Outward Appearance – Part 1

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Introduction

This booklet deals with the subject of outward appearance… what we look like… our clothing and beyond—the whole package. I promise not to include any fashion tips. I’m the last person on the planet from whom you would want to receive fashion advice. We’re not going to draw up a list of fashions that are acceptable and those that are unacceptable. What could be more useless than that? As soon as you draw up a list, it is outdated and obsolete. Hence, we will skip over opinions and advice, and just look at the Biblical principles that relate to this subject, and there are many… more than you might think.

Christian young people don’t always agree with their parents or teachers on how to assemble an acceptable dress code. From what I’ve seen and heard over the years, sometimes kids have some valid points that are not heard by their parents. And often kids don’t hear what their parents are saying along these lines either. It can become a real bone of contention… but it doesn’t have to. I’m suggesting that we listen to one another—and where there is a valid biblical principle, we ought to EMBRACE it, regardless of where it might lead us… even if it puts our standards and traditions at risk. Truth is more important.

It is TRUTH that we should be seeking… not our own opinion, traditions, or styles. We need to be willing to lay aside EVERYTHING and ANYTHING that stands in the way of truth.

There are generally two distinct outlooks on this subject, and the lines are not always drawn between young and old. There are many older folks on both sides of this divide as well. One group says, “God doesn’t care what we look like,” and that argument is routinely shot down by the other side. Often parents and teachers shoot down this assertion when it comes from the youth… even ridiculing them. The young people are handed a written dress code, which is designed to settle all their questions. It rarely does. That is then followed by either silent, covert, inward rebellion against the “code” or by an overt and heated argument. I’m not convinced that’s the best way to deal with the subject. One side says, “God doesn’t care what we look like, and you shouldn’t judge according to appearance.” The other side says, “God DOES care what we look like. He cares about every detail of our lives.” And thus, the battle rages.

We are going to look at this subject from two different perspectives; two sides of one coin, even though one side of this coin might take us out of our comfort zone for a while.

  • First, we are going to examine the arguments of those who say: “God does not care about our outward appearance.”  (To which folks on one side will be cheering…)
  • Secondly, we are going to examine the arguments of those who say: “God does care what we look like. He cares about every detail of our lives.” (To which folks on the other side will start cheering…)

Both sides have valid arguments with elements of important truth found therein. Those truths are to be embraced by ALL of us, if for no other reason than that they are true. We ought to be lovers of the truth. As is often case in our little controversies, we tend to look at one line of truth exclusively and push it to the extreme, and end up with a distortion of truth. This is not unlike what folks do with the will of man and sovereignty of God. There is the tendency to take one line of truth, and emphasize it to the exclusion of other truths. You end up with an extreme view that is unbalanced and lopsided. When we embrace only one element of a truth, we fail to see the whole picture… like the proverbial blind men trying to describe an elephant by describing what he feels (a trunk; a leg; an ear; etc.). Each man gives an accurate description; accurate, but incomplete. Different perspectives are needed to complete the picture.

Our youth present to us many valid points, and we should not reject them, just because they seem to be contrary to our standards. I’m siding with the youth every time their arguments are in line with principles found in the Bible. And in doing so, I’m not really siding with the youth; I’m siding with the truth.

And as a side note, we want our youth to understand that while some of the Biblical principles they affirm are accurate, they may also be incomplete. We are here to help them see the whole picture more clearly. In order to accomplish that, BOTH sides of this story must be heard.

As a side note to parents: our youth are not always questioning our standards out of rebellion. When the questions are presented in a humble and teachable spirit, they are perfectly honest questions arising from a hungry heart that genuinely wants to know the truth. And when their comments are in harmony with the Bible, we should stand WITH them and not fight against them! They are much more likely to receive with meekness further instruction from the engrafted word when we are standing WITH them on those arguments that are true and valid. Then we can later “fill them in” on other aspects of truth that may never have occurred to them.

One Side of the Coin

“God is not all that concerned about what I look like. God is interested in the heart.”

This point is indeed valid and is found in numerous passages in the Scriptures. It is seen clearly in I Samuel 16:7: “But the LORD said untoSamuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.”

