Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Who You Are Inside

“The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 
(l Samuel 16:7 NIV)

Does your heart reflect who you are? How does the person you are on the outside express the reality of the person you are on the inside? I ask myself these questions often when I am absorbed in spending hours each week maintaining my outward appearance, or when I am concerned with other people’s perception of my work performance or behavior. And even though I know that grooming and taking care of ourselves, and making a good impression is important, what’s more important is our genuine attitude and inner spirit. Getting older is a challenge! And I certainly don’t like the inevitable signs of aging and the continuous effort at keeping up with the ever changing generation and advanced technology. However, our inner beauty never ages or wrinkles and it never grows old! True beauty doesn’t come from the outside; it comes from deep down inside our hearts. The person we appear to be on the outside is only an image; it’s who we are inside that really matters.

First Samuel 16:17 says that God looks at our hearts; He knows what is really going on inside us! And we are all unique, with our own special beauty and values to give to life; if we don't look in our hearts and understand how we really are, then we can't love ourselves the way God distinctively created us. God made a world full of many different colors so that we don’t only see things in black and white. No one will ever be exactly like you! Men often will judge us by our outward appearances or by their perceptions of our lives. But true beauty is all around us, and we can learn so much from the diversity of the world around us. In our hearts, we must find the beauty and the good in everyone, no matter how different they might at first appear.

"Be beautiful inside, in your hearts, with the lasting charm of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God." (I Peter 3:4 NIV)

When you look at a patch of dandelions, do you see a bunch of weeds? Or when you see a homeless person on the streets who offers you a smile, do you see a dirty person who probably just wants money? I love how children see beauty in such simplistic ways; a patch of dandelions are for blowing the white fluff you can wish on, and they see the homeless person on the streets as someone who is smiling at them and they smile back. There is true beauty in everything, and someone’s appearance doesn’t always reveal what they are really like or what their true value is. Who we are on the inside should reflect love, kindness, being merciful, and being gentle. Because God doesn't look on the outside; He looks at the heart, and He knows when we are being truthful or dishonest. He knows the intents and motivations of our hearts and sees beneath the surface of our outward appearance.

“You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you.” (Song Of Solomon 4:7 ESV)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Good Reputation

“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13:35 MSG) 

The way we present ourselves to the world is important to God because people are watching; and if they know (they should!) that we are a Christian; many of them are observing whether our faith makes us any different from them. We may not personally know them; however they will know us by what they see. They will examine and monitor our reactions to adversity and how we respond to others. They will watch what we proclaim our faith means to us and what our level of integrity is. And whether they know us or not, we need to make a good reputation.

Earn A Reputation For Living Well In God’s Eyes and The Eyes Of The People” (Proverbs 3:4 MSG)

Do people know that you are a Jesus follower by your attitude? What is your general disposition as you live your Christian life? I can recall more times than I care to admit, where my behavior didn’t line up with the characteristics of Jesus’. That’s very sobering to me because I should always represent a virtuous woman with Christian behavior. The way that others will perceive my character will always be determined by the kind of life they see me living!  When others look at my style and disposition, I want to leave an impression of a Godly woman, so that others will be drawn to Him by my behavior. Our reputations are valuable, and we should guard them with our life!

“Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives.” (Galatians 5:25 MSG)

The book of Galatians chapter 5, discusses the manner in which we should demonstrate the consistency in which we live our lives through the fruits of the Spirit:

  •       Love, joy, peace,
  •     Patience, kindness,
  •      Goodness, faithfulness,
  •     Gentleness,
  •     Self control.
How would those closest to you describe you as an individual? Our character is what we are, but our reputation is what others think of us. I think these fruits of the Spirit all go with being a humble person of integrity and good character. If we are to be fruitful Christians as the Lord wants us to be, then our lives will show it by the love, joy, peace etc. that we show to others. Your reputation determines the level of respect and the way people will perceive you. It’s so important for our testimony to nurture others and to be respected and responded to positively. We all need to avoid being hypocritical, live up to our words, and “practice what we preach” so that others will think the way they do about us because of the way they see us act and live before them. And as long as we speak and give authentically from the heart with the best we have, we will fulfill the intended purpose of our authentic Christian reputation!