Romans 2:29 (KJV) 29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
The heart of the matter is the matter of the heart. That’s a saying we’ve probably heard many times, but its truthfulness can’t be ignored. It’s not that outside appearances aren’t important to God, it’s that He knows that the true nature of a person is found and comes from the heart. The heart is the wellspring of life. Our words and actions, whether they be good or evil, are just natural external expressions of what’s abundantly stored within us.
Obedience is good, good works are that—good, but it’s obviously possible for people to obey and do good things externally—as great pretenders. To do good, even when forced, for the purpose of helping others has some merits, but doing good for the purpose of deceiving others is reprehensible. It’s possible to have a heart that really desires to worship, serve, and obey God—a heart that sincerely desires to do good to others. It’s a heart changed by God’s Spirit.
One of the best evidences of a Spirit-transformed heart is that it’s “praise is not of men, but of God.” For us, living good, upright, and godly lives isn’t to impress people but to bring their attention to the Him Who made us new creations as we shine our lights. He deserves our full surrender and obedience. The truth is: He deserves everything we are and everything we have. More so, He deserves infinitely more than everything we all are and everything we all have. We see perfect sense in giving Him no less than our all and our best.