As I have tried to prioritize love this year, I have challenged some of my formulaic faith actions to see if they have affected how I love.
When my kids were involved in youth group in middle school, I spoke to the pastor about some questionable behavior. He said something that stuck – we are more interested in these children's hearts than their behavior because a right heart is what matters most to God.
I can get caught up in the actions of my faith and think that's good enough—going to church, attending Bible study, every day quiet time, and being a good Christian. I absolutely believe in these practices, but it is just as important to take an inventory of our hearts. Do I value people over schedule? Do I look at things from others' perspectives? Do I genuinely care? Am I an easy forgiver, do I see my part, and am I naturally kind? Or am I quick to judge? Do I yearn to hear from God and follow His ways, or do I prefer doing life on my terms?
I've been in the process of change lately, accessing if my faith is growing more in my head or my heart. Although this may seem like an incremental change, I find it monumental, changing how I prioritize my time and the people in my life.
According to 1 Samuel 16:7, "The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."