“SPRAY-ON MUD” By Pastor YAU
1 Samuel 16:1-7
1) A new product: Since being active in out-door activities and sports is seen as being athletic, successful or just “cool”, a British company has developed a product called “Spray-On Mud” so city people and lazy bones may give their expensive SUVs or 4X4s the look of having been off-road for a day of hunting or fishing without even leaving their driveway. The “MUD” is even filtered to remove stones and debris that might scratch the paint. According to the company, sales are going well.
2) An old problem: There is an age-old problem in all of us that values how we look on the outside more than who we are on the inside. It causes some people to pad their resume or embellish their memoirs. We are not just trying to impress others by making us look better on the outside than we really are but are also being impressed or fooled by others because they look good on the outside. This is not just a modern day problem as many might think. When Samuel, the respected and honest prophet, went to the house of Jesse to choose one of Jesse’s sons to be the king of Israel, he was almost fooled by the look of Eliab because he was tall and good looking. God admonished Samuel: “Do not consider his look or his height. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)
WHY WE CARE HOW WE LOOK?
1) It is easier to put on: With modern day cosmetics, making you look better is relatively easy: some make ups, some nice clothes, a few pieces of appropriate jewelry and a sweet smile will make us look better. Some even go all the way to face lift, eye-lid and other cosmetic surgery procedures to make their faces and figures look more attractive and sexy. Even though this may cost them thousands of dollars, many people are willing to pay the price to make them look good on the outside because it is so hard to change anything on the inside: attitude, thoughts, habits, pride, inferior complex and vicious mindset, just to name a few.
2) It is what people see: As God told Prophet Samuel that man sees the outside when God sees the inside, man can only see our outside so we can fool people if we just do something about our appearance and we can fool them. Many trouble marriages end up in divorce courts because both sides looked at how pretty (or cute) that girl was or how handsome that guy was and were attracted to each other by their look. We see good looking people have all the privileges and attention the plain looking never have. Packaging is always important in all department stores especially in holiday season. That’s why specialists and artists were paid high salaries to design book covers, perfume bottles, hand beg and shoe styles and countless other things for better sales because that is what potential customers will see.
3) It is all about image: All of us are aware of our “self” image particularly when we are in front of others. We want people to see the good side of us, to respect us and to treat us nice. The easier way to gain all these is to make us look good on the outside regardless what is truly on the inside. People on sales business usually drive expensive cars when they entertain potential customers. They want to create an image of success on others to promote business. Politicians, public figures and people in entertainment industry are typical in putting on their best look when they appear before the public.
4) It is for cover up: This may be the worst kind of attempt to make one look good, but it is a common practice of those who have little or nothing valuable on the inside to put on a show in order to cover up their true face. A rich businessman who has only 6 years of school showed me proudly his expensive name brand pen inlaid with 7 diamonds on the clip. People who spend $100s to buy fake diplomas and degrees from a mailbox and put them on their name cards belong to this category. Casinos that rip off tens of millions of dollars from local people then donate back a little of their “blood money” to schools and charitable organizations to cover up their ugly image.
THE DANGERS OF THE LOOK:
1) It is incomplete: Even if the look is real, it still is incomplete to represent the real person. If you build your confidence or trust based only on the appearance, oftentimes, more than you want to admit, you are wrong at best or cheated at worst. Most people believe the importance of “the first impression” and try so hard to put on the best. You are in real danger if you build your confidence or trust based on their appearance. This is particularly important in romantic relationship or business deals. You need to know lot more of that person than how he or she looks or talks.
2) It may be dishonest: Some real crooks will put on their best look to impress the plain and simple for their own benefits. They may want your money, your trust, your friendship and even your heart. If you are hooked on their looks, you will never discover their scheme because you are hypnotized by their appearance. When you are so impressed on their look, you may justify your foolish trust because you have lost your sense of sound discernment. This is particularly important if you are in a romantic relationship. Many innocent people suffer brokenhearted because they place too much on looks.
3) It is only skin deep: In an email article I received a month ago, it says: “When you were younger, you want to look like Elizabeth Taylor or Marlon Brando. But when you grow older, you pray that you will never look like them.” The saying that “beauty is only skin deep” is so true. There is more to the value of a person than how he/she looks. Never be attracted to anyone just because of the look. Find out his character, his relationship with God and his family. Learn more about his work habit, the kind of friends he makes and how he spends his free time and weekends.
4) It may be a liability: The recent death of Anna Nicole Smith, a former playmate of the PLAYBOY magazine and the broken life of Britney Spear, a superstar of the pop music industry gives us a wake-up call on the danger of being good looking. Good looking is seldom a blessing but very often a devil’s trap. Many beautiful people are so spoiled, exploited and lived in self-destructive life style. Being good looking may not be a blessing but a curse of life.
1) Look on the inside: When God warned Samuel not to look on the outside but on the inside, He didn’t say good looking is evil but is not what He wants to look on a man. When God says he looks at the heart, He means the inner qualities of the person. If you are buying a car, don’t just look at the body or style but look at the engine and all other mechanical parts that make the car running. What is the good look for if the car doesn’t run? Same is true with people. We need to know more and deeper than just his look.
2) Look for his faith: Religious belief and dedication to God is a sign of self discipline, faith and commitment to a higher authority. Religious people are usually more disciplined in their life and everyday practice with others. A man who fears God is usually a man of humility and responsibility. When a man is guided by the principles of God through His word, he is more dependable, responsible, honest, kind and loving. I am not talking about a churchgoer. I am talking about a dedicated follower of Jesus.
3) Look for character: Character is best explained as the basic component of the soul, the real quality of a person. That includes his beliefs, his values, the way he lives his life and does things: honest, sincere, humble, diligent and well self-disciplined. These are the basic components that made a person with value and respect. People with good character are often respected by family and peers. They are people of principle rather than opportunity.
4) Look into his heart: When Apostle Paul advised the early Christians to build their quality of faith, he said, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praise worthy, think about such things.” (Phil. 4:8) If the heart of a man is filled with all of these, he is a man after God’s heart. Whatever is in a man’s heart that is what he will think, say and do. Make sure you have these qualities.
1) No need for the “Spray-on”: Be happy with whatever God has given you, your look, your clothing, your possessions, ability or education or anything else. There is NO need to fool yourself or others by putting on a show. Be natural and honest. Enjoy the blessings God has given you.
2) Build on the inside: Not just God looks for your heart, people also want to see “quality” in you. Follow Paul’s instruction to build your inner quality and you will be the apple of the eyes of both God and people around you.
3) The most important acceptance: People “spray-on” things to look good because they want acceptance from others. But all human acceptances are temporary and will fade. Make sure you are acceptable by God at the gate of Heaven. Trust the Lord Jesus, confess your sins, ask Him to come into your heart today and you will be accepted by God to eternity.