Mandy Saeler WRITES:
The Pharisees in Jesus’ day were obsessed with righteousness. By show of elaborate external rules and cleverly crafted appearance, the Pharisees held their heads high and declared their right standing with God. They carried a pompous air of spirituality, but despite their efforts, Jesus saw through their facade to the devastating state of their hearts. Jesus confronted their self-made righteousness, saying, “…First cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe to 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” (Matt. 23:26-27).
Similarly, in our day, some well-meaning conservative Christian women have become obsessed with appearing “right with God” by means of their appearance: from specific style choices and exclusions, to hem and hair lengths, to make-up and jewelry aversion, etc. However, all efforts to please Him, be a witness, and “look the part” fall void and empty if our hearts have not first been cleansed of all unrighteousness by the blood of Christ. For men look on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart (See 1 Samuel 16:7).
Before we attempt to set our standards regarding external things, we must first devote our lives wholly and unreservedly to God—yielding to Him and allowing His Spirit to cleanse our hearts, purge us of our sin, build us in the truth of His Word, and abide in His life. If the inside (the heart) is first cleansed, then the outside (the appearance) will be cleansed also—and in that order. The reality of our cleansed souls will be seen externally by the way we live our lives, the essence of our character, and the choices we make—by the power of His Spirit alive in us.
When it comes to personal appearance decisions like clothing, make-up, jewelry, etc.—may each “yes” and “no” flow out of a heart covered by the precious blood of Christ that seeks to bear His Name well! Look to Him—who will be faithful to lead you in paths of righteousness—for His glory (Ps. 23:3)!
Jess Schwartz WRITES:
While at the airport to travel home, a middle-aged woman walked up and we began to chat. Later in the conversation, she said one of the reasons she approached me was because of the classic way in which I was dressed and carried myself. I think this highlights a good point: the way we present ourselves has the opportunity to be an outward reflection of the beauty that Christ has cultivated within us. That day at the airport, what I was wearing wasn’t particularly glamorous. It was just something simple, but polished. Yet, through my outward appearance, that woman noticed that there was something different about me.
Choices about make-up, jewelry, and clothing style are personal decisions we must each make individually before God. But regardless of what specific choices you make in these areas, there are two key questions to ask yourself: “Where is my focus?” and “Where will the focus of others be when they interact with me?" If all your attention is on your outward appearance, it is going to be challenging for others to see Christ. However, if your aim is to show Christ honor, then the way you dress will reflect that, whether that means you choose to wear make-up and jewelry, or not.
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