  1. GOD LOOKS AT THE HEART, NOT OUR OUTWARD APPEARANCE. I Sam.16:7 certainly supports this important truth. The context of this passage is God’s choice of David. Samuel was to anoint one of the sons of Jesse. All the sons were gathered together and passed before Samuel. In verse 6, Samuel lookedupon Jesse’s son Eliab and said, “surely the Lord’s anointed is before him.” But, he was wrong, and the Lord rebuked him for his superficial thinking. Samuel was looking at how tall, dark, and handsome he was and ASSUMED that because his outward appearance, he must be the Lord’s anointed. Men look at the outward appearance.

Then the Lord stated that HE does not look upon human beings as we mortals do. Men look at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart. God is not so interested in how tall, handsome, or how well-dressed a person is. God is interested in his heart first and foremost. This is by far the MOST important principle of all when it comes to the subject of outward appearance. The outward appearance is superficial and external. And we are not wise to dote over external things.

It is the inside that counts. The internal always outranks the external. The inner man (soul & spirit; mind & heart) are much more important than out outer man (body), and thus certainly more important than the clothing put on our outer man. Clothing and outward appearance are not nearly as important to God as the inner man, the heart. External things fade away into virtual insignificance when compared to the heart. And to the degree that we put more importance on clothing and outward appearance than the heart—we are violating this principle. So when folks from this side of the issue report that God isn’t so concerned about our clothing, that it’s our heart He’s interested in—there is an important element of truth in that. The heart is FAR more important. They are absolutely correct… the Bible tells us so.

But let’s not forget that this verse also provides us with some important information concerning outward appearance that puts it all in perspective. The same verse that tells us that God looks at the heart ALSO tells us that men DO LOOK at our outward appearance. In fact, that’s all they can see. Hence, this verse becomes important in demonstrating another truth: Men DO look at our outward appearance, therefore, outward appearance plays an important role in our TESTIMONY before the world. Don’t just read part of the verse and ignore the other part. Remember, we are to embrace the truth—ALL of it. The fact that the heart is MORE important to God, and the fact that God looks at the heart does NOT mean that our outward appearance has no significance at all. Rightly or wrongly, men DO look at us as believers. They observe what we wear, how we carry ourselves, how we take care of ourselves, or IF we take care of ourselves. And men judge us on that basis, because that’s all they can see. That makes outward appearance important too, IF we are concerned about out testimony before the world.

Which ever side you see yourself on right now, this is THE central truth that pertains to the subject at hand: the inner man is far more important than the outer man. Because of persecution and tribulation, our outer man may face famine, nakedness, peril, or the sword (Rom. 8:35). Our enemies could starve our bodies and cause them to become emaciated; they could make us live in dirty old clothes for months; they can even take away our clothes. But none of that can separate our inner man from the love Christ. Our outer man is perishing (it will deteriorate and look worse and worse), but our inner man should be in the process of transformation into greater levels of Christlikeness, looking more and more like Christ (II Cor. 4:16-18).

Our outward appearance could change through disease, age, or persecution. We could end up looking quite awful, but God is infinitely more concerned about our inner man. That should be our main concern too. Keep your HEART with all diligence. (Prov.4:23). It’s the heart that really matters before the Lord.

  1. WEARING THE “RIGHT” CLOTHING DOES NOT MEAN A PERSON IS SPIRITUAL. This is another argument made by folks on the first side of the coin. This point, like the last one, is powerful, valid, and one that is upheld by Scripture.

Sometimes folks “use” this argument as a cloak of maliciousness to cover up the true intent of their heart: a lawless, unrestrained, self-willed spirit that is bent on doing and wearing whatever it wants! The issue of motives and intent of the heart is a subject for another day. And even if their motives are impure, the point they make is a valid one that we should all embrace… for it comes right out God’s Word.

Consider Prov. 11:22: “As a jewel of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion.” A woman who has a beautiful outward appearance but an ugly heart is like a pig with a gold nose-ring.  In this proverb, this woman’s beauty is likened unto a beautiful gold nose ring but her PERSON is likened to a pig. The visual picture is designed to be humorous. The picture is that of a dirty old pig wearing beautiful gold jewelry. The point made is that even with a piece of beautiful gold jewelry, a pig is still a pig. Pigs were considered exceptionally unclean to the Jews.

