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     But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Sam. 16:7

Dear heavenly Father, I’m thankful we live in an age that affords us all kinds of options for correcting faulty or failing vision. Yet there’s an ophthalmological corrective than can only take place as the gospel does its work on the eyes of our heart.

Even if we could see with 20/15 or 20/10 vision, if we’re only focusing on the “outward appearance” of people and things, we’re still not seeing as you intend. My plea? Open the eyes of my heart, Lord, so that I may see Jesus—and as I see Jesus more clearly, help me see everything else from his perspective. Enable me to see all things and people through the lens of grace.

     Help me to see people with gospel eyes. Father, help me to see people’s dignity, brokenness and your image in them—not just the things that irritate or inconvenience me. When I’m tempted to view people primarily in terms of how they might harm or help me, expand my vision beyond my experience to your larger story of redemption and restoration. Help me to see what you see in my spouse, children, friends, even in total strangers.

Help me to see world events with gospel eyes. Father, may the occupied throne of heaven always be in my vision, every time I hear or read world news. Don’t let me be so myopic as to see international events only in terms of my nation and tribe. You’re always working all things together according to the counsel of your will, period.

     Help me to see creation with gospel eyes. Father, don’t let me look at the ocean, mountains, stars, sunrises and sunsets, flora and fauna, or even weather patterns just in terms of me and my plans. As you heal the eyes of my heart, enable me to see your heart and handiwork everywhere. Free me to live more as a worshipful steward of your creation and less as a selfish consumer of the things you have made.

     Help me to see pain and suffering with gospel eyes. Father, sometimes looking at all the crucibles, crises, and cruel stories of life makes me want to run, hide, fix, or deny. Help me to see with the eyes of Jesus, when overwhelming need and one more heartbreaking story is staring me down. Free me to worship more and whine less—to trust and obey, and not just analyze and pontificate. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ healing and compassionate name.

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Scotty Smith

Scotty Smith is the founding pastor of Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee. You can follow him on Twitter.

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