‘People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at a person’s thoughts and intentions’.
We spend hours each week maintaining our outward appearance – our clothes, our hair, our skin – such things take up a large proportion of our daily thoughts. When we look in the mirror and see something ‘wrong’ with ourselves– blemishes, thinning/grey hair, weight gain– it is our instinct to try and change it. To try new products and diets to make ourselves ‘look better’. There is of course nothing wrong with trying to maintain our outward appearance but I was recently challenged by the above verse in the Bible. ‘People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at a person’s thoughts and intentions’. Yes, we can spend time maintaining our outward appearance but we should actually, according to God’s standards, spend even more time developing our inner character.
We often hear the clichés, ‘beauty comes from within’, or ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’. I think we hear these things so many times that we forget about the value of actually working on inner beauty and making ourselves more inwardly rather than outwardly beautiful.
If you could look into a mirror that reflected your inner character, what would you see? You would of course see all the good aspects of your personality but you would see all of the bad aspects too. Why not try and work on these things in the same way you would if you saw flaws in your outward appearance?
Perhaps you could be more patient and understanding, more loving and appreciative of those around you, more generous with your time? Working on your inner beauty and developing good habits will result in you building up a character that lasts a lifetime. Unlike outward beauty, inner beauty does not have to fade. It does not get old or worn out nor can it be tainted by inevitable processes such as old age. And most importantly, when God looks at us, this is what he sees. He doesn’t judge us by our style or our looks; he looks at our hearts.
‘For if you listen and don’t obey, it is like looking at your face in a mirror but doing nothing to improve your appearance. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like’. (James 1:23-24)