Inside Out

Read: Proverbs 31:30-31

Charm is deceptive and beauty disappears, but a woman who honors the Lord should be praised. Give her credit for all she does. She deserves the respect of everyone.

We live in an image-conscious age. You see it everywhere: Politicians hire consultants to polish their image, athletes hire agents to give them their best shot at fame; executives on the hot seat hire PR firms to put them in a better light, parents pay big bucks to get their kids prepped for the SAT’s so they can get into an exclusive college—and hopefully gain their parents some extra admiration in their social circles.

And some of us common, garden-variety folk enlist personal trainers to whip our bodies into shape so we can impress our friends—and wow them that we’re not aging like they are. We buy faster cars, move into bigger homes, take more exotic vacations, spend more money than we should to wear designer clothes, get the latest make-over, hit the tanning booth, brush with teeth-whitening toothpaste and do all kinds of cosmetic, visible, external things just to gain a good reputation and have people think well of us.

I think the writer of Proverbs would lump all our efforts under the category of “deceptive charm”. What a huge mistake to think that reputation—how others perceive us—is a matter of image, or that respect—the admiration of others—comes by what people see on the outside.  The Bible teaches that to build an enduring reputation and earn the respect of those who really matter—and the one who ultimately matters most is God—we need to focus on our character more than our image.

Our proverb for today is focused on the qualities of a godly wife—she should be known for her good character, not her great curves—but its truth applies to us all. It is not what we do to improve the outside, it’s the work that’s done on the internal, unseen parts that really improves our standing. Proverbs 22:1 says, “A sterling reputation is better than striking it rich; a gracious spirit is better than money in the bank.”(The Message)

Reputation is about character. Horace Greeley said it like this: “Fame is a vapor, popularity an accident, riches take wings, those who cheer today may curse tomorrow, only one thing endures—character.” How true.

Here’s the deal: when God assesses the quality of a person, he puts the measuring tape around the heart, not the biceps or the waistline or the bank account or the square footage of the home or the RPM’s of the car.  Developing a heart after God—that’s what we need to be working on!  That is what will gain us the only kind of respect that is worth having on earth; that’s what will bring the admiration of heaven.  As the Psalmist declared, “The righteous will be remembered forever.” (112:6)

“If I take care of my character, my reputation will take care of itself.”
~D. L. Moody

Your Assignment, Should You Choose To Accept It:

Take note of how much time you spend on the externals today…and make a deliberate effort to spend at least that much time working on your heart.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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