The LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7 NASB)


One of the young men said, “Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite who is a skillful musician, a mighty man of valor, a warrior, one prudent in speech, and a handsome man; and the LORD is with him.” (1 Samuel 16:18)


Saul was afraid of David, for the LORD was with him but had departed from Saul. (1 Samuel 18:12)


David was prospering in all his ways for the LORD was with him. (1 Samuel 18:14)


When Saul saw and knew that the LORD was with David, and that Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved him, then Saul was even more afraid of David. Thus Saul was David’s enemy continually. (1 Samuel 18:28-29)

The most common evaluation we make of people around us is developed by what we observe with our eyes. We look at their physical appearance, or the way they carry themselves, or their pedigree, background, or training.

But this is not God’s method of evaluation. God sees the heart. He knows the men who are willing to live with a higher motivation. He sees the impurity of men’s hearts and the simple devotion of others.

And to all those who love Him and want nothing more than for God to be magnified, He gives the most profound ingredient to them—the gift of Himself.

The divine presence is the profound difference. It matters not a man’s outward appearance, physical abilities, background, breeding, or style. The one thing that sets a man apart in this world is the unmistakable presence of God about his life.

The Difference That Spans the Ages

Hundreds of years later, Peter and John, two humble fishermen, stood before the most prestigious religious leaders of the day (the very ones who had crucified the Messiah). They marveled at these humble, “uneducated and untrained” men and recognized them “as having been with Jesus.” The fragrance of the presence of Christ was all over them.

Today it is the same. Look around you, but see with the eyes of God. You will quickly notice some men and women who are marked by something unusual. You can try to trace it to human traits, but you will miss the mark in your evaluation. The difference is the presence of Christ.

If you long to live at the highest peak and the greatest effectiveness for God’s glory, seek Him. Lay aside every other goal. All else is insignificant. Do whatever is necessary to have Him in His fullness. Christ and Christ alone is the defining difference.