a rough lifestyle. He chose Thomas, a doubter. These weren't the most qualified, disciplined, upstanding people. These were people who had flaws and weaknesses. But God can see what others cannot—the heart, and He knows it's the heart that matters! 

"…The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." (1 Samuel 16:7, NIV)
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