Imagine if a film crew followed you for an entire day, filming you from the moment you woke up until the moment you went to sleep. Imagine that they would feature you in their documentary, a documentary that tens millions of people would watch. Their goal is to observe you in a typical day; observing how you eat, how you exercise and take care of your body, how you interact with people, your work ethic, how you treat your spouse and your children. The goal of the documentary is to capture a glimpse of what kind of person you are.
Now, how different would this day look from an ordinary non-documented day? I bet it would look very different. The morning of the filming you would likely rise early and go for a jog, followed by a morning devotion as you sip your coffee. As you drive to work you would be courteous to other drivers and wave at them (with all five fingers this time!). While at work, you would be as diligent and productive as possible. No time wasted on Youtube or Facebook. Or if you are a student, you would present yourself as disciplined, studious, and prepared. If you are a parent, you would give your children your utmost attention instead of zoning out on your phone. You would not be harsh, but gracious and sensitive. You would be proactive in teaching them what is right and true, perhaps leading your family in a devotion after you eat dinner together. Later on in the evening, you may work a little longer or you may read a book, since vegging out on Netflix is just a waste of time. Then you brush (and even floss) your teeth before you lay in bed, where you rest satisfied that it was documented that you put your best foot forward.
If a film crew followed you for a day, you would give them your absolute best. And why is that? It’s very simple; when we know people are watching we will give them our best so that they will approve of us, and in turn, praise us. We want people to think highly of us, our motivations, and our actions. Therefore, when we know they are watching, we give them our very best.
This may be human nature, but it is also fruit of unbelief. By giving our very best only when people are watching, we deny that God is always watching. We deny that he sees (Psalm 94:7) and we deny that his approval is our greatest pursuit (Psalm 63:3). This is like those described in John 9:24 who, “loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.” We must be set free from this unbelieving perspective!
There is a verse that wakes us up from this particular unbelief. In 2 Chronicles 16:9, the prophet Hanani tells Asa king of Judah, “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is completely his.”
I remember the first time I heard this verse. As the preacher read this verse and applied it to our lives I saw God as big, mighty, wise, and gracious. This one little verse establishes at least 3 foundational realities for our lives.
God sees our hearts. God sees all people, at all times, and in all places. “For my eyes are on all their ways. They are not hidden from me, nor is their iniquity concealed from my eyes” (Jeremiah 16:17). We may only give our best when people are watching, but what about God? The Creator of the universe is always watching. How much more should we strive to give him our best?
God judges our hearts. “And no creature is hidden from his sight but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13). God doesn’t just watch us as a passive observer, he watches us as our Judge. His judgments go beyond our outward actions to our very motivations and desires. We can fool a film crew, but we cannot fool the living God.
God strengthens our hearts. Did you see the purpose for why God sees and judges our hearts? The last part of the verse says, “to give strong support to those whose heart is completely his.” God looks for faithfulness that he might grant more faithfulness. God looks for those whose hearts are completely his, that he might empower them to be even more committed to him.
When the Holy Spirit burdens your heart to talk to your friends about Jesus and you obey by faith, God sees it, is pleased by it, and will give you supernatural strength as you talk to them.
When you repent of sin because you want to honor Jesus, God sees it, is pleased by it, and will give you supernatural strength to fight that sin in the future.
When you seek to know the Bible and understand it because you hunger and thirst for God, he sees it, is pleased by it, and will give you supernatural wisdom and understanding.
The principle and reality that undergirds 2 Chronicles 16:9 is this: What God demands, he supplies. Don’t be deceived, friends, God demands our very best. He deserves our very best. He is looking and judging to see if our hearts are fully his. Where he finds such submission and faith, he supplies strong support that enables even greater faithfulness.
Beware of the lie that grace means that God does not want us to actively give him our best. “Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” God will bless such faithfulness with strength to be even more faithful for his glory.
In Luke 8:16-18 Jesus says, “No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed,” This is what it is like when we don’t give God our best as blood-bought believers in Jesus. Instead of shining bright for him to the world, we cover it up with laziness, apathy, and mediocrity. Instead, the born-again believer “puts it on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light. Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away.”
Let us take care how we hear today. Let us live for the glory that comes from God, who sees, judges, and strengthens. Let’s give him and the works he has called us to do our absolute best today. What he demands, he will supply!