<<look, outward show>>

Outward appearance and actions can be misleading giving false impressions of the inner character, nevertheless, what is in the heart will ultimately manifest itself (Prov 4:23; Mt 12:34). Continual bitterness, resentment and other negative emotions eventually reveal themselves through words, actions and countenance, just as surely as love and happiness will. The face of Moses was radiant after being in God’s presence as was Stephen’s when he was on trial for his faith (Ex 34:29-35; Act 6:15). A happy heart makes the face cheerful, while the opposite is also true (Gen 4:6; Prov 15:13; Neh 2:2,3).

God judges by considering the internal thoughts and actions originating in the heart, not by the outward display as men do (1 Sam 16:7).

We should not draw attention to ourselves to impress others but instead act naturally, consistently, sincerely and with integrity. Jesus taught that our good works should be done secretly – “not letting our left hand know what the right hand is doing”, meaning
the motive is not to receive the praise or recognition of man. He condemned the self-

Is my outward image a true indicator of my inner life?

righteous religious leaders, for seeking the admiration of people when praying or fasting by making it obvious they were abstaining from food (Mt 6:1-18). 

We are to abstain from all appearance of evil yet also mix with and help those who need salvation (Mt 9:9-12; 1 Thes 5:22).

False prophets are smooth talking, persuasive leaders who deceive by giving a false appearance. Jesus called them, “wolves in sheep's clothing” (Mt 7:15). Satan too, can appear as “an angel of light” – which is the total opposite of his character. He “comes to steal, kill and destroy” (Jn 10:10; 2 Cor 11:14,15). A hypocrite is one who puts on a good appearance to mask their wrong, self-centered motive (Mt 23:23-28).

As Christians, we should dress and groom ourselves appropriately, as we are ambassadors of the King of kings. However, Peter's instruction to the women was, "Your beauty should not come from outward adornment...Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight" (1 Pet 3:3,4). In fact, for both men and women our whole lifestyle should bring glory and honour to Him.

See also: characterclothing, deception, hypocritevanity.