God commands us to abstain from all appearance of evil
(1 Th. 5:21-22, KJV).
So we must be aware of appearances, in order to abstain
We are commanded to glorify God in our bodies. So, we
must be aware of our outward appearance, to ensure that
it glorifies God.
- "Or do you not know that your body is a temple
of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have
from God, and that you are not your own? For
you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify
God in your body" (1 Cor. 6:19-20).
Our outward appearance either glorifies God or dishonors
If we adorn ourselves to look rebellious, we dishonor
God. But if we adorn ourselves in a way that appears
godly, we honor God.
- We must exalt Christ and profess godliness in everything
we do (Phil. 1:20; 1 Tim. 2:2, 10).
- We don't take pride in physical appearances, but
in heart (2 Cor. 5:12).
Therefore, we must have a sense of society's impression
of our appearance. To do this, we should rely on individuals
who are mature in the faith for guidance.
- We must do the things that are honorable and respectable
in the sight of all men (Rom. 12:17).
For example, guidance from the elders of our congregation
regarding propriety should be considered when making
decisions relating to appearance.
Appearance of Questionable Activities
In the world, many people think it's okay to engage
in questionable activities, especially if you do it
just a little.
But as Christians, we abstain from every appearance
of evil (1 Th. 5:21-22).
We don't engage in anything that's questionable.
- If something is questionable in our minds, it's
a sin (Rom. 14:23).
Questionable things are often on the cutting edge
of popular culture, like the most modern attire and
activities. As Christians, we are aware of things that
appear to be questionable, and don't participate in
Appearance of Worldly Wisdom
False religious doctrines appear to be wise, in worldly
- "These are matters which have, to be sure, the
appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and
self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but
are of no value against fleshly indulgence" (Col.
These doctrines appear to be wise since they're built
upon human philosophy, rather than God's word.
- "See to it that no one takes you captive through
philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition
of men, according to the elementary principles
of the world, rather than according to Christ"
So Paul warns us not to give into false teachers,
who through their doctrines try to defraud us of our
- "Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize
by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of
the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen,
inflated without cause by his fleshly mind, and not
holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body,
being supplied and held together by the joints and
ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God"
For this reason, I'm very careful in my use of the
word "theology", which means the "philosophical treatment
of Christian doctrine" (Online Etymology
Dictionary, Douglas Harper, Historian, 09 Jan, 2010).
Although the meaning of "theