Status Vs. Substance
Written by Rebekah Hargraves | April 5, 2019
Do you feel as if you truly know the people you follow on social media? I know I oftentimes do. I am coming to the point, however, of realizing what a big mistake that is. Even in a culture that claims to prioritize authenticity, vulnerability, and transparency, the most “open” and “real” social media feeds are still curated to some extent. You don’t see what is going on just beyond the frame of the photo, know the ins and outs of every interaction that girl has had with her coworkers or loved ones, or made aware of all the sin struggles she is currently battling. You only know the bullet point characteristics of her status and what she chooses to share with you – her achievements, hobbies, job, or interests. You hear about her talents, her trophies, and the titles she wears, but even those things don’t truly make up her identity as defined by God. In this social media age, here is what we need to remember:
- What Man Sees Vs. What God Sees
The reality is that only a fraction of who we are as individuals is known by those who follow us on social media, and even those with whom we do life on a regular basis only see what we allow them to see. Status and appearance seem to be the focus of the day. And yet God sees things very differently. He is not interested in our status and what others think of us. He is interested in our substance and in what is happening on the inside of us.
- What God is Concerned With
God admonishes us in 1 Sameul 16:7, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” The Lord isn’t so concerned with your outward accomplishments or status as He is with your inner heart and soul health.
Isaiah 66:2 says, “‘For all those things My hand has made, and all those things exist,’ says the Lord. ‘But on this one will I look: on him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word.’”
This is what the Lord is after. He is concerned with the condition of our hearts. He is seeking to make us into people who are humble and repentant, who are convicted by His Spirit and Word, who seek to honor Him with all their hearts and lives.
The reason for this is found in the words of Christ as recorded in Matthew 15:11, “Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.” He elaborates on this truth in verses 16-20a, “So Jesus said, ‘Are you also still without understanding? Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man.’”
What Jesus was getting at was the important lesson Proverbs 4:23 points to -“Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” The reason the Lord is concerned with the inner substance of who we are rather than the outer status of who we appear to be is because if our heart is in the right place, if we are following after Christ, walking by the Spirit, and seeking to live lives governed and directed by His wisdom, then everything else will follow. We will be good employees, we will parent well, we will be godly spouses, we will accomplish the good works God prepared beforehand for us to accomplish (Ephesians 2:10).
But if we put the cart before the horse? If we think our status is what is important, all the while ignoring our inner heart and soul health? Then our lives will eventually lead to ruin, for we will not be living life God’s way.
If you want to grow as a believer, be successful at the work you have been tasked with accomplishing, and make a difference in this world, then focus on cultivating inner heart and soul health – seek to be a woman of substance, a woman following after the Lord. That will make all the difference!