Question: What the Bible Says About... Appearance
Fashion and appearance reign supreme today. Advertising bombards us with ways to improve our appearance on a daily basis. Shows like “What Not to Wear” and “The Biggest Loser” show people changing the way they look for big ratings. People are being told they are not good looking enough, so why not try botox, plastic surgery like their role models?
The Bible tells us that we need to take a different approach to appearance than fitting into society’s idea of beauty.
What God Finds Important
God doesn't focus on our outward appearance. It is what's on the inside that matters most to Him. The Bible tells us that God's focus is on developing our inner beauty so that it can be reflected in everything we do and what we are.
1 Samuel 16:7 - "The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." (NIV)
James 1:23 - "Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror." (NIV)
But, Trustworthy People Look Good
Do they always? Outward appearance is not the best way to judge how "good" a person is. One example is Ted Bundy. He was a very handsome man who, in the 1970s, murdered woman after woman before he was caught. He was an effective serial killer, because he was very charming and good-looking. People like Ted Bundy serve to remind us that what is on the outside does not always match the inside.
More importantly, look at Jesus. Here is God's Son come to Earth in as a man. Do people recognize His outward appearance as anything but a man? No. Instead he was hung on a cross and died. His own people did not look beyond the outer appearance to see His inner beauty and holiness.
Matthew 23:28 - "In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous, but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness." (NIV)
Matthew 7:20 - "Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them." (NIV)
So, Is it Important to Look Good?
Unfortunately we do live in a superficial world where people do judge on appearance. We would all love to say that we are not in the majority, and that we all look beyond what's on the outside, but virtually all of us are influenced by appearances.
Yet, we need to keep appearance in perspective. The Bible tells us that it is important to present ourselves as nicely as possible, but God does not call us to go to extremes. It is important that we remain aware of why we do the things we do to look good. Ask yourself two questions:
Does your focus on your appearance take your eyes off the Lord?
Are you more focused on your weight, clothes, or makeup than you are on God?
If you answered, "Yes," to either of the questions then you may need to take a closer look at your priorities. The Bible tells us to look closer at our hearts and actions rather than our presentation and appearance.
Colossians 3:17 - "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." (NIV)
Proverbs 31:30 - "Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting: but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." (NIV)2