Disclosure: This blog actually has nothing to do with sex, heaven, or the end times. I think there’s a truth-in-advertising law that requires me to tell you what’s actually going on here. (If there’s not a law like that, there should be.)
You might be thinking, “So this is a deceitful switch and bait thing?!” No, not really. I’m simply trying to make a point. Titles matter. You probably opened this post primarily because of the title, and now you’re thinking about deleting it.
Give me a second and I’ll explain . . .
At a writer’s conference I attended, an old and experienced publisher was asked, “How do you write a best seller?” He didn’t blink as he immediately responded, “Put heaven in the title!” The room laughed, but he wasn’t completely kidding. Heaven is hot right now. What's more, sex always sells, and there is a resurgence of interest in the end times. Next time you’re in a bookstore, look for yourself and you’ll see.
Titles matter, but most would agree that content matters more. What you see or read on a cover may intrigue you, but the book had better be as good as it looks.
This got me thinking . . .
Image matters too. What we look like, dress like, and the first impression we make with someone is important. Long ago, when I was in the business world, a headhunter told me before going to an interview, “Dress for success!” She was right; you only have one chance to make a first impression.
But is it possible in our culture we’ve focused a bit too much on appearance and image and not enough on character and heart?
Is what you see what you’ll get from me?
Does my appearance truly reflect my character?
Have I “dressed for success” while leaving more weighty matters of the heart unaddressed?
Years ago, I hired a young man fresh from the preacher factory (seminary). He looked good. He dressed sharply. He had confidence written all over his face. The only problem was he lacked spiritual maturity. He knew a lot, but very little had been weaved into his character yet.
Image matters, but character matters more.
I remember putting together a ministry resume about twenty years ago. I was struggling in my current ministry position and thought about looking for much greener pastures. When I finished listing all of my experience and talents I thought, “Wow. I’m awesome! I look pretty good.” In that very moment, the Holy Spirit nailed me, “A good resume doesn’t matter nearly as much as a good heart.”
Busted again. Obviously, my heart was wrestling with pride.
David wrote in the Psalms, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts” Psalm 139:23 (NIV).
His son, Solomon, wrote about the heart over sixty times in the book of Proverbs. He warned us to “guard our hearts” (Proverbs 4:23), and reminded us that the “Lord weighs the heart” (Proverbs 21:2).
Image matters, but our hearts matter more.
Honestly, sometimes I’m a poser. Sometimes I act like I’ve got it all together when, in fact, I don’t. Sometimes I pretend to know more than I do (I really don’t have the entire Bible memorized, sorry). Sometimes I worry too much about my thinning hair and my growing potbelly more than I do my fractured mind and broken soul.
But I’m learning. I’m growing. The older I get the more I tend to focus on what truly matters—my heart. It never ceases to amaze me how patient God is with this recovering idiot.
So, this isn’t about sex, heaven, or the last days, but maybe this matters more. Maybe it’s time to focus more on faith and less on our face. Maybe it’s better to work on our hearts more than our figure. Maybe character matters more than charm and integrity more than image (Click here to Tweet).
Here’s my prayer of late; perhaps you can make it yours . . .
“Search me, oh God. Reveal what drives me. Expose the unholy motivations lurking in the shadows of my soul. Test me. Purify me. Help me to guard my heart in a world that seeks to destroy it. Mold me, despite me, into the image of your Son. Amen—make it happen, Father.”