If the path you’re going down looks wrong to other people, then they’ll probably tell you about it.

A leader at the church my son Max attends questioned the direction he was taking. If Max focused on his studies, and it took him away from coming to church or doing Bible study, was it the right thing to do? He asked.

I wondered what the leader would think about Max’s brother, George, going into a career that requires him to work on Sundays.

Even as a mother who knows her son’s passions and their faith commitment, a little thought nagged me. If work takes them away from meeting regularly with other Christians, then it seems that neglecting their faith will inevitably follow.

I remember my father talking about a friend who often didn’t come to church on Sunday morning because he was working on establishing his business. My Dad was concerned.

It is right to consider our priorities and how we can worship God and spend time with his people. My point here, though, is not to argue whether it is right or wrong to work on a Sunday. Instead, it is to understand that even if it looks like a person is going in the wrong direction, that isn’t always necessarily the case. We really don’t know what’s going on on the inside.

People will question whether you are making the right choice, especially if work can appear to conflict with your Christian activities, but it doesn’t have to mean it is the wrong choice.

You may look different to those you grew up with and went to church with. Do not concentrate on how you appear to other people, but pay attention to how your heart looks to God.

Maybe a family member or people at church frown on the decision you have made to attend a secular college. Maybe the practices of the college you attend are too liberal and lack Christian principles; people think you have adopted them too.

When we look at the story of Daniel, we find Daniel was not only immersed in a pagan environment where he had to learn everything about it, but he looked completely different, too. Daniel had a new identity.

Nebuchadnezzar gave Daniel a different name. To change someone’s name was to exercise authority over them and change their destiny. This was part of the assimilation process foreign rulers used over the people they had taken.

Daniel was given the name Belteshazzar. It was a name associated with a Babylonian god. And God had commanded his people not to have the names of other gods on your lips.  

I’m sure to outsiders and even to his friends and family, Daniel looked, sounded like, behaved, and reacted like a Babylonian. They would not have recognized him.

However, Nebuchadnezzar may have changed what these young men looked like on the outside, but he could not change then on the inside.

Daniel’s heart focused on pleasing God.

And that’s the important point, because God doesn’t look at our outward appearance, he looks at our hearts.

So, however your training and the direction you’re going may look to other people, it is the orientation and condition of your heart that matters.

Your focus should be to please God only.

Whatever job you are in or college you are going into, you need to have a single purpose and plan to honor God.

You may look different to those you grew up with and went to church with. Do not concentrate on how you appear to other people, but pay attention to how your heart looks to God.

It’s not important how you appear on the outside, but what God sees on the inside.

God has selected you for this place and position. God has a purpose and a plan for you. Focus on pleasing him.

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Linking up with Susan B. Mead at #DanceWithJesus, with Arabah Joy at Grace & Truth, with Kelly Balarie at #RaRaLinkup, with Holley Gerth at #CoffeeForYourHeart

  • What a neat way to put it. I don’t think I have ever thought about Daniel that way. You are right, we don’t know people’s hearts!

  • Thanks for this reminder that it’s the attitude of our heart that matters. I think I’ve been judgmental in the past about people not going to church on Sundays, but I’m learning more flexibility. I do think it’s so important, but I don’t see it quite so black and white before. It’s our heart direction and focus that matters.

    • Thanks for being so honest, Betsy. Yes, it’s a difficult subject. And it’s hard not to be judgmental. But, sometimes circumstances and work do keep us from Sunday worship.

  • I remember those conversations about church on Sunday, but I agree He looks at your heart. I knew people who would not go to a restaurant that served beer, I asked them if they went to the grocery store. People are judgmental. Even critical. Today, as long as you have a computer or phone, there’s teaching.

    • We’ve watched services online on a Sunday, especially when we’ve been traveling. You’re right. As long as you have a computer or phone, there’s teaching available. But, sometimes it’s nice to meet with other Christians in person, too.

  • Each of my sons has decided (so far) to attend state universities and colleges, and I can see that it has only helped them to become more committed to Truth. For this I am thankful — so often the expense and limited availability of programs make Christian colleges an impractical option, anyway. We’ve told them all that whatever God puts in their hands, He will use. For two of them, it’s been a welding torch, and for one, it’s been a love for fitness and healthy exercise practices. I’m in the happy position of spectator to the unfolding plan of God for all three, and anticipating the future for number four.

    • Michele, that’s a wonderful position to be in as a mom – watching your children grow in their faith. I admire my children’s faith so much and I learn from them how to be more committed.

  • God looks to the hearts of His people. He doesn’t see us as the world sees us. Lots of truth there. But Paul also cautions us to not let our liberties lead others astray. I’ll be honest, I’m wrestling with this one a little. We ought not attempt to please man or feel the need to justify our actions to others, but we have a responsibility to to set a good example for others. I think it worked for Daniel because his character was above reproach, and even the pagans noticed that. May it be so for me, as well! Thanks for giving me something meaty to chew on today! Blessings, friend!

  • Because ultimately, to fear God and to keep His commands is the whole duty of man. We are answerable only to Him. Thanks for the reminder.

  • Well stated Rachel. May we not get caught up in judging others like the Pharisees in Bible times. We should live our life with a love like Jesus. Let us focus on being the salt and light that He desires. Have a fantastic weekend and God bless you and yours.

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