Bible Reading: 1 Samuel 16:7
People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at a person’s thoughts and intentions. 1 Samuel 16:7
When Sam looked in the mirror, scars stared back at him—the result of a childhood auto accident that disfigured his face forever. He felt worse than ugly. His warped self-image told him he was a freak. In school Sam felt constant rejection from his peers, especially girls. To cope, Sam pulled away from people and spent up to twenty hours a week watching movies, escaping into the dark of a theater-a place no one could see the monster he considered himself to be.
Looking good matters hugely in our culture. Each year we spend billions of dollars on clothes, makeup, jewelry, and fitness-and hundreds of millions more to change our appearance through tattoos, body piercing, liposuction, and cosmetic surgery. It seems like the closer we get to “picture perfect,” the less we like ourselves.
Your true identity isn’t determined by your looks. It’s a lie that your outward appearance tells who you are, because your identity as God’s creation goes far deeper. As the Bible says, “People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at a person’s thoughts and intentions” (1 Samuel 16:7).
Talk about it: Does all this mean that how we look doesn’t matter?
There’s nothing wrong with wearing clothes we like and caring for our body so we look our best. The mistake is when we do those things to be someone. As God’s unique creations—no matter how we look—we already are people with infinite worth.
The Bible verse you just read is part of the story of how God sent the prophet Samuel to choose a king. When David’s good-looking older brother strutted by, Samuel was sure he had the right guy. God said to look deeper. That’s when David walked in. David labored as a shepherd, and he had fought off both a lion and a bear. You can bet he was tanned and muscled from his work. In fact, the Bible says that “he was ruddy and handsome, with pleasant eyes” (1 Samuel 16:12). But outward appearance isn’t what made him fit to be king. It was that he was “a man after [God’s] own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14).
So think about this: How do you feel about how you look? Do you have to look good to feel good? God couldn’t love you any more if you were the most “beautiful” person on earth. He already loves who you are.
TALK: How does your view of yourself change when you think you look less than your best? How does it encourage you that God is looking at something far deeper than your appearance?
PRAY: Father, it matters to us what other people think about how we look. But thank you for making us your unique creations.
ACT: Keep track today: How many times do you judge a person by his or her looks?