“So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful.” -Joel 2:13
At the time this passage was written, there was a tradition where people would surrender their clothes – privately or publicly – as an outward expression of grief. As such, there were people who would do the act of surrendering their clothes to show their sorrow, but their hearts did not mirror their actions.
Don’t we all do the same thing today? We dress modestly but in our minds we hope our feminine attributes still attract male attention. We can go to church and look like good Christian girls, but in our minds reign envy, lust, despair, hatred, or a lack of faith. We may say that we love God, but our mind is filled with the concerns of this world with only fleeting thoughts on Him.
Because we can all be good actors, but God sees our hearts and intentions and He calls us to not only outward repentance, but an inward transformation.
Check yourself today. What are the intentions behind your actions? Are your daily thoughts and actions founded in a deep love for the Lord or are they more focused on appearances and pleasing other people? Are you building up a facade or is your faith deeply rooted in your soul?
If you find yourself disappointed with your answers, take some time today to journal through what may be causing the disconnect between your actions and the state of your heart. A few common reasons include peer pressure, envy, sin, a mistake in your past you can’t forgive yourself for, a lack of faith/knowledge of God, etc…