Today’s Scripture: 1 Samuel 16:7

We live in a culture obsessed with appearances. From a young age, society teaches us that our worth comes from our status, our wealth, our reputation, or how attractive we are. This is the way of the world: to lust after the “right” image so that we can impress others and be “worthy.”

Research shows that the focus on physical attractiveness most profoundly affects women. A whole variety of studies by The Social Research Centre show that women are judged on their attractiveness more than men, and standards of female beauty are considerably higher and more inflexible. This is a growing concern, as it seems this problem is getting worse, not better. It has been estimated that young people now see more images of outstandingly beautiful women in one day than their parents saw throughout their entire adolescence. This in part has led to the increase in the amount of money (and time!) both men and women spend on beauty products and treatments each year.

While it’s easy to fall into the trap of searching for worth in the way the world does, our scriptures teach us a different lesson. They teach us that we are created in the image of God, that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, and that God knows us and calls us “good.” 1 John 3:1 says, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.”

Friends, our faith frees us from searching for worldly worth. It frees us from the burden of needing to look beautiful for others or have the best job or salary or car to impress others. Because our worth is found in being beloved children of God, we are free to simplify and do only those things which are good for us, in body, mind, or soul. We can simplify and do only those things which help us embolden our hearts to live God’s love. That may look different to different people. It may mean wearing makeup or not, driving a nice car or riding a bicycle, working as a CEO or volunteering to help teach a child to read. The point is this: Simplify and do only that which draws you closer to God. Who do you have to impress?

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. – Leonardo da Vinci