When God scans the earth for potential leaders, He is not on a search for angels in the flesh. He is certainly not looking for perfect people, since there are none. He is searching for men and women like you and me, mere people made up of flesh. But He is also looking for people who share the same qualities He found in David. God is looking for men and women “after His own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14).
What does it mean to be a person after God’s own heart? It means your life is in harmony with the Lord. What is important to Him is important to you. What burdens Him burdens you. When He says, “Go to the right,” you go to the right. When He says, “Stop that in your life,” you stop it. When He says, “This is wrong and I want you to change,” you come to terms with it because you have a heart for God. That’s bottom-line, biblical Christianity.
When you are a man or woman after God’s heart, you are deeply sensitive to spiritual things. Second Chronicles 16:9 explains it this way: “For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His” (emphasis added).
What is God looking for? He is looking for men and women whose hearts are His—completely. That means there are no locked closets. Nothing’s been swept under the rugs. That means that when you do wrong, you admit it and come to terms with it. You long to please Him in your actions. You care deeply about the motivations behind your actions. God is not looking for magnificent specimens of humanity. He’s looking for deeply spiritual, genuinely humble, honest-to-the-core servants who have integrity.
Listen to some of the synonyms for this Hebrew word thamam, translated “integrity”: “complete, whole, innocent, having the simplicity of life, wholesome, sound, unimpaired.” It’s what you are when nobody’s looking. We live in a world that says, in many ways, “If you just make a good impression, that’s all that matters.” But you will never be a man or woman of God if that’s your philosophy. Never. You can’t fake it with the Almighty. He is not impressed with externals. He always focuses on the inward qualities, like the character of the heart . . . those things that take time and discipline to cultivate.
Taken from Charles R. Swindoll, “Becoming a Man or a Woman after God’s Own Heart,” Insights (April 1997): 2. Copyright © 1997 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.