Trying to dress up the outside will never change the nature of the beast. If a woman is ugly on the inside (ugly as a pig), then good looks (gold jewelry) will never make up for it! It will never overshadow her true nature. In other words, what’s on the inside is FAR more important than outward appearance. A beautiful face or body, decked out in fancy, stylish clothes will never change what the person IS. A pig is still a pig. An ugly heart is still an ugly heart. Putting gold jewelry on a pig doesn’t really make it any more attractive… they still roll in the mud! Putting modest, well groomed, tasteful “church clothes” on a woman whose heart is ugly, doesn’t make her any more attractive to God.  Wearing the “right” clothing does NOT make a person holy or spiritual.

God is never fooled by a well dressed, well groomed pig. And if we give our young people the impression that if they wear the “right clothes” then they are spiritual, they will see right through that as a sham, and rightly so. It IS a sham. They will be forced to conclude that Christianity is mere outward show and superficiality… a form of godliness and a legalistic standard that never affects the heart.  That’s the last thing we want our young people to think!

  1. IT’S WHAT’S INSIDE THE CUP THAT COUNTS.

Once again the Scriptures uphold this important principle.

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. 26 Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. 27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. 28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.”   (Matthew 23:25-28)

In Matthew 23:25-28, the Lord Jesus rebukes the Scribes and Pharisees for their duplicity. These hypocrites “appeared righteous unto men.” They were experts at putting up a good front. They went out of their way to “look good” on the outside through their prayers, fasting, good deeds, and even their clothing (Matt. 6:1-18). Yet they ignored the inside—the heart.

They did everything “to be seen of men.” Therefore, Jesus said, they have their reward already, namely, the applause of men. They will NOT receive praise from God for that kind of behavior because is it self centered and designed to glorify self rather than the Lord. It is pure flesh and God hates the flesh. Jesus harshly rebuked the Pharisees for paying such close attention to cleaning the outside of the cup while ignoring the inside. He called this hypocrisy and said those who do so are spiritually blind (Matt.23:25-26).

But notice also that Jesus does NOT condemn them for cleaning the outside of the cup. That too is important. The hypocrisy lay not in cleaning the outside, but in IGNORING the inside! Jesus warned them to take care of the inside FIRST (vs.26) and then they could continue to clean the outside. Jesus continues His rebuke of the Pharisees by likening them to whited sepulchers which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are dead man’s bones, a corrupt corpse, and the stench of rotting flesh (vs.27-28).

They majored on the exterior and ignored the interior. They were overly concerned about what MEN thought of them, and paid no attention to what GOD thought of them. This is pure hypocrisy.

When we maximize the importance of outward appearance, and minimize the importance of the inner man, we are behaving just like the Scribes and Pharisees Jesus rebuked. We too can be OVERLY concerned about what men think of us, and not so concerned about our inner life—the heart—where God’s eyes are constantly peering.  We can be guilty of this same kind of hypocrisy by doting over outward appearance and demanding our own way—regardless of which side we take.

As parents and as leaders in the local church, we may (with the best of intentions) seek to uphold high standards for our homes and for the local church. However, it is possible to give MORE attention to less important outward appearance and LESS attention to the MUCH more important heart issue, and come across to our hearers like the Scribes and Pharisees without realizing it. Even with the best of intentions, it’s possible to strain at a gnat and swallow a camel. Parents or church leaders who do so are like blind guides, who do not see the whole picture clearly (Matt.23:24).

Jesus rebukes that kind of blind hypocrisy and we would do well (as parents and leaders) take heed to what He said. So when folks on one side of the argument say, “Wearing the “right” clothing does not mean a person is spiritual”, they are absolutely correct. We ALL ought to embrace that truth.

And in embracing that truth, perhaps we could fill in some other details that they may have overlooked: Jesus was NOT opposed to having the outside of the cup clean! His concern was for PRIORITIES. Clean the inside first. THEN the outside will take care of itself! Putting “modest” clothing on a woman doesn’t make HER modest. Cleaning the outside of the cup doesn’t affect the inside. But if the woman searches her heart and examines Scriptures, and allows the Holy Spirit to transform her from the inside out (the proper order), then SHE will become modest, and the outside of the cup will take care of itself.

A modest WOMAN will dress modestly because of her NEW NATURE. She doesn’t have to be forced or scolded or shamed into it. It the natural desire of a regenerated, Spirit filled heart. Putting modest clothing on a pig will never change her inner nature. A pig is still a pig no matter how well dressed! 

