I was struck by a portion of the scripture that I read during my Bible reading time today. A section of 2 Chronicles 30:18-19 says "May the good Lord provide atonement for everyone who prepares his heart to seek the Lord God of his father, though he is not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary."
This is a part of Hezekiah's prayer during a passover ceremony he conducted as part of the restoration of temple worship during his reign as king. There had been very strict rules about how people were to prepare themselves to take part in the passover but these rules had been neglected. It may be because they had forgotten the rules or because they just didn't take the time to follow them, the scripture is not clear on that. Whatever it was, King Hezekiah prays that God would look past the outward and look at the hearts of the people.
I believe this is something that God is much more willing to do than we are. I think it is us, not God, that gets hung up on the outward. May we, like Hezekiah, learn to look past the outward, because if the heart is right, the outward will eventually follow, but it doesn't do one bit of good to have everything in place on the outward and not have the heart in it.