Seeing What We Want

Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. Psalm 51:6
The Lord says: "These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught. Isaiah 29:13


We see what we want to see. We are masters at looking for what fits our agenda and disregarding everything else. We use our mind to either find truth or hide truth. If one believes the glass is half empty, then everywhere they turn they will see a world that always hands them lemons. When one tunes into a political debate, everything they encounter will be viewed through the lens of their party affiliation meaning they can dismiss everything the other political pundit is saying. If you watch a movie knowing the surprise twist at end, you begin to notice clues that went unseen during your first viewing.

The lens we use to view the world shapes our response to it. This principle holds true when it comes to our understanding of God and our view of His authority. If we reason God can’t be trusted, we will more than likely pinpoint the places where, from our perception, He let us down. If we feel there isn’t enough evidence to believe in God, our eyes will search for everything to confirm this point. If we can convince ourselves God is not real, we will always have a reason why we can disobey Him.

We pretend that we are unsure and claim there isn’t enough evidence to submit. But, the truth is, we don’t want to submit in the first place. We want God’s ways, but on our terms. We desire God’s vision just as long as it lines up with our perspective. We all establish a standard by which we measure truth. More often than not, the standard we use is ourselves. What implications does this truth have on me? What is God asking me to do and am I willing to do it? Rather than pursuing God’s truth, our tendency is to spend our energy protecting our own truth so we can be the one calling the shots. When we find the truth but don’t like its implications, we disregard and dismiss it.

On the flip side, we can obey out of obligation. “Grin and bear it” defines this type of obedience. There is no joy to be found, only duty. Obedience doesn’t automatically equal a heart that is in step with God. When we go through the motions, we remain in neutral and there is no pursuit of God’s heart. Instead, just like the religious leaders in Jesus’ day, our hearts can be far from God and we can be more concerned with how others perceive us than with how God sees us.

All of this speaks to the importance of testing our motives. The one thing God wants from us is the very thing we can hide from everybody else- our motives. These drivers influence everything about us, including our perspective and response to authority. It could be very easy to say that we are the only ones who know what drives our behavior but that is giving us too much credit. We don’t tend to look beneath and explore our hearts. We fail to ask important questions like: What drives our behavior? What do we really want? What is it that we truly desire?

God desires truth in our innermost being. This entails testing our motives and coming face to face with what drives our behavior. In order for our hearts to be captured, they must be available. When God captures our heart, His commands become irrelevant. Obedience becomes an expression of the work taking place inside our hearts. It’s through the renewal of our mind that our heart gets transformed.


  • We want God, but on our terms. In what places are you ignoring the implications of God’s Truth in order to protect your own? How are your motives influencing your response to what you see in this situation?


God, I often stay at the surface and fail to explore the depths of my heart. Expose where my motives are off base and not honoring You. As difficult as it might be, may I encounter Your Truth and let it transform my heart. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.

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