Am I a Christian?

Do I look like Him? 

What do people see when they look at me?

Yes, He’s promised that His work will be seen. So if His love abides inside, it will be more than obvious. And if it doesn’t show… that means it isn’t there. 

But sometimes, I’m too good at pretending. Better than I would like to be. I can keep the “looks” in pretty top shape. No one would ever know whether I’m really like Him on the inside, through and through. And in the world of confusion we live in today, genuine seekers are often treated like outcasts, while blatant hypocrites are perceived as pious and honorable.

Maybe it’s because we’ve all forgotten what loving Him really looks like. Maybe we’ve just settled on a standard of formalities, and we can’t even visualize the freshness and depth of a real relationship with Him. 

That’s when He pulls me aside, and reminds me what really matters on this journey.

“…Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

So easily, I fall into the habit of focusing on “the looks.” But that’s not what He thinks of. He looks at the heart. To Him, it doesn’t matter what I look like, how many times I’ve fallen, how many sins stain my garments, or how broken I am. In His eyes, I am beautiful, because He sees beyond all that. He sees my heart, and He values it more than anything. He wants to hold it in His hands, and give me His heart in return. But so often, my heart is the very thing I withhold from Him. I willingly give Him my outward looks, my superficial service, and my checklist Christianity. But I hold on tight to my sinful heart, refusing to open my hands and accept the heart He wants to give me.

But what if that changed? What if I let go of everything? What if I gave Him my heart? 

Then, His heart is mine. And nothing is the same. My focus isn’t on “me” and “my heart” and “my looks” anymore. Instead, I can’t take my eyes off Him, and I can’t stop thinking of Him. All I want is to see Him, to know more of Him, to be with Him, and to please Him—to fill His heart with joy.

That’s the miracle of being in Love with Love Himself. A new life is born inside, and this love grows until it overflows. Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance are poured out like a fountain. Following in His steps, reflecting His character, and being pure even as He is pure aren’t items on a checklist anymore. They’re actually a picture of our relationship. It’s what the union of His heart and mine looks like.

And my taste is ruined for fake formalities and pretensive pageant. I don’t want a picture-perfect, on-the-script religion. “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning…but let it be the hidden man of the heart, …even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit.” (1 Peter 3:3-4) I won’t be satisfied with anything less than a real relationship with Him. His heart in mine. Filled with His Spirit, His Love.

And herein is happiness. “Every burden is light, for the yoke that Christ imposes is easy. Duty becomes a delight, and sacrifice a pleasure” (Steps to Christ, p. 39). Burdens don’t go away once you’ve joined hearts with Him. Neither does duty, pain, or sacrifice. One day they will—but right now, we live in a world of sin. And even life together with Him will hurt sometimes. But it’s so much better to hurt together than to hurt alone. The pain will be inescapable, no matter what life you choose to live. But the special thing about life with Him is that pain doesn’t kill joy. Love is worth the pain, and so even when love hurts, we smile through the tears. We press a little closer together, and our hearts are united a little bit more, and in the end, we have a little bit more joy because now it’s a little bit more worth it.

…I stand back for a moment to take it in. I don’t think I’ve ever seen something quite so beautiful. Beautiful? Yes. Because there’s nothing more beautiful than His heart. Love is beautiful. And when His beauty, His Love, dwells in you, and overflows from you, everyone else can see it too. And they’ll get a little glimpse of how beautiful He is. 

No, He doesn’t worry about the outward appearances. But He doesn’t do away with beauty, either. He knows how to make the outside look good. Life with Him is beautiful. There’s no question about that. But if you try to do it on your own, you’ll either lose the beauty, or you’ll lose Him. You can’t create that beautiful life by yourself. Beauty without His life is impossible. And life with Him can only be beautiful. He never disappoints. He never gives anything less.

He’s really the only one worth living for. So long as you have Him, you have everything. The happiness, the beauty—all those things will follow, as we seek Him first. It’s okay if you’re broken. It’s okay if your heart doesn’t look perfect. Let go of your heart, and let Him give you His own. Cling to Him. Delight yourself in His Love. The less beauty you see in yourself, the more you can see His beauty. The less is seen of you, the more His glory is revealed. Let Love consume you, and choose to live the most beautiful life.