I had an apple, a pretty apple, and no not an electronic device, though I do have those, too. But really, this apple was a shiny, gorgeous (if an apple can be gorgeous) red apple and I was excited to eat it. I packed it with the rest of my snacks for work because, well, I like food and I despise being hungry.
As I sat at my desk and worked, all I could think about was this beautiful apple I had in my purse (yes, my purse). So, I went for it, and as I completed bank deposits and sent emails, I took a bite and I was instantly disappointed and disgusted.
My apple had a brown spot on the inside. And although I’d done the bruise check… you know, when you squeeze the apple and check for soft spots and bruises… I hadn’t found anything wrong with it. I thought that maybe, just maybe, there was only that one spot, so I took another bite and found another brown spot. I tried one last time because I really wanted to eat this apple, and yeah, no good.
So, at this point, I decided to give up.
Beyond the Outer Appearance
“But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7.
I was so busy looking at the outside of that apple that I was sure it had to be perfect. Because I didn’t cut it open beforehand, I was stuck with a bad apple and I had no idea until I bit into it.
So often, we walk around, made up on the outside; face beat, hair did, line crispy, and we don’t really realize how many “brown spots” we are dealing with on the inside. Many times, others don’t realize our flaws until they get close enough to be affected by what we are dealing with.
Bitterness, guilt, pride, anger – all “spots” negatively affect the function and quality of our heart. Those things even choose the words that come out of our mouths.
In our Playbook, Jesus says in Matthew 15:18, “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart, and they defile the man.” To defile means to make unclean or impure. We even have the nerve to command people to take us as we are because “that’s just me!”
Not so! It’s actually those pesky “brown spots” trying to take over our hearts.
SO, WHAT’S THE PLAY CALL?
Be sure you do a heart check. It is up to you to be sure that your “brown spots” are not causing you to become a “bad apple.” In Psalms 51:10, David says, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” This is an important prayer because, just like I didn’t realize that apple was no good for me, we often may not realize how rotten we’ve become. Here are a few thoughts to help clear those “brown spots” right up:
- Let go of the pride. Sometimes, we are wrong. Own it. Let others help you. “Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18
- Forgive them! Yes, they hurt you, but you gotta let go. So often, we do not understand the weight that we carry because we refuse to forgive those who have wronged us. Then what happens? That residue of bitterness begins to build up in our hearts. “And when ye stand praying, forgive if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” Mark 11:25
- Look to God. There have been times when I became angry at the lack of “help” that I received from others. This caused me to take on an “I did it all by myself” mentality, which is dangerous. Had I not received help from Christ, anger could have set up shop in my heart and led the way to destruction. Leaning on Him and not myself was the only remedy. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5
- Watch what you eat. No, not physically, although that is important as well. But, be sure you eat the Word of God daily. God’s Word is what sustains us and helps us to keep our hearts pure before Him. “But he answered and said, it is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”
Remember, no matter how much you glow on the outside, God sees what’s in your heart.