(Graphic artwork by McKenzi Matsick)
A Fine Appearance
By Iain Dick
Gentlemen, you are currently reading what is technically a “fashion” article, but not as you would imagine it. No, no. You will not find tips on what type of jacket to wear to a spring formal or what shoes best communicate your integrity here. For that, let me apologize to those who came looking for that. No, this is something a little deeper.
“Style is something each of us already has, all we need to do is find it.”
– Diane von Furstenberg
I’m the kind of guy who cares about his appearance. When I leave the house, I like to do so looking “deliberate.” I make sure my hair is either groomed or under an appropriate hat. Even if I’m a bit of a mess, it will most likely be because I’ve been working in the garden or painting a room. Either way, even at my most scruffy, it’s deliberate. If I’m to be totally honest with you, I believe we should be like that. We should put out a deliberate message with what we wear and how we look. Now before anyone comes at me with objections for being shallow and focusing in on appearances – hear me out!
Our appearance communicates whether we want it to or not. How we look tells people a lot about us. But let’s look to the Bible for wisdom:
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart”( 1 Samuel 16:7). But later in verse 12, it speaks of David as “…glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features.”
What does it look like to be glowing with health and have a fine appearance? Here are some verses that I find helpful when trying to navigate your appearance, as a man of God (and I’d say also works in principle for everyone.)
- In Ecclesiastes 8:1 it says that “…A person’s wisdom brightens their face and changes its hard appearance.”
That’s a good clue, right? Wisdom makes you look brighter. Could it be that it makes you a brighter, more switched-on person who can make good decisions on what is appropriate to wear to any given environment? Honestly, either of those outcomes work pretty well to me.
- “Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever. You can count on this. Take it to heart” (1 Timothy 4:8-9 MSG).
Discipline – every man’s favorite word! I’m not about to preach to anyone about how good of an example I am of a well-disciplined man. But I will say one thing on the subject. When you have discipline in a particular area of your life, it shows. If you commit to eating right, getting a decent sleep every night, have good routines for cleanliness and hygiene – your body and mind will start to show evidence of it! The verse here talks about how we would do better to prioritize spiritual disciplines (reading the Word, praying, sharing the hope that’s within us), but let’s not forget about the other things I mentioned that are still of benefit.
Daniel is another man who proves that by his devotion to God, his life was healthier and visibly more attractive. Don’t tell me God doesn’t want to make you attractive.
The last thing to point out from the Bible is probably the one to hold in the highest regard over the rest.
- “Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly” (John 7:24).
As mentioned earlier in 1 Samuel, only man looks at the outward appearance – God looks at the heart. I would argue that one of the most attractive qualities found in any man or woman is their love for God, love for His people, and the integrity that they live with.
Fashion changes. Things go out of style. But there are some internal qualities that can and ought to lead to an attractive, fine appearance that’s glowing with health. Those godly qualities will never go out of style! God made us all with such unique personalities. We ought to embrace styles that we consider to be both modest, yet attractive, whilst also remaining open to input and wisdom from those we trust.