One day I was driving in a large city when a gentleman crossing the street caught my attention. He wasn’t wearing a shirt and it was evident he was someone who lifted weights. What caught my attention more than his build was his demeanor. He might as well have been wearing a sign that said, “Look at me! See my muscles?” To the men, he would have been saying, “Don’t you wish you had a build like mine?” To the ladies he would have been saying, “Feast your eyes on this!”
Most of us are concerned about our appearance to some degree. We may not go to the extreme of the gentleman I saw, but we think about how others will look at us. We want to be the right weight, wear the right clothing, have a nice hair style, and the list goes on. Being conscientious of your appearance is not necessarily wrong. The problem comes when you emphasize it too much, when you assess yourself or others by outward appearance.
The Bible gives God’s perspective on this. In 1 Samuel 16, God called the prophet Samuel to anoint the next king of Israel. He did not tell Samuel who the specific person was, though. He only told him that the next king would be one of the sons of Jesse who lived in Bethlehem. So, off went Samuel to Bethlehem and began to look at Jesse’s sons. When he saw the first son, he said, “Surely this is the one!” But the Lord responded:
Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused
him. For the LORD does not see as a man sees; for man looks at the outward
appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7)
So, Jesse brought his next son, then his next, and continued to do so until he had brought seven of them before Samuel. But for each one, the answer from God was, “No.” Samuel asked Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” Jesse responded, “Well, there is my youngest, but he is out taking care of the sheep.” “Bring him for we won’t sit down until he comes!” Samuel ordered. When the youth arrived, the Lord said, “This is the one; anoint him!” To the human eye, David probably would have been the least likely candidate…but God saw things differently. He looked at the inward qualities.
God is still the same today. What is most important to Him is not size or outward appearance. It is not looking at how “in style” a person’s clothing is, how athletic they are, or how much their stature looks like a fine sculpture. He is looking at how the inner person looks, for qualities such as humility, devotion, and being yielded to His Spirit. He is looking for people whose hearts are filled with love for Him and others. He desires people who will walk down the street carrying a demeanor that says, “Look at Him! Isn’t He amazing?!”
With this in mind, how do you look? You won’t find the answer by going to a mirror; you must go to God’s Word. There you will see how you look from His perspective. If you see something about your inward “appearance” that does not look good, do not become discouraged. Instead, let Him shower you in His grace, cleanse you with the blood of Christ and empower you with His Holy Spirit. Then you will be not only presentable, but you will look great!
Our Father in heaven,
sometimes I am overly concerned with how I look.
Forgive me and help me to see myself through Your eyes.
Help me to spend more time adorning my inward person with
the qualities that please You. Let me be one whose demeanor draws
people’s attention to You and not myself.
In Jesus’ name, amen.