Monday, October 3, 2011

The Danger of Focusing on Physical Appearance

If someone were to ask us who the most handsome guy or most beautiful girl in the world is, what would we base our response on? Most likely we would base our response on that guy or girl’s outward appearance. We are often overly focused on outward appearances while ignoring inner qualities that may actually be more important. Many of us, if given the chance, would change something about the way we look in hopes of making our lives more fulfilling. But would that really work?

Proverbs 31:30 - Charm is deceitful, and beauty is fleeting: but a person who fears the LORD will be praised.
          What is “charm?”
          Charm is how we make people feel by what we say to them. Charm can be deceitful if we say things that we do not really mean in an effort to manipulate a person into doing something we want done.
          The verse also says that beauty is fleeting.
          Fleeting means that it can be gone in a moment. Outward beauty can disappear gradually over time as we age or it can be instantly removed through some tragic accident that leaves a person scarred in some way. Building a life on charm or beauty may offer short-term gain but will almost always involved long-term pain.
          Instead of building a life on charm or beauty, we should build our lives on the “fear” of the Lord.
          What does it mean to “fear” the Lord?
          Fearing the Lord includes having a deep respect for the Lord. But it goes deeper than just respect. It is also the realization that the Lord can do whatever He wants in our lives because that is His right. That makes many of us feel uncomfortable. But our lack of comfort in that thought does not change the reality of God’s power.
          What will happen to the person who fears the Lord?
          The person who lives a life of devotion and holiness will be praised. A life lived in that way will produce long-term positive results better than a charming personality or a lovely outward appearance.

1 Samuel 16:7 - Do not look at his appearance or his stature, because I have rejected him. Man does not see what the LORD sees, for man sees what is visible, but the LORD sees the heart.”
          The Lord had sent Samuel to the house of Jesse to pick one of Jesse’s sons to be the next king of Israel. The oldest sons came through first. They were tall and “beefy” looking. But God was not looking for “beefy.”
 •          God was looking for the one that had what it took on the inside to be a great leader. The youngest son David was the one God had chosen.
          David was a runt. David was a ginger. But David had what it took on the inside to be a great leader.
          Samuel anointed David that day, even though it was many years later that David actually became the king.
          Sometimes we spend so much time developing our physical abilities and working on our outward appearance that we fail to work on the more private parts of our lives.
          Our bodies will wear out in time, but those inner qualities will be with us for a lifetime. Therefore, we need to invest time in making sure we are a good person on the inside.
          If we focus on that, then in time, God will use us to do great things, even if that time is some years away like it was for David.

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