Last night as my kids were cleaning up the kitchen after dinner, they were discussing who was going to grow up to be the best looking. They were talking about who was thinner, who had the best looking facial features and what other people liked about their appearance. It was a wonderful opportunity for a quick lesson on what God says about outward appearance. So I decided to join their conversation and remind them what the Bible says.
One thing that I continually try to teach my children is that when you focus solely on the outward appearance and spend no time focusing on your character then you are just a pretty face that is worthless. 1 Samuel 16:7 says "But the Lord said to Samuel. "Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward apperance, but the Lord looks on the heart." Someone's outward appearance cannot predict whether they will be faithful to the Lord. Our willingness to be obedient to God comes from our hearts. The word "heart" in the Bible means our moral and spiritual life. This includes our emotions, will and reasoning.
As a parent, of course I want my kids to take showers and wear clean clothes. I want them to use manners and behave a certain way in public. I want them to excel athletically and academically. But that cannot be my primary focus. That cannot be my ultimate goal......for my kids to make me look good in public! I need to go deeper and work towards a more eternal goal...Godly character. 1 Timothy 4:7-8 says "Have nothing to do with irreverent silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come." If we only care about our physical bodies then we are wasting our time here on earth. If we care more about what we know than who we know then there is a problem.
Spriritual training of ourselves and our children is hard, exhausting, grueling and painful. And many times, we are training right alongside of our children. That training has value now and in eternity.The saying "No pain, No gain" is used often when talking about physical exercise. I think it applies to spiritual training as well. When we say "No" to our will and "Yes" to God's will it can be painful. When we say "No" to our fleshly desires and "Yes" to God's plan it can be painful. When we endure trials, we can become weak and weary. But if we perservere, our endurance will produce a step-by-step transformation of our character that makes us more like Christ. And that's what really matters to God.
It's easy to become preoccupied with labels, styles and trends. But as Christians our focus must be on becoming more like Christ in every area of our lives. Are you setting aside time each day to train spiritually? If not, then your character will be underdeveloped and weak. You will be an easy target for the devil's attacks and ineffective for the kingdom.
I am a Christian, a wife, a mom, a VBS crafter, a coupon clipper, a thrift store shopper, a football fan, a cook, a student of the Bible and an avid reader.