The Look

            “My, that’s a yellow sweater,” commented my college English teacher in his deadpan manner.  And it was indeed a very bright yellow sweater, worn that day over a dull green shirt paired with brown plaid pants.  Just because I looked like a neon canary, sitting in the front row of the class that morning, why should I feel self conscious?  I was embarrassed all the more when a couple of guys in the dorm said it looked like a girl’s sweater.  They took me under their wing and gave me some coaching.  I got rid of the sweater, along with a bright red shirt, the rest of my plaid pants, and a few loud-colored clip on ties.  I acquired a more conservative wardrobe, more in line with Dress for Success.  Obviously, my upbringing regarding such things had been inadequate. 

            I haven’t always been perceived as the ugly duckling though.  When I was still college age, a married woman several years older than me tried to seduce me.  Later a friend of my wife’s told her I was handsome.  Once at a home school conference a gentleman mistook me for a conference speaker, because he thought I looked like a professor.  Though I’m flattered, I certainly don’t flaunt myself.

            Rightly or wrongly, appearance does matter, and it can matter a great deal in certain circles.  Several years ago I was at a conference on alternative farming, where the speaker was giving public relations tips.  He discouraged farmers from wearing a cap during a TV interview, because he said it gives the audience the idea they’re watching someone with a ten point lower IQ.  Similarly, dress and personal appearance can make or break a person’s chances for landing a job.

            It’s no wonder people rebel and try to make a personal statement with hair style or color, tattoos, or various body piercings and jewelry.  It may seem cool to be a nonconformist, until numerous others look the same.  Then you’re among conformists.

            This morning I heard a piece on the radio about our preoccupation with outward appearance.  A so-called expert says appearance became important as a result of “natural selection.”  What a joke.  I hate to even dignify it by restating it. She no doubt never had a vain thought while preening herself in front of her mirror.  One woman who had had a body makeover was asked if it was worth it.  I expected her to say she had gotten a promotion at work.  Instead, she said it made a big difference in how she was treated by the opposite sex.  Things were better now because she could go to bars with her friends and be picked up before 11:00, rather than 3:00.  My, she has such lofty aspirations!

            Consider God’s view.  The prophet Samuel had been sent to find Israel’s next king. God would direct him to David.  Saul, who was king at that time,  was a tall, handsome man who looked the part; but he had disobeyed God and was out of His favor.  When Samuel had one of Jesse’s sons in mind, God said, “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.”  Concerning women, Solomon says in Prov. 31:30, “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.”  I’ve read that the Apostle Paul may have been short and bald, but who could doubt he was greatly used of God?  What about Jesus?  Isaiah looked ahead to His time on Earth and said, “He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.” (Isa. 53:2).  “But without faith it is impossible to please him…” (Heb. 11:6).

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Explore posts in the same categories: Christian Life, Salvation, Thoughts from John

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