It is easy to look around and see the many things we in common with those around us. We dress alike, think alike and talk alike. On the other hand, it is just as easy to see actions and behaviors around us that leave us shaking our heads. Someone cutting you off in traffic can leave us thinking, “What’s wrong with that guy?” Stunned we believe we have nothing in common.
It is easy to believe that life is governed by outward appearances and behaviors – it is not, according to God. Life comes from within. It is our inward beliefs that manifest in outward behaviors. What does God have to do with our inward being? EVERYTHING!
He is more concerned about our inward being than our outward behaviors. He sees our actions and behaviors just like those around us. But only God sees our heart – our motives, thoughts and emotions. It is the inward condition of man that is the primary focus of God. It is the condition of our hearts that brings us together. We cannot look to fix the outward condition of any nation without asking God to bring attention to what is at the center of our hearts. This is what scripture says about living from a heart that is healed and at peace with God:
“Whoever wants to embrace life and see the day fill up with good, here’s what you do:
- Say nothing evil or hurtful
- Snub evil and cultivate good;
- Run after peace for all you’re worth
God looks on all this with approval, listening and responding well to what he’s asked. But he turns his back on those who do evil things. 1 Peter 3:10, The Message
America has one great need: a heart for God. As a nation, we desire and depend upon God’s protection, provision and peace. As a people, we need a heart like His. Recently, Mike Huckabee made a poignant statement, “America does not have a problem with evil. We have a problem with sin.” Mike got it right! Evil is a system that rejects God. Sin is a problem of the heart.
Through thick and thin, keep your hearts at attention, in adoration before Christ, your Master. Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy. Keep a clear conscience before God so that when people throw mud at you, none of it will stick. They’ll end up realizing that they’re the one who needs a bath. It’s better to suffer for doing good, if that’s what God wants, than to be punished for doing bad. That’s what Christ did definitively; suffered because of others sins, the Righteous One for the unrighteous ones. He went through it all – was put to death and then made alive – to bring us to God.