1 Samuel 7:3
“And Samuel spake unto all the house of Israel, saying, If ye do return unto the LORD with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the LORD, and serve him only: and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.”
Several years ago, I had the privilege of helping someone who wanted to come back to the LORD. This individual made some unwise choices which led their life to a point where they thought they would never end up. It was the LORD’s providential hand that allowed me to reach out to this person at the right time to see if I could help them.
Several weeks after this person and myself had worked together, I wanted to see if they were just going through the motions, or if they had made a heart change in their relationship with the LORD. I talked to this person about something that I felt they needed to change. I told them what I was asking them to change was not a right or wrong issue from the Scriptures, but it was an identity of what they felt the LORD wanted them to do in their life. I knew if they were willing to change the area that we talked about that their heart had returned to the LORD. The next time I saw this person they changed what we talked about, and to this day they are still serving the LORD.
God is more interested in heart revival than He is with an appearance revival. Samuel told Israel to return with their hearts. He said that if they returned to God with their heart, the outside perversions would naturally be cleaned up. My friend, you can have a change of appearance, but if your heart isn’t revived, the appearance will go back to being what it was before. There are a couple of thoughts that we need to consider about a heart revival.
First, God is more interested in your heart responding than He is with actions of appearance. In other words, you can appear to get right during an invitation, but walking the aisle and making a confession that you are getting right is only an appearance. Don’t get me wrong; I have nothing against walking an aisle to get right with the LORD. I believe that walking an aisle is often the result of what is happening in the heart; however, going through the motions of getting right has never changed the heart. God is more interested in your heart getting right.
Second, when your heart has revival, your appearance will change. You will notice that Samuel told Israel, “…If ye do return unto the LORD with all your hearts, then…” There will always be a “then” when your heart is revived. Everyone who has ever had a heart revival has never balked at changing the outside. Yes, God is interested in what the outside looks like, but He also knows that the way to keep the outside right is to have a heart revival. One reason many people keep going back to the same sinful lifestyle is because their heart has never had revival. When you have a heart revival, you will gladly change those things that identify with the world.
Let me ask you; have you had a heart revival? Is your outside a mere performance that you are putting on for others to think you are not a bad person? If your heart is right, it will not bother you to put away anything that would identify you with the wrong crowd. As Samuel said, “If ye do return unto the LORD with all your hearts, then…” The “then” will happen in your life when your heart returns to the LORD.