July 14, 2010 by Stacy McDonald
“But it doesn’t matter what I wear!” Sarah scoffed. “God sees my heart!” Sarah finished putting on her lipstick while Hannah tried in vain to reason with her old friend.
“Yes, God sees your heart,” Hannah explained, “but nobody else does—especially boys—they see that.” Hannah swept her hand in front of Sarah’s revealing outfit. “Don’t you see? They’re too distracted by what you’re wearing to notice you.”
“But that’s my point! I don’t care if boys notice me or not.” Hannah smiled coyly. “I just care what God thinks, and He can see my heart.”
We’ve all heard the term “It’s what’s inside that counts.” And there happens to be great truth here; God is most concerned with our hearts. We don’t want to be like the Pharisees and appear outwardly beautiful, holy, or pious, while full of filth on the inside.
Jesus rebuked the hypocrites for this very thing:
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. (Matthew 23:27)
God is able to peer into the depths of our soul and know our thoughts and our motives. In fact, He knows us better than we know ourselves! But, how often do we judge someone by a quick perusal of their appearance? Let’s take a look at what happened in 1 Samuel:
The Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)
The Lord was telling Samuel who He had chosen to anoint as the next King of Israel. Samuel looked at Eliab, Jesse’s oldest son who was full grown and physically impressive, and figured this was who God wanted. But, God had already chosen David, a youth, the youngest of Jesse’s eight sons.
God saw in David a heart of faith. He was teaching Samuel that men do not see things the way God does. God sees the heart, while man tends to only see things on the surface. It’s part of our human frailty.
Even Paul had trouble with people judging him by his physical appearance. His authority was questioned because while his words were powerful and weighty, his physical appearance was “weak” and his speech was said to be “contemptible.” (2 Cor. 10:7-11)
We tend to make quick judgments of people by their outward appearance. We look at their physical beauty, their clothing, the house they live in, the car they drive, what kind of haircut they have. We are easily swayed by smooth speech and charisma. All these things can distract us from seeking to really know someone. But, God sees what’s on the inside—He sees the heart.
So, if “God looks at the heart,” then what does it matter how we present ourselves to others? Right? If our goal is to please God and not man, then what does it matter how I dress, or if I keep myself clean and presentable? So what if I dress a little revealing? God knows my heart. Right?
Remember, God looks at the heart, but all man can see is what we show him. In fact, I believe that God was warning us, as Believers, that our outward appearance does matter! He said that men do look at the outer appearance—right or wrong, they do. It’s a human weakness.
So, although we as Christians shouldn’t judge others based on their appearance, we ourselves have a responsibility to remember that others do have this weakness – and we should desire to communicate good things about Christ by the way we present ourselves.
Besides, despite our best efforts, what is “inside” will eventually show up on the “outside”. (Prov. 4:23; Matt. 12:34; 15:18, 19; Mark 7:21).
“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil…” (Luke 6:45, NKJV)
So, if your demeanor is sloppy, sensual, careless, or unclean, you need to ask God to show you if there is a problem with your heart. Ask yourself the following questions (you may want to ask a trusted friend or family member for their honest opinion):
• Does your appearance communicate the loveliness of Christ, or are you known as that gal who never seems to brush her hair or bathe?
• Do people you meet ever act surprised when they find out you’re a Christian because of your affection for subculture dress, black leather, or body piercings?
• Does the way you dress and behave communicate chastity, or do others assume you’re trying to look “hot?”
• Look in the mirror. Does your demeanor appear dour or severe or do you see joy and loveliness in your reflection?
It all matters. Every bit of it. And the basis for the whole thing is found in the words of our Lord:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”” (Matthew 22:37-40, NKJV)
It’s all about loving God and loving our neighbor. And one way I can express my love for Jesus is by honestly representing Him.
My high school choir teacher had a rule: we were never to wear our school uniforms outside of choir events, unless we were prepared to act like perfect ladies and gentlemen. If we were caught in public behaving in an unbecoming way while wearing our uniform, it exposed our school to ridicule and tainted our “good name.”
It also meant an automatic expulsion from choir. We took this charge seriously because we knew that along with the “honor” of being part of the choir we had a responsibility. And we fiercely guarded the reputation of our school.
In a similar way, I must guard my Lord’s reputation. I speak dishonestly of the purity of Christ if I dress in a way that contradicts my testimony, or puts into question my chastity. I represent Jesus by the way I behave, dress, speak, and love my neighbor. Remember, the way I present myself in public should point others to Christ, not distract people from Him.
Older women are called to admonish younger women to be “chaste” (among other things). And why? Scripture says it is “so that the word of God may not be blasphemed.” (Titus 2:4-5)
We may cause God’s word to be blasphemed among the heathen if we live a life that is counter to what is contained in Titus 2. To blaspheme literally means to slander – to communicate that which is not true. We must live a life that is consistent with the Word, lest, because of our hypocrisy, we give non-Christians the opportunity to slander God.
We can pass out tracts all day long, or build multi-million dollar preaching centers; but when we start living out the purity of the Gospel before the lost, that’s what’s going to get their attention. That’s what’s going to make it all real! Scripture tells us:
The nations shall know that I am the Lord,” says the Lord God, “when I am hallowed in you before their eyes.” (Ezekiel 36:23)
Does your life hallow God? Do those around you see and experience a true and honest picture of His goodness, His power, His beauty in your life? Our primary purpose on earth is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. By God’s grace, our lives are to reflect His holiness, His nature, His mercy, His love, His purity, and His beauty.
“Or do you not know… you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20, NKJV)
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:1-2, NKJV), emphasis mine
Just as a woman may win her disobedient husband to Christ “without a word” by her submissive spirit and chaste conduct (1 Peter 3:1-2), any woman (or man), “without a word,” may win the lost by living a life that reflects the truth and purity of the Gospel.
True beauty is found in “the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit…” (1 Peter 3:3-4)
Now you know the secret to “incorruptible beauty,” the kind that can’t be destroyed by old age, cancer, illness, or injury. This is true, biblical beauty and it is found in a woman who is chaste, modest (1 Tim. 2:9), gentle, meek, and submissive to the authorities in her life—living a life marked by good works (1 Tim.2:10).
You see, Jesus wants you to be beautiful, not to simply look beautiful! May this type of radical beauty define your life and the lives of your daughters—and may it be consistently evident to the lost and dying world around you! Hallowed be His name!
This entire series will be available soon in the form of a down loadable booklet.