HEART VS APPEARANCE ~ Precious C Philip
1 Samuel 16:7 "But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
I've read this scripture above many times, and like many Bible readers often observe, one truth that seems to stand out in this scripture or the only lesson we believe this scripture seeks to teach is "God looks at the heart". But, there is more to it that we often overlook, neglect or consider trivial; there is another unhidden truth in this scripture, which is "People look at the outward appearance".
We read 1 Samuel 16:7 and the only thing that comes to our mind or the thing that usually catches our attention is only the last statement "but the LORD looks at the heart.” And so, many Christians today say things like, "my outward appearance doesn't matter because God doesn't look at my outward appearance but my heart. I love God in my heart and that is all that matters."
How wrong we are! You can't love God in your heart and it won't be perceived/seen by people in your utterance and outward appearance. 1 Samuel 16:7 is a powerful scripture that reveals two important truths for right living: (1) Man looks at the outward appearance to make their judgments and to decide how to relate with a fellow man. (2) God looks at man's heart to make His own judgment and to decide how to relate with man.
However, many of us choose to ignore the first truth just to continue living selfishly, and use the second truth to try to justify our selfish living. The first truth is as important as the second truth is. Man makes their judgment by outward appearance because man cannot see the heart of another man. God makes judgment by examining the heart of man because God can see the heart of men.
Therefore, this nullifies and cancels out any justification and explanation we give to dress immodestly and indecently - claiming all that matters is the heart. People can't see your heart but your outward appearance. Therefore, God expects you to keep your heart clean and pure because He looks at your heart, and to also keep your outward appearance pure and godly because that is what your fellow man (a natural man) will look at to know if you're a child of God or not, and not your heart.
It is quite funny that a lot of people get offended when people judge them by their outward appearance when they're equally guilty of doing the same thing on a regular basis. You're walking on the road and you see someone wearing a stethoscope around his neck and you assume right away he is a doctor. You're driving at night and you see a young woman dressed half-naked standing by the roadside and you label her a prostitute. You're browsing social media and you see a man wearing gold chains around his neck, with tattoos all over his body, and the first thing that comes to your mind is "he must be a fraudster". We're all guilty of this. You're guilty of such and I have been guilty too.
So, this is how all humans have been wired or programmed to make judgements by outward appearance. It is only those who are filled with the Holy Spirit and are in touch with Him that are privileged to see the content of the heart of some people because the Holy Spirit has revealed it to them. Natural men without the Holy Spirit will always make judgments by outward appearance because they do not have access to your heart.
Though they know that the heart of a man reveals who a man is, but since they cannot access it, they'd try to access its content by observing your outward appearance, because your outward appearance is a reflection of the state of your heart, it is a revelation of the content of your heart. A man who is always seen in female clothing and attire is revealing the content of his heart: he doesn't accept that his Creator is right to have made him male, so he wants to be a female. When you see someone smiling and laughing, it is a reflection of a heart filled with either happiness or joy. So, you need to stop trying to make people judge you by the content of your heart because they cannot see your heart. God has revealed to us what a natural man uses to make judgement: outward appearance. This is a revelation we should wisely employ and utilize to our advantage and benefit.
Finally, 1 Samuel 16:7 wasn't written to tell us that God looks at the heart therefore the outward appearance doesn't matter. But it is written to let us know that God looks at the heart and man looks at the outward appearance, therefore, we must then ensure that we not only keep our heart pure, but we also make sure that our outward appearance is a reflection of the purity of our hearts because that is what an unbeliever (someone without the Holy Spirit) will use to determine if you're a Christian and to guage the content of your heart.
So, the goal is: take responsibility to see that your outward appearance is a true reflection of the content or the state of your heart, that way, you won't be misjudged. You can't dress half-naked or like a gangster and expect people to see you as a child of God. You must be intentional with your outward appearance, making sure it rightly reveals what you believe in your heart and reflects the thoughts of your heart.