Our verse for today comes from Colossians 2:23, ” These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh. “
Today marks four weeks since I last shaved. My last encounter with a razor was the day we left on the mission trip, and since we returned I have continued to let the beard fill out. This is definitely the longest period of time that I have gone without shaving. As much as I dislike to shave, ten days is about as long as I have ever gone. It begins to itch and feel strange, and I simply can’t take it anymore. This time around, though, I have endured, if for no other reason than to remind myself of the trip and to see how long I can go before shaving it off. Of course, there have been no shortage of comments, from the Grizzly Adams references, or saying that I’m trying to look my age, or being called a professor. Yes, there are those who see someone with a beard and immediately grant them a certain level of wisdom or knowledge, especially if they see them in certain surroundings or situations. Ivy League professors and Jewish rabbis quickly come to mind, don’t they?
But what good is an appearance of wisdom? As our verse says, what value is there in false humility, or neglecting your body? Is there eternal worth in imposing restrictions upon yourself, or projecting an imaginary image of yourself? How many times have you felt proud for not committing a certain sin? Does it make sense to trade one form of sin for another? Jesus asked the people why they were upset with Him for healing on the Sabbath when they would circumcise on the Sabbath to honor the law. Wasn’t making one well a Sabbath-thing to do? So He told them to judge rightly rather than by appearance. It’s wonderful to hold yourself to certain standards and strive to accomplish lofty goals. But let’s not forget the value of appearance when compared to the eternal worth of the truth. There is no comparison, in spite of how others may treat you or respond to what they can see. We don’t love God by writing His law on our foreheads. That is just to remind us that we are to love Him with all our heart. That’s not self-imposed religion. That’s humble worship of our Almighty Father.
As we seek Him today, see if you notice yourself doing something simply for appearance’s sake. Ask God to cleanse from you any ideas you have about helping Him save you or make you more pleasing to Him.