What you are is what you are when no one is looking. It is evident by the extra effort you put in when no one will notice. The energy you spend to do it right, when you are the only one involved. The motivation behind your actions, that no one will ever guess. The activities you engage in at night when no one will see. The thoughts you think alone, when no one will hear.
I remember the first time I learned this lesson, though I no longer remember the circumstances surrounding it. My brother and I were having a disagreement over something undoubtedly trivial. I hadn’t said a word; hadn’t opened my mouth. My grandmother commented, “Did you know God knows our thoughts? He knows every single thought we think.” Obviously, whatever I had been thinking, those words that had been swallowed, WERE known to the only One who mattered. And it wasn’t ever going to be “good enough” to keep them from tumbling out of my mouth. No, a complete heart change would be required.
Our children need to understand this fundamental lesson. They may get good grades at college or graduate with honors. They may be lauded for their brightness, or applauded for their talent. They may receive accolades from their bosses; promotions or big raises. They may become powerful by the world’s standards and control their destinies. They may look good on the outside, but God will know what is on the inside.
As in water face reflects face,
So a man’s heart reveals the man.
And they will take their cues from us. What we value, they will value. If we value good grades, they will value good grades. If we value a large income, they will value a large income. Big house? Fancy car? Great job? Rich spouse? Perfect hair, or figure or teeth? And we will have put an enormous stumbling block in front of them as though we ourselves tripped them at the finish line in the final race.
Classical education looks to the Ancient Greeks. Cultural literacy looks to the long gone moral values of America in the past. Government run schools look to “values clarification.” But everyone knows what is missing — the heart. And you won’t find a heart change in Ancient Greece, or any past culture or any moving target of “values.” You will only find a heart change by forsaking self-sufficiency in exchange for Christ’s all sufficiency.
Keep your heart with all diligence,
For out of it spring the issues of life.