Desiring To Be Seen Of Men
by Lois E. Gibson
In a discussion on the subject of make-up on our Facebook page, one man wrote this: "I submit to you, how can we "come out from among them", or be a "holy, peculiar" people if we blend with the world?" Please keep in mind that the comment was in regard to keeping outward standards as taught by some churches. It was not about ones manner of life- and as such, I will focus on the standards aspect he brought up.
When the Bible addresses things like works, works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit, what type of things are mentioned? Do we find make-up, jewelry, pants, hair, etc. mentioned or rather do we find actions that have to do with our character? Let's see what the Bible in the book of Galatians mentions when it speaks of works (or deeds) of our flesh.
Works of the flesh: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and similar acts
Fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control
Nothing is said about outward standard rules. In fact, in none of the New Testament will we find any of the writers going on in detail about things such as make-up, jewelry, hair and the like. An interesting point, however, is when Jesus describes the outward appearance of the Pharisees in Matthew 23 (NASB quoted).1Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to His disciples, 2saying: "The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; 3therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them. 4"They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men's shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger. 5"But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments. 6"They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, 7and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men."
..... 25"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. 26"You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also. 27"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. 28"So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness." (NASB)
The Pharisees wanted to be noticed by the people around them. They wanted to stand out in the crowd. They made their garments different from everyone else so that this would be accomplished. What they did, they did in order to be noticed by people. They craved the attention and public greetings.
They were so overly focused on the outward appearance, that the inner man was seriously neglected. While they could be picked out of the crowd due to their outward appearance, and while they were reverenced by many as being seemingly holy, inside these people were a mess. What was inside wasn't reflected by the outward appearance. Instead they were found to be hypocrites.
There's a song we used to sing at my former church that said in part, "Jesus on the inside, working on the outside, oh what a change in my life." That is a wrong focus. Jesus is concerned with what is on the inside and that is where the Holy Spirit works on us. God's laws are written on our hearts and not in a rule book. Jesus said, in the quote mentioned above, to first clean the inside. So, contrary to the song, God's Spirit is on the inside, working on the inside, and as a result of this, the outside will be a natural result of the work on the inside.
Being holy or peculiar is not about make-up. It is not about jewelry. It is not about hair or pants on women. So many people in certain churches have been taught that peculiar means odd or different or somehow standing out in appearance. It means nothing of the sort. Study it out for yourself. Read 1 Peter 2:9 in the NASB:9But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God's OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY.
If we read on, let's see what is said about how this is done....you will see it has nothing to do with make-up and outward attire. Pull out your own Bible and continue reading after the quoted section.11Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. 12Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.
13Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, 14or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. 15For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. 16Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God. 17Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.
I well know the passages that have been used to support these outward standards. Learn to read them in context. Learn to read past and before what is quoted. Learn to look into what ALL of the Bible says about a subject. If an issue is important, it will be plainly found in the Bible. There won't be a need to read things into the text.
We can never make ourselves holy by following outward standards. Jesus will never return and not know who were are because we have make-up on or wear pants or are dressed like the fellow next to us. God's people are not set apart by our manner of dress or what we do or don't put on our faces. We are set apart by God's Holy Spirit living inside us. That shows we are His purchased people, redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. Indeed it is God on the inside, writing upon our hearts.
Take care to not be as the Pharisees were. It's not about looking good on the outside. It's not about being noticed by others. It's not about getting greeted when out in public. It's not about altering our dress so we will be noticeably different from everyone else. If you do things to be noticed and seen by people, then that will be your reward. It won't change anyone's heart.
"Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE ®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission."
You may write Lois at the email address displayed in the image. No correspondence that seeks to debate will be answered as I have no desire to debate. Understand that due to the volume of mail, not every email may be acknowledged.
Posted July 29, 2012
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