Dealing with the heart first is much slower way of getting the outside of the cup clean, but it’s the RIGHT way… and the only LASTING way. Legalism is quick and easy, but is also superficial and phony. The reason we seem to like it so much is because it is quick and easy. It seems to produce instant results. But in our haste to SEE change, we bypass the real issue: dealing with the heart first. Legalism is fast; but true spiritual growth and maturity take time. It takes time to grow.

When a believer is first saved, often he has so many inner issues to deal with, he just doesn’t have time to deal with the externals. As God gets a hold of his inner heart, outward changes WILL slowly and gradually occur… as God shines a light on this thing or that that needs to change. That kind of change is the work of the Holy Spirit. The changes produces by legalism is the work of the flesh. Those convictions become personal, genuine, and lasting.  Forcing a pig to wear gold jewelry, or putting modest clothing on an immodest woman is a FAST way to clean up their act… but it will never last because it is mere superficiality. The pig will soon return to rolling in the mud. And even if an immodest woman is forced to wear modest clothing, her impure heart will devise another way to be seductive.

Those whose hearts are genuinely cleansed on the inside will naturally be concerned for a cleansing and purity on the outside as well. The new creature in Christ will naturally want to “put off” the filthy garments of the old man and will want to “put on” the clean garments fitting for a new man in Christ. It is one’s inward position and nature that has a genuine and lasting effect on one’s outward condition and appearance (Eph. 4:21-24).

Consider “the adorning of a woman” in I Peter 3:3-4. In verse 3, Peter is speaking about “adorning.” The term “adorning” (Greek: kosmos) means an orderly arrangement. We get our English word cosmetics from this term. Peter mentions a woman’s natural desire to dress up and look good. That is a normal womanly thing to do. Peter’s point here is that it is not the outward adorning that really makes a godly woman attractive. It is the inward beauty that counts.

When he writes, “Let it not be the outward adorning,” he does NOT forbid a woman from fixing herself up. [If it forbids the wearing of gold or braiding the hair, then it also forbids women from “putting on of apparel” – and nobody would interpret the verse that way!] The Bible does not forbid women from “adorning themselves.” In fact, in I Timothy 2:9, Paul COMMANDS women to adorn themselves! Paul uses the expression, “modest apparel.” As an interesting side note, this is the ONLY time the English word modest appears in the [KJV] Bible. But it doesn’t have the same meaning as the word modest has today. It is the word kosmios, which means well arranged; neat; orderly; fixed up! Women are here COMMANDED to fix themselves up. It is expected that godly women take care of their outward appearance. It is pleasing to their husbands.

I have seen examples of women who have MIS read this passage and have wrongly assumed that they were NOT to adorn themselves. They have been taught that to be godly they are to ignore the outward appearance and be concerned exclusively with their inner beauty. They pride themselves in being godly and modest by wearing long but dirty, wrinkled dresses. And to show how godly they are, they allow their hair to look like a bird’s nest, scented with pure and natural body odor! That is clearly CONTRARY to the command of the apostle Paul who commands women to “adorn (kosmeo) themselves in modest (kosmios) apparel.” We might paraphrase that as, “women are to fix themselves up, wearing clothing that is well arranged, neat, and orderly.”

Back in I Peter3:3-4, Peter ADDS to the comments made by his brother Paul. Peter is telling godly women that what makes them truly attractive is not primarily their outward beauty, but their inward beauty. It is the “hidden man of the heart”, the “meek and quiet spirit” that makes them beautiful in God’s sight, and in the sight of a godly man. This passage does not forbid women from taking care of themselves or from paying attention to their outward appearance.  Ladies, you are COMMANDED to take care of your outward appearance. Just don’t MAJOR on the minor point (outward beauty) and MINOR on the major point (inward beauty). Both are important, but be sure to have your priorities right. The inner man is FAR more important. You should put more time, energy, and concern into making your inner life beautiful than you do for your outward appearance. This goes for men too. God deserves better than equal time devoted to the gym or to the mirror.

