Thursday, October 1, 2020

Those Tricky Appearances - Martin Wiles

You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Matthew 7:16 NLT

Appearances aren’t always what they appear.

Our small group began with prayer requests. One gentleman never requests prayer for anything; he simply says he had a good week. But this Sunday when all in the group had finished giving their requests, he piped up—actually laughed up—and gave a request … rather a story.

He lives with his daughter and granddaughter. His granddaughter had a new boyfriend who often comes over for dinner. On the day of the date, the gentlemen’s daughter and granddaughter give him directions that he finds comical.

“Put your teeth in. Don’t burp. Watch what you wear. Pay attention to what you say.”

He laughed and said, “I just go to my bedroom where I don’t have to worry about it.”

Jesus also mentioned the importance of appearances. In speaking of false prophets, He said we could identify them by their fruit. Just as a thornbush will not yield grapes or a thistle bush figs, so false prophets won’t yield anything good either.

Appearances can be a double-edged sword. People may misjudge us based on our appearances. As the Pharisee did the tax collector. Since the tax collector carried out a despised job—and since many stole from people—the Pharisee automatically assumed he was a terrible person. Jesus thought otherwise.

On the other hand, appearances do say a lot about us. Our actions and words show others our character. Grapevines do produce grapes, and fig trees do produce figs.

Our appearance reflects whom we belong to. If I claim to belong to God, my life should bear out obedience to His commands, which involves living a holy lifestyle—holiness which permeates my thoughts, words, and actions.

When our appearances don’t accurately show others our inner character, God expects us to modify them so what others see on the outside mimics our inside. And God gives us the power to do that through His indwelling Spirit. All we have to do is ask.

Don’t let your appearances fool others. Be on the outside who you are on the inside.

Prayer: Father, guide us by Your Spirit so our appearance might accurately reflect Your love to others.

Tweetable: How important are appearances to you?

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