Several months back I got in trouble with someone for what I posted on Twitter/Facebook on a Sunday morning, something like:

No bling today, I forgot my watch and my Silly Bandz. Guess it’ll have to be all substance today.

Someone at my church who doesn’t share my sense of humor—not many do—thought I was serious. He had this impression that I’m sort of rock-starish and am only concerned with how I appear. Now, I do take my hair pretty seriously. If I didn’t have any, I might not care. But since I do, it should look good. By the way, I’m thinking of trying this Jon McLaughlin look (check it out).

Although the situation with this person was frustrating, it did get me thinking later about how much value I place on the exterior. I read this during my devotional time:

On that day of judgment the Lord will strip away everything that makes her beautiful … Shame will replace her beauty. —Isaiah 3:18,24 NLT

(The context is that God will judge Jerusalem for her sin.)

This is from my journal:

The passage goes on to describe these things that supposedly make Jerusalem beautiful: necklaces, earrings, bracelets, etc. Everything mentioned is a physical ornament, bling that causes the outward to shine. What God is saying is that without her bling, Jerusalem is not beautiful.

What bling do I wear to make myself appear more righteous? Is there something I do on the outside to distract God from what’s on the inside? Do I try to get God to focus on good works while my heart blackens? These are deep, penetrating questions. Father, remind me of these throughout my day and help me to probe my heart.

We live in a culture that emphasizes appearances rather than substance. I’ve written about how the Pharisees were obsessed with how they appeared, but truthfully church people in America are not that much different. There will always be the temptation to make things seem better than they are.

Certainly, we don’t air all of our dirty laundry, but ideally we have a few people in our lives who we can be real with. With them we can take off the bling, which they would see right past anyway. They help us worry less about how we look and concern ourselves with building character.

Do you have friends like that?

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