When I was young, my mother told me, “Looks don’t count.” She was right, and she was wrong.
She was right, because “the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (I Samuel 16:7).
It is our character that matters to God. Those things that He tells us to put on, that I have been writing about – compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, bearing with one another, forgiveness, love – these things should be a priority to us, and we should spend more time focusing on this than on our actual external appearance.
But my mother was wrong, because “man looks on the outward appearance“. The first thing that people see is our external appearance. It certainly does count for something.
Our outward appearance expresses something about us. It gives a message. It can be a false message – I knew a young woman who was extremely pure and sweet and of a very godly character. She wore extremely heavy make-up because she thought it looked nice. It actually gave a wrong impression of the type of young lady she was. Someone who was interested in becoming friends with the type of person that this young lady really was, might not pursue a friendship with her based on the fact that her appearance gave a completely false impression of her character.
What we wear says something, whether we dress in business attire, or designer clothes, Goth, punk rock, long sleeves and skirts, or tight miniskirts and low necklines, we are giving a certain first impression to people. It could, as I said, be a false impression or an accurate one of who we really are.
I believe we should dress intentionally: what are we trying to express? And better yet for those of us who love God and belong to Him, are we accurately representing Him? The Bible says that we are His ambassadors; do we dress as such?
Or do we simply, as sheep, unthinkingly follow the latest fashion trend (which changes constantly, so that we will continually spend money).
Believers are called to use our minds in all areas of life, and this includes giving thought to what we wear so that we are accurately portraying who we are.
It’s actually pretty exciting, not to mention challenging, to take a step back, not follow the crowd, seek God and use our mind concerning what clothes to wear (not to mention using our minds for every other area of life).
A really good blog post on this topic was written by my daughter Naomi. She thinks and writes so well! You will find it here.