Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God-truly righteous and holy.
As I was traveling home one day after a busy morning of shopping for a loved one’s gift, I came to an unexpected epiphany. I mean it was if I had that little light bulb flash above my head, in one of those thought bubbles seen on cartoons or in a comic strip. I have to admit, I actually chuckled at how completely ridiculous my purchases actually were.
I had limited funds to purchase a gift but I wanted it to look as absolutely expensive as possible. Although I know the cost of the gift shouldn’t matter, often times, let’s face it, it does. Loved ones say it is just the thought but the look on their face as they rumble through the tissue paper or look in every nook and cranny to find something extra or locate the “real” gift, tells the real truth. You know the kind, those who always look at the back of the card just to see the cost. Well, I did find a gift within my budget and it was at a very good sale price.
Very proud of my little find, I go in search for the perfect gift packaging that will just set this gift off and of course make a really good impression. I found a beautiful velveteen box, a shiny metallic gift bag, a frilly bow, and sparkling tissue paper. I of course couldn’t wait to put the gift inside and make it very presentable. Not thinking a bit about it, I proudly placed this gift in the front seat, admiring its appearance.
I was driving along minding my own business, trying eagerly to get home, grinning from ear to ear, seemingly not a care in the world. I was reflecting on the morning purchases as I moved along on the highway. It was then that the realization set in. I had spent more on the wrapping than I did on the actual present. Now I did get the gift at a great price but to have actually spent more wrapping the gift to make it look more expensive than the actual gift itself? How absurd. I mean, how totally ridiculous! Who does this kind of idiotic thing? Well obviously, I do! Again, I thought how absolutely and completely ridiculous. Did I really care that much about the appearance of the outside more so than the gift on the inside? Was I that superficial and trite? Was not the gift the most important part? So why would I spare expense on the gift just to splurge on the packaging? And furthermore, who was I trying to fool anyway? Isn’t that exactly what I was trying to do, make something seem better than it actually was? I was painting a deceptive pretty picture. Surely not me? How quickly we fall into the trap of deception.
Through this example, my mind shifted to the question of just how often we do this from a spiritual aspect. We tend to judge worth by the packaging, the appearance. We spend astronomical amounts of money trying to beautify the outside and let the inside be overshadowed or even ignored. The truth is that it doesn’t matter how much time, effort, or money we spend on the outward appearance, it will not make what is on the inside more valuable. If you start with nothing much, you can dress it up to look like something better and of more worth, but when all is stripped away and the shiny paper and bows are but a memory tossed out in yesterday’s trash, all you have is nothing much.
We so often place more emphasis on the outward appearance than the inner most important part-the condition of the heart, the condition of the spirit, and the condition of the mind. How often do we actually try to deceive or project a certain persona and don’t have the goods to back it up? How often do we try to make ourselves seem so much better or more holy than we truly are? Really, think about it. How many people are trying their hardest to portray a certain role, character, lifestyle, or attribute that couldn’t be further from the truth? Deception is deception, no matter how you look at.
One thing is for sure. God looks past the packaging. God knows exactly and precisely what is on the inside and though we can fool some of the people sometimes or even all the time, God knows the real deal. He knows the true worth of an individual. It is what is on the inside that will live forever some day. Just like the gift wrap…this body will pass away, as a memory, for a glorified body and all that matters is the gift on the inside. We need to be careful where we place our emphasis.