What should we look like?

“He [Jesus] had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.” ~ Isaiah 53:2 NIV

After a year living in South Korea, I had become overly concerned about my appearance. Not that I didn’t care much about it before, but after living in a different culture for so long—a culture of fashion, money, and materialistic wealth—my mentality about what I looked like began to change. I was battling with how I wanted to look versus how I wanted people to treat me. Being casual or being respected. And at the time, I thought the appearance was the only way. Being so concerned about what I looked like didn’t leave room for me to wonder what God was thinking, what He thought about the thoughts of myself.

When I think of what Jesus looked like…I don’t think He cared about His appearance the way many of us do. I think His appearance was one of the last things on His mind. He had plenty of other things to worry about: His disciples, His ministry, the world! The Bible never mentions if He ever cared about His appearance. And yet, I’m sure the way He wanted people to treat Him would never be consistent. Imagine if He was a king. Would He get the respect He deserved? Well, the verse that comes after the verse mentioned above sadly portrays the truth: “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering” (NIV).

For many of us, the concentration on our appearance might be because of our desire to please people. Others like to look good in the eyes of people. For others, we are influenced by society and what magazines, commercials, and even movies tell us of our image. Regardless of all that, we focus so much on the outside, on what we see. It’s not bad to look good. It’s not a sin to wear makeup. But there comes a point where we need to ask ourselves why are we trying so hard on our appearance. Ultimately, to God, He doesn’t care what we look like.

When Samuel was in search for a king of Israel, he passed all of David’s older brothers until Samuel laid eyes on the young David. Imagine a line of us, all polished and well-put together. Imagine Samuel going down the line basically rejecting every single one of us until he come to someone least unexpected: one who is more concerned about what the Lord thinks rather than man. Imagine the words that Samuel would say. They would be the same words he uttered in 1 Samuel 16:7, “’The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart’” (NIV). We can put so much time on the outside appearance, but for what? To please people’s eyes?

Korea has taught me to look professional and being professional is not wrong. But I have made it an effort to remind myself why I want to look professional. In the beginning, I was very concerned about my appearance especially because I don’t look Korean at all. But there is no need to fear about what people think of our appearance. God’s opinion is more important. His own Son knew what it was like, and He suffered greatly.

Why put so much effort on the outer image when all of that will eventually go to waste. Eventually we will wrinkle, gain or loss weight, end up with a bad memory. The outer image won’t last. Although we should take care of ourselves for the body we were given we must take care of. But while taking care of our body, we must remember that eventually it will come to an end.

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