Letting Go of Appearances

Author: Savannah Coleman — Host: Dylan KraayenbrinkPosted on: February 16, 2024

Unlocked: Daily Devotions for Teens
Letting Go of Appearances

READ: 1 SAMUEL 16:1-13; MATTHEW 23:23-39; COLOSSIANS 3:1-17

Appearances aren’t everything. We probably know this in our heads, yet how often do we find ourselves getting worried about what others will think of us based on how we look or what we do? Maybe you really care about your clothes, the image you portray to your friends, how you perform in school or sports, or having the latest technology. While caring about these things is not bad, it becomes a problem when we elevate anything to a place in our hearts above God.

There’s a story in 1 Samuel 16 that shows us God’s heart on the matter of appearances. The prophet Samuel went to see Jesse’s family because God told him to anoint one of Jesse’s sons to be the next king and replace Saul. When Samuel saw Jesse’s sons, he thought the oldest must be the chosen one based on what he saw on the surface, but God told him, “Do not consider his appearance or his height… The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (verse 7).

Our culture is, in general, obsessed with appearances. From our bodies to our homes to our reputations, the world system wants us to be concerned with the outer and superficial. And this is nothing new! In Matthew 23, Jesus rebuked the religious leaders for being so concerned about their appearance on the surface. They dressed impressively, they loved being honored and respected by others, and they followed strict, human-made rules, but they neglected the most important things: “justice, mercy and faithfulness” (verse 23). They looked good on the outside, but inside they were “full of greed and self-indulgence…hypocrisy and wickedness” (verses 25-28). Jesus told them what was of first importance was attending to the inside, their hearts.

We live in a broken world where appearances too often take priority. But the good news is, there is freedom in Jesus. God loves us so much that He was willing to die for us, taking the penalty for all our sins so we could be forgiven. We don’t need to try to impress Him or anyone else. Once we put our trust in Jesus, believing He died and rose again, we are children of God, and He empowers us to set our minds and hearts on the things that really matter (Colossians 3:1-2). As God’s chosen and dearly loved people, we are called to clothe ourselves with things like compassion, gentleness, and forgiveness (verses 12-17). We can grow to become less concerned with appearances as we rest in the love of God, the One who transforms our hearts. • Savannah Coleman

• How can resting in God’s love for us free us to care less about appearances?

“People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7b (NIV)