A recent study of the word “heart” in the Old Testament revealed God’s view of you is more of an interior perspective than an outer one.  When selecting the first king for the twelve tribes of Israel, God tells Samuel, the priest who will discern the right person for the position, how God sees.  The Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.[1]  We do well to also value the hearts of ourselves and others.  Our hearts are revealed, according to Jesus, by our words.[2]  And if our hearts are where the Holy dwells, then the manifestation of our lives flow out of our hearts.  Transformation is a reshaping of our hearts, a moving from a cognitive position (which our Western culture over-values) to a position of resting in one’s heart. 

Jesus tells his Jewish compatriots that producing the appropriate fruit matters way more than declaring Abraham is our father.[3]  Producing the fruit is the call of God, not being a good Christian.  Now the two tend to go together but emphasizing the type of Christian you are – Catholic over Protestant, Evangelical over mainline – rather than the fruit of your walk with God is to miss the call of Jesus.  God cares less about your branch of Christianity than how connected your individual branch is to the vine.[4]  You see, God moves from love, not fear and judgement, and God invites us to do the same.  When we lead with love, we will see correctly.  Our eyes will be open to see hearts, to see beyond the exterior.   

[1] I Samuel 16:7.

[2] Matthew 12:34.

[3] Luke 3:8.

[4] John 15.