From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Dear Dr. Graham:

I love God and try to do good things in my life. I stay current with the news and try to respond to people’s needs. My friend told me that God does not look at what we do but who we really are. Is that true?

— H.W.

Dear H.W.: There are many people who spend their lives doing good deeds. This, in fact, was the story of a young man in Scripture often referred to as the Rich Young Ruler. He wanted to have assurance that he would go to Heaven someday and have eternal life, so he worked very hard to meet a spiritual criteria as he believed it. Many people today work hard to satisfy this self-inflicted expectation while forgetting the reason behind “doing good.”

Many believe they serve God but they actually have little time for Him. They spend far more time watching television than reading the Bible. They spend far more time on social media than seeking wisdom from the Lord through prayer. There is no time for God and their hearts are a long way from Him.

The Bible says that the Lord searches the heart. Think of it. The great God of Heaven searches our hearts. “I, the Lord, search the heart” (Jeremiah 17:10). He is in there probing. Scriptures tell us that God ponders the heart of every person. “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the Lord ponders the hearts (Proverbs 21:2).

You can rationalize that the way you’re living and the way you’re doing it is all right. But the Bible says God doesn’t take your evaluation and your judgment. He weighs our spiritual lives. He also does a wonderful thing; He promises to give us a new heart if we will submit to Him and receive His salvation.