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“APPEARANCE”

 I don’t know what you look like. You may have long hair or short, be tall or shall, slim or wide, have perfect teeth or have an over bite, maybe no teeth at all. You could be white, black, brown, red or yellow. But then none of these characteristics have much to do with who you are. If I saw you today I would know you by your appearance. True the physical appearance has much to say about one but it is the inner appearance which people come to know. One’s inner appearance by far outshines the outer and people ignore the outer once they have met the inner.

At a time, which it has always been, when the lust of the eye is a driving force in people’s motivation for involving themselves in personal relationships, it does become an important factor in one’s own identity. Like the body itself, this attraction passes quickly for there is a great difference between lust and love. Lust never satisfies and leaves the soul hungry where love is fulfilling. So in short time outer appearances fade to the more important inner appearance. You would not have to look far to validate my statement. I myself have often wondered in my youthful and present days how the ugly guy gets the best looking girls. How the homely girl get the best looking guy. Then there are the times that they are just as homely together or just a fantastic. You see it really doesn’t matter when it comes to love for, well you know, love is blind. But what is inner appearance, that which in the end wins? I think it has allot to do with the word “cause.”

We all are born with a need to believe. It is a part of our nature. Our need to believe is inescapable. As sure as our need to eat and breath we need to believe in something. I call this the hunger of the spirit. Another subject someday. When I was in the army my first stop out of training was a beautiful country in Southeast Asia. Then it was called South Viet Nam. I was not drafted, I joined and I wanted to go. I believed in the American “cause” for our involvement there and I wanted to do my duty for my country. I arrived as a part of the best dressed, best equipped, best trained army in the world. I represented the most powerful nation this world has ever seen. I was an American soldier. It was for the “cause” of our government that I and we were there but as you know we got our butts kicked clean out. Why?   Not far back in history, little more than two hundred years, another super power went across the ocean to quell a rebellion. They got their butts kick also by an inferior country. That was the American Revolution. But Why? “Cause” In Viet Nam our cause was lost when the American people lost their conviction towards the correctness of our intervention. Without that belief, cause or conviction we were powerless in our efforts. Our appearance became that of the aggressor, an evil power praying upon a weaker nation. The soldier on the ground lost his “cause” and therefore lost the ground. But in the American Revolution our “cause” was correct and we overcame and many have since admired our appearance. Many nations have since followed in our experiment in democracy.   How the Queen today must turn at night when she ponders this nation as a lost possession. Much how the Devil turns over his loss of you.

What one believes and has faith in becomes their “cause” or conviction. It is this “cause” which dominates their whole attitude, perspective, character and appearance. It is this which others see and are attracted to or repelled from. For this is the real person which only lives inside the shell of a body. There are those who seemingly have it all. Looks, fame and fortune. But what do they really have. How many of them end up on the rocks, dead in drugs, committing suicide or just plain miserable and alone at the end of the road. Empty and hollow inside. Their worldly blessings brought them nothing but sadness and death, both physical and spiritual. How many times have you heard how horrible they really are? They are living for the flesh and dying with it also. Most of us are way beyond that and they have my pity but not my friendship. (Eccl 1:14 KJV) “I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.”

There are many things in the world to believe in. What we choose has allot to do with the appearance we have to those who come to know us. I am not one to say, or would not say, those without the saving grace of Jesus are bad, just in great need. The sad part is they don’t even know their dangerous position. (Prov 14:12 KJV) “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” But our cause is Jesus Christ living through us. This is the appearance then that we take on as we grow in His Spirit. (Rom 12:2 KJV) “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” It is through His example that we are to see others. (Luke 19:10 KJV) “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

 Probably the best friend I ever had was Zack. One summer we went to a summer camp together with our church group. I always had trouble with my lips chapping in the summer because they would become dry in the summer heat. I had forgotten to pack some chap stick and there was nowhere to find any at camp. They became very sore and blistered by mid-week. Everyone called me by mean names and made fun of the way they looked. But Zack stood up for me and when they started to pick on him too he said he didn’t care because I was his friend. We all have our faults and we all are our worst judge. They were just teasing as kids do and were really just as much friends as they ever would be. I was really more upset at myself for looking that way. I remember how a zit would keep me in the house. Something no one else would pay attention to. I went through most of my childhood thinking I was ugly and nobody else even cared, because they didn’t think I was. They didn’t think about it at all. I was who I am and that is who they knew. I could have looked like anything and it would not have mattered.

Still I have had the problem of first judging people with that old lusty eye. I have had some mighty attractive folks with whom I could not stand. Looks might get you in the door but they won’t keep you in there. One Sunday at a church in Perry, Ga. I was attending as a visitor. I didn’t know anyone there and was looking for someone to meet. As I looked about the congregation all were much older than I and no one was my age. After the offertory the choir sang there special music for that Sunday. As they sang the words, “And He walks with me and He talks with me and He tells me I am His own,” everyone in the choir lite up with a glow. No not in the lighting but in the aurora about them. I no longer saw them as people but as spirits. It has to this day a tremendous impact on the way I see people. This is what we are, spirits living in bodies which will return to the dust. So what difference does a body make?

Then this is the appearance of people, the spirit. This is how to view the real person and this is the treasure which is to be found in a person. (2 Corinthians 4:7 KJV) “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” When we take up our cross and follow Jesus he promised we would have life and have it abundantly. He did not promise an easy fun filled adventure where everything was perfect, just a full life living in His will. (1 Corinthians 6:20 KJV) “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” Our mission is to tell the old, old story of Jesus and His love. How wonderful a blessing to lead one spirit home to the saving Grace of Jesus our greatest Friend.

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

February, 2001

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