When researchers at Duke University studied the pressures felt by female students, they discovered the phrase women used for their experience: the myth of effortless perfection. They were expected to appear physically attractive, get the best grades, and be involved in activities on-campus and off-campus. Not only were they expected to be perfect, they were also expected to make it appear as if they hadn’t tried at all. Talk about pressure!
God judges differently than we do. When God rejected Saul as king over Israel, the hunt was on for a new king. Knowing Saul’s fierce reputation, the prophet Samuel was scared to be used as God’s agent for the job. Step by step, though, God led Samuel toward the one who would succeed Saul.
When Jesse and his sons joined Samuel at the sacrifice in Bethlehem, Samuel looked over each one. The oldest Eliab was tall and handsome; Samuel was certain he was royal material. God corrected Samuel, confirming that He looks not on the outside, but on the inside.
Notice that David is also described as having "a fine appearance" (v. 12). But these physical features weren’t why God selected David to be the leader of His people. God values our bodies—all bodies, not just the ones that fit cultural standards of attractiveness. But God doesn’t value physical features over spiritual traits. David was not anointed to be king because he was handsome, but rather because of his heart (see 1 Sam. 13:14).
We’re tempted to judge people by how physically attractive they are. But followers of Jesus, those whose lives are being transformed by the Holy Spirit, develop a different kind of holy vision. With the eyes of our hearts, we begin to see others the way that God sees them.
Apply the Word
God judges the heart and not the face. This should change the way we see others and also the way we look into the mirror! Bombarded by messages that worth is linked to appearance, God’s Word reminds us that He looks somewhere else entirely. The next time you want to criticize your appearance, remember that God is more concerned about your heart.