The argument is often put forth: wearing the right clothes doesn’t make you spiritual! And that is correct. But looking like a slob doesn’t make you spiritual either! When the heart is right with God, the believer will be more concerned about the inside of the cup, but he won’t ignore the outside. We will be more concerned with inner adorning, but will not ignore outward adorning. When our heart is right with God, our priorities will be right. Internal things always trump the external things. But external things are NOT to be ignored. It is an important part of our testimony to the world.

  1. JUDGE NOT ACCORDING TO APPEARANCE! (John 7:24).

Folks whose view is, “God doesn’t care what we look like” often quote this passage to support their view, and rightly so. This statement is 100% correct. God does NOT judge according to appearance… and neither should we. Judging according to appearance often gives us a WRONG reading. For example, the Lord spoke of beautifully garnished tombs, but inside were dead men’s bones. Beauty on the outside does not guarantee the same on the inside. A pig can be dressed in beautiful gold jewelry, but is still a pig. Judging a book by its cover is never a good idea.

In fact, the Lord severely REBUKES those who do (James 2:1-4). God does not judge according to appearance and neither should we. James presents a situation wherein two people enter into “your assembly,” a church worship service. One is well dressed and the other is dressed in “vile” (filthy, dirty, foul, shameful) clothing. To judge the PERSON on the basis of his clothing is to show respect of persons. James states that when we do that, we ourselves are partial and are judges of EVIL thoughts (vs.4). In other words, it is sinful to judge people on the basis of their clothing. Whether they are well dressed or dressed in vile clothing should have no affect on our treatment of them.

At Salem Bible Church, we have established standards (a dress code) for our teachers, workers, and leaders. We feel that a dress code is important. That’s an issue to be discussed later. So, as a church with a dress code, if a young person shows up here on Sunday morning with purple hair, arms covered in tattoos, and shrapnel protruding out of various parts of his body, my message to him is going to be, “Welcome! We’re so glad you came here today. Do we have some good news for you!”

Jesus DID say, “Judge not according to appearance.” It is SIN for us to do so. James commanded us NOT to be respecters of persons or to judge a man by whether he is well dressed or has vile clothing. To do so is SIN and to be judges of EVIL thoughts. We are committed to OBEYING what our Lord and His Word command. So when folks whose view is, “God doesn’t care what we look like” quote John 7:24 (judge not according to appearance), we should EMBRACE the truth they are presenting. God’s Word is God’s Word and is our final authority. It is to be honored and obeyed.

There are good reasons WHY we should not judge according to appearance. First of all, we are unable to see the heart. We are completely unequipped to make such judgments. Things are not always as they appear. For example in Matt. 23:27-28, the Pharisees “appeared” to be clean and pure, but they were not. They were not what they appeared to be. In James 2:1-4, the man in “vile clothing” was assumed to be less honorable because his clothes were old and dirty. James called their assumptions “evil thoughts” (vs.4). Joshua was fooled by men who “dressed up” as if they were from a far away land. They were not what they appeared to be. Even the false teachers use this technique. They too were not what they appeared to be. They are like wolves that appear in sheep’s clothing and clouds without water. They appear as angels of light, when in fact they are the powers of darkness. The warning given to us by Jesus, Paul, Jude and others is this: beware – men are not always what they appear to be. Folks recently returned from the missions trip to Salt Lake Citysaw this in ministering to the Mormons. Those who attempted to indoctrinate them into Mormonism at the Temple were outwardly as sweet, polite, and polished as can be… but they were false teachers.  Judging by outward appearance is folly because the outside can easily be altered… and manipulated to give an appearance that belies reality. That’s the danger. James says that judging by outward appearance is a “respecter of persons” and that is sin. Judging by outward appearance is the foundation of racism. Judging by outward appearance would easily lead us into following the wolves. It is dangerous and foolish, and we are warned repeatedly NOT to judge according to appearance. So, when we approach our young people on the subject of clothing and they say, “Judge not according to appearance”, our response should be to thank them for that reminder of truth and embrace it because it IS true. God said so!

Our young people bring up some valid points that we should embrace when they are based on Scripture. Let’s review their arguments.

  • Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart. (I Sam.16:7)
  • Jesus rebuked the S & P for making the outside of the cup clean and ignoring the inside. (Matt. 23:25)  That too is a valid point… taken right from God’s Word – and thus to be embraced.
  • Judge not according to appearance (John 7:24). That too is an important Biblical principle we want to embrace – because it is found in God’s Word… our standard for truth.

