The outward appearance of man is often criticized, judged, and overly emphasized. Ever since people have been able to make themselves “look” better according to society, they have done it. The outward appearances of ourselves can become an addiction. We can become so obsessed with our clothing styles, jewelry, or other accessories that make us more “beautiful”. So today, we are going to discuss how it is not our outward appearance that matters, but what’s on the inside.
Physical appearances should mean nothing to us, but they do. Why is that? Why is there such an emphasis on appearances? Today the reason is our society. Society and our culture today have the biggest influence on how we think we should look. But what we should realize is that society does not judge us at the end of our life, God does. Not only does God judge us, he judges us on what we believe, think, and the actions we have done. Just as Jeremiah 17:10 says, “I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.” If we understand the fact that our deeds and our faith is judged and not our outward appearance, our appearances start to become less important to us.
Samuel learns a valuable lesson on this subject in 1 Samuel 16. Samuel was to anoint the one God choose. When Samuel saw Eliab he thought he was the one to be anointed. But God told him, “ 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 Samuel 16:7. Samuel thought that because of his looks and stature, he would be the anointed. Yet God told him that it is not man’s appearances that matter to God, it is the heart.
When Christ came to the earth, his physical appearance did not stand out as elegant or majestic. Isaiah 53:2 says that, “He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.” So why did so many people follow him? It was because of his inner qualities that attracted people to him. His compassion, his teaching, and his mannerism attracted those who saw him.
So why are so many people attracted by physical appearances? The answer lies in 1 John 2:15-16. It reads, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world-the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life-comes not from the Father but from the world.” John says that we are attracted by physical appearances because of the world. The desire of the flesh does not come from God, but from the world. If we let the world influence what we love, then we will certainly not love God.
There is also another kind of appearance. Those who appear to be righteous on the outside but wicked on the inside. Jesus speaks of this type of deceitful appearance in Matthew 23:27-28 when he speaks to the Pharisees and teachers of the law. He tells them, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” On the outside, these people appear to be righteous, which is expected of the teachers and Pharisees. Jesus teaches us that not everything is always as it seems. They appear righteous, but are wicked on the inside. We must also examine ourselves. We must be aware that we do not act righteous just for the sake of acting righteous. God knows who truthfully follows him, and he will judge us according to our hearts.
In conclusion, appearances don’t matter. We are not judged by God on our physical appearance, but on our deeds, and what we believe in our hearts. We must always remember that God made us in His image (Genesis 1:27). We were made according to the way God wanted us to be made.
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Good thoughts for self examination