“Gross!” I said to my two-year-old, when I saw she had smeared yogurt on the shower door.
She frowned at me, looked at the mess, and said, “No, Daddy. It not gross. It’s good!”
The things we think are good
Like a toddler, we all have a distorted perspective of “good.” We think we know what is right, but our warped perspective from in a sinful planet leaves us way off target. For example, some people think the lottery is a good thing to help support education. Some think they are helping by talking about their pastor’s faults with other church members. Some feel they are doing the work of God by telling someone they are going to hell for wearing short sleeves. Others think they need to tell legalists they are going to hell because they try too hard to please God. At our best, we are very conflicting. We lick our fingers while we admire yet another fine mess we have made.
God alone knows our hearts
For all of us perfected people who have no flaws, God gives a nose-smashing message through Jeremiah: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (17:9-10, KJV). We do not even know our own hearts. We cannot trust our own feelings. We cannot depend on our “inner goodness.”
Our finger-paintings look good to us, but like graffiti to God. At its best, my heart will try to deceive me. It will tell me I am doing good works for God when really I am just trying to be seen by others. It will justify my self-interest but point out another’s selfishness. It will tell me I am ready for heaven when I have ignored the Lord all day.
Trust His Word, not your heart
Later, the day of the yogurt-smearing incident, my daughter was heard mumbling, “in thy name done wond-ful works.” She was trying to quote a verse she had heard the rest of the family memorizing. It goes like this:
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?” (Matthew 7:21-22)
Just because God uses me does not mean my heart is right with Him. Gifts of the Spirit are not proofs of my perfection. Check the mirror of your heart today with me. Do you have any yogurt smudges? Are you letting “good” things blur your priorities in life? Humble yourself as a child, ask the Lord to wipe you clean again, and determine to not trust your wicked heart again.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.