Let’s also be honest with our usage of Scripture: We are not to judge according to appearance, BUT we are to judge! After embracing the truth of John 7:24a, we would do well to continue quoting the rest of the verse: “but judge righteous judgment.” It is not a fair use of Scripture to quote one part of the verse and ignore the other! The Bible does NOT forbid us from making any judgments at all. The same verse that tells us NOT to judge according to appearance also COMMANDS us to judge… only according to righteousness. “Judge not” is an imperative. But so is “judge”! The command here is to judge, but to do so properly, not according to appearance, but to a higher standard. Judgment is to be made not on the basis of outward appearance, but on the basis of God’s Word, the standard of righteousness.

We should not assume that the man who comes to church well dressed (the outside of his cup is clean) is clean on the inside. We cannot know the inside by viewing the outside. We are therefore not to judge according to appearance. Likewise, we should not assume that the man who comes to church in vile raiment (outside of his cup is dirty) is dirty on the inside either. He may well be in the early stages of inward transformation. We are not equipped to judge the heart. We are therefore NOT to judge on the basis of outward appearance alone. It very often gives us a faulty reading.

BUT the Bible does NOT forbid us from making any judgments at all.

It is not fair or honest to quote John 7:24a (Judge not according to appearance) and to ignore John 24b: “but judge righteous judgment.” This passage does not forbid us from making judgments. In fact it COMMANDS us to judge. It is not wrong to make judgments. There are many times when we HAVE to make judgments. Life is FULL of making judgment calls. We need wisdom, discernment, and guidance from the Lord in doing so.  The spiritual man judges ALL THINGS! The man filled with the Holy Spirit will be equipped to make wise judgments. We are called upon to make judgments on every area of life, including what we wear. Making those judgments require wisdom and discernment.

The Bible COMMANDS us to judge, but to judge righteously.

Consider Matthew 23:25: Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.” Here we are often told that Jesus rebuked the Scribes and Pharisees for paying so much attention to the outside of the cup and ignoring the inside. They were certainly worthy of rebuke for that kind of behavior.

But read on! “Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.” In the very next verse (26) Jesus said to clean the inside FIRST… and THEN you will be able to cleanse the outside! He never implied that they should ignore the outside of the cup. An honest reading of the passage reveals that Jesus was concerned about the WHOLE cup – inside and out.

Consider also Matthew 7:1 – “Judge not that ye be not judged.” Again, Jesus was not forbidding us to judge at all. Rather, He continues in the context to explain when we should NOT judge: when we are guilty of the same sin! (The moat and the beam – Matt. 7:2-5) Note in 5 that Jesus instructs us to FIRST clean out our own eyes, and THEN we will be able to point out and help out a brother with a similar problem! And note also the purpose of judging one’s brother concerning the beam in his eye: to help him out! It is not fair to quote Matthew 7:1 without including the context. Jesus does NOT forbid us from judging. He does forbid us from making hypocritical judgments.

Consider also I Samuel 16:7 – “For man looketh on the outward appearance but God looketh on the heart.” One portion of this passage is often quoted (God looketh on the heart), ignoring the other portion (man looketh on the outward appearance.) Because men look at our outward appearance, it is incumbent upon us to be careful about our appearance… our words, our works, and our physical appearance. That is all men can see and it is the basis upon which they judge us and our testimony for Christ. Let your light so shine before men! Remember, we want to embrace ALL of the truth. If we expect others to embrace that line of truth that is important to us, we should also be willing to embrace the line of truth that is important to them. It’s not fair to quote one part of a verse and omit the other!

Let’s face it. We all have to make judgments in life. But first and foremost we are to judge ourselves. We need to deal with the beam in our own eye; only than can we see clearly to help a brother with the similar problem. Dealing with the issues of our own heart ought to be paramount. First clean the inside of the cup, but don’t stop there; continue on to clean the outside too. We all have to make judgments in our appearance. We do that every time we go shopping. At the mall a lady might see 1000 dresses, and has to make a judgment as to which one to buy. We all make judgments in selecting what we are going to wear.

The next section includes other issues to consider that (hopefully) will help us all in making God-honoring decisions.

NEXT: Outward Appearance – Part 2: God Is Concerned with What I Look Like

Back to Outward Appearance Index