"But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee." - 1 Samuel 14:14
If summer camp was a tradition as a kid, then you ought to have an arsenal of pranks up your sleeve. One of my personal favorites is disguising toothpaste as the creme between two Oreo cookies. Fooled by the similar appearance, an unsuspecting victim accepts your kind but deceitful offer of free cookies, only to gag with disgust at the taste of toothpaste! It looks good on the outside, but creamy filling is awful.
This accurately describes the reputation of the first King of Israel, Saul. He failed as a leader. Succumbing to doubt, insecurity, and fear, one compulsive decision cost him the privilege of leading the nation of Israel. Like the axe that falls the fruitful tree, so his disobedience toppled his blessed position. God was done with a leader that only looked good on the outside. He wanted a king who passionately pursued his Lord.
God is still looking for people with a heart for Him. He quickly looks over an impressive title, a profound set of abilities, or a charming personality. He desires a man or woman who humbly walks after His commands and passionately pursues godliness. David was that kind of man:
Psalm 119:11 "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee."
Psalm 119:20 "My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments at all times."
Psalm 119:47 "And I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved."
Every person in the body of Christ has the potential to lead others, because God calls us to influence others towards Himself. We have been given a powerful message by a powerful God. If we content ourselves with our usual routines that bears little fruit, we will be sorry when we stand before our Savior.
As the Spirit of God investigates the hearts of men, what does He find when He comes to you? Does He see an impressive shell on the outside like King Saul, or does He find an inward sincerity to pursue God? If unsure, consider taking a spiritual inventory. Examine the following aspects of your Christian faith:
1. Your Bible reading -- Has this become a routine, or are you regularly finding inspiration for your day? Sometimes we just have to paddle through some rough waters, but we should never allow ourselves to go too long without some fresh enlightenment from God's Word. Pray as David did, "Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law."
2. Your prayer life -- Is this the part of the day you look forward to most, or is it just another Christian duty? When was the last time you felt broken before God about a sinful practice you've noticed? If you're like me, there are times you simply need to acknowledge your apathy for prayer and ask God for a fresh fervency.
3. Your perspective -- Do you see God at work while enduring a hard-nosed boss? Are you claiming His promises when bearing the pain of a physical illness? Do people see you as a positive person to be around, or do you drape a wet blanket on the day? A heart for God is inspiring to be around. An empty shell of Christian faith can fake for awhile, but eventually the negativity wins every time!