Session 23

It's your heart that matters most

From 2 Chronicles: A 28-Day Devotional

Sometimes in our desperate ache to please God, we are like a young child seeking his teacher’s favor, but breaking the procedures of the classroom. The child, believing he is being helpful, takes it upon himself to throw out papers he thought were trash. He didn’t know those papers were the lesson plans for the day. The motivation of the child's heart was good, but his actions weren’t in line with his teacher’s expectations. The boy’s teacher overlooked his offense, and our God does the same for us by caring about the motivation of our hearts, not just what we do.

In 2 Chronicles 30, we find Israel in a similar situation. Israel dropped the ball in the Passover celebration during a time when the law was to be sacredly upheld. When it was time to celebrate, Hezekiah allowed two deviations from the law so all of Israel could observe Passover together. He delayed it by one month, and some people did not purify themselves.  

“But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, 'May the Lord, who is good, pardon everyone who sets their heart on seeking God'" (2 Chronicles 30:18).

The Lord heard Hezekiah and healed the people. In God’s eyes, faith and obedience always come before ritual. "For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

How’s your heart? Is your motivation to please God, yourself, or someone else? Our hearts are easily led astray (Jeremiah 17:9). But as we read our Bibles, talk with God, and share life with other believers, we protect our hearts and keep our motivations pure. In guarding our hearts, we protect the motivations that drive us to do what we do and honor God with all our heart, soul, and mind.

Reflect:

  • How does it feel to know that God is more interested in the state of our hearts than our outward actions?
  • Does the idea of God seeing your heart bring you comfort or concern? Why?
  • What is one practical step you can take today to guard your heart and keep your motivations pure?

23 of 28

Devotionals From This Study

to Discover More

Session 1

Are you looking for success in all the wrong places?

We all have wants and desires. Maybe you’re searching for more money, more authority at work, less stress, or a better relationship. We p...

Read Devotional

Session 2

Need a little help from your friends?

One of the hardest things to do is ask for help. For some, asking for help is a pride issue. For others, asking for help feels like admit...

Read Devotional

Session 3

You are worshipping when you serve

In 2 Chronicles 3 and 2 Chronicles 4, the construction gets underway on God’s temple. No one could build God a worthy home, but Solomon w...

Read Devotional

Session 4

You always have a reason to sing

Have you ever wondered why church gatherings start with singing to God? It’s not just about the cool music and talented voices. Worship o...

Read Devotional

Session 5

Is this what’s missing from your prayers?

There are universal signs of submission everyone can recognize, such as waving the white flag. When a person or group submits, they are a...

Read Devotional

Session 6

How we change the world

We love America, but if we’re being honest, there are things about our country we wish would change. The news is filled with stories of h...

Read Devotional

Session 7

What if I like my sin?

If you’ve ever built a house, you know nothing in a house is done by accident. Every beam has a purpose, and every finish — from counters...

Read Devotional

Session 8

The decision that makes all the difference

Ever feel like the things you do don’t matter? As Christians, we are called to make a difference and change the world around us. But how?...

Read Devotional

Session 9

Are you making these leadership mistakes?

Imagine sitting in a college classroom on the first day of class. The professor is reviewing the syllabus, explaining what is expected to...

Read Devotional

Session 10

How to stop relying on yourself and let Jesus in

"Yes Jesus, I do love you. But my job? You don’t understand. I’ve got it." "Jesus, I love you. But I really like this girl, too. I can’t...

Read Devotional

Session 11

How to know who to listen to

In the 1970s, the average person was exposed to around 500 ads a day. Today, we’re exposed to more like 5,000 ads a day (via CBS News).  ...

Read Devotional

Session 12

I surrender (almost) all

Actions speak louder than words and Asa, Judah’s king, put action to his faith. 2 Chronicles 14:2-4 says, “Asa did what was good and righ...

Read Devotional

Session 13

What happens when you ignore God’s advice

Did you ever give good advice to people who ignored it and made a disastrous choice? It can leave you wondering why they even bothered to...

Read Devotional

Session 14

Good advice for every leader

In 2 Chronicles 19:5-10, Jehosaphat delegated some of the responsibilities for ruling and judging the people, and he warned his appointee...

Read Devotional

Session 15

Let God fight for you

We all face battles — a rebellious teen, joblessness, sexual sin. Everyone’s battle looks different, but the one thing we share is a God ...

Read Devotional

Session 16

How will you be remembered?

Most of us, unless we’re famous, do not anticipate widespread coverage of our deaths. But, what if unexpectedly, your death drew national...

Read Devotional

Session 17

Will you take a stand?

Have you ever felt you should speak up or take a stand, but lacked the courage to do it? Maybe, your coworker was blaming someone else fo...

Read Devotional

Session 18

What happens when you take the little things for granted

You’re watching your favorite show when everything goes dark. You wonder, How long will the power be out? How will I make dinner? Will I ...

Read Devotional

Session 19

Why your motivation matters

Have you asked yourself, “Why do I go to church?” Maybe all our friends are doing it, or that cute boy or girl is there. Perhaps, there a...

Read Devotional

Session 20

Is humility worth it?

Many of us know the tale of the tortoise and the hare. The hare, sure of his win, takes a break from the race to rest. He wakes up to fin...

Read Devotional

Session 21

You be the judge

Your team is three points behind at the bottom of the fourth quarter against its bitterest rival. It’s fourth and goal, and your quarterb...

Read Devotional

Session 22

How the pressure to fit in affects your connection with God

As soon as Hezekiah became King in Jerusalem, he made sure the doors of God’s house were reopened for worship. 2 Chronicles 29:11 says Go...

Read Devotional

Session 23

It’s your heart that matters most

Sometimes in our desperate ache to please God, we are like a young child seeking his teacher’s favor, but breaking the procedures of the ...

Read Devotional

Session 24

Where does generosity come from?

Imagine how it would feel to experience forgiveness from someone you are certain will never forgive you. The friend you gossiped about. T...

Read Devotional

Session 25

Where to find the strength you need today

Some days feel like an uphill battle. The job is stressful, the bills accumulate, the medical condition worsens, children venture down th...

Read Devotional

Session 26

It’s never too late to make a change

Have you ever made the same mistake over and over again? Maybe it was a relationship you couldn’t seem to let go of. Or one financial dis...

Read Devotional

Session 27

Learning to do what’s right even when it’s not popular

If everyone else jumps off a bridge would you jump, too? All of us have probably asked or been asked that question before. The heart of t...

Read Devotional

Session 28

How will your story end?

How often have you witnessed a toddler being warned not to touch something? He understands his parent’s instructions. But, too curious or...

Read Devotional

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