Don’t judge a book by its cover. But, how many of us actually do this?

Sure, we all agree that what’s inside counts but does the outside appearance say something about the inside?

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance,
but the Lord looks at the heart.”
~ 1 Samuel 16:7 (NLT)

The Lord told Samuel, I’m not looking at their clothes (the latest fashion or name brands) or their looks (tall/short or whether they work out or not). I’m looking at their heart, motives, intent and character.

God acknowledges the fact that man looks at the outward appearance, which in turn would mean we must be sure that our outside appearance reflects who we are on the inside.

The problem is that the culture in our society has put so much emphasis on our image (looks and all), that we become obsessed with looking good for others. When our focus should be on: does my look and appearance reflect the God in me?

Our appearance and behavior set the tone of what others think about us. We live in a world where perception is everything. Personally, as we began to internalize God’s Word during our times of challenge, what we were feeding our spirit (the Word) was coming out in our speech, our appearance, and our behavior. To the point that what people saw in us was a reflection of God and not our present circumstance.

“Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit,
who lives in you and was given to you by God?
You do not belong to yourself;for God bought you with a high price.
So you must honor God with your body.”
~ 1 Corinthians 6: 19-20 (NLT)

Many people perceive Christians as hypocrites. Why? Because, they don’t see us reflecting Christ in our behavior or in our outward appearance. We destroy our bodies by what we eat, we wear clothes that are offensive or revealing, we tear down one another with our words and the list goes on….

So how can we honor God with our bodies?

#1 Maintain a healthy body.(Romans 12:1-2, 1 Timothy 4: 8)

Taking care of our temple that God has entrusted us with begins with renewing our minds, and then taking care of our physical body.

#2 Maintain our hygiene.(Matthew 6:16-17; Romans 14:21)

We are called to take care of our body; therefore, hygiene is important to God. Even Jesus encouraged us that when we are fasting not to neglect the washing of our face or the perfuming our head. Fasting, or being tired is not an excuse for not taking a shower. If we are walking around with bad hygiene, how are we able to get close to someone witnessing them to Christ?

#3 Be mindful of the way we dress.(Duet. 22:5, Matt 5:14-16, Romans 14:21, 1 Peter 3)

Children of God walk with integrity, respect, love, honor, regard, for God and for people. And their outward appearance reflects what’s on the inside.

The Bible gives us clear instructions about our apparel. Men and women should not dress with clothing of the opposite sex. Our clothing should be modest, not causing any of our brothers or sister to stumble.

It’s not a sin to like nice clothes or dress well, but it is a sin when your desire for fashion is more important to you than your desire to be like Christ.

You know the saying, you can tell a book by its cover? Wrong or right, people judge others by what they see. Although we know that God looks at our heart, at some point we must choose not to become a stumbling block with our appearance. Just think, by doing so, we can reduce the perception of hypocritical Christians.

Photo Credit: Uqbar Is Back

~ André Gray

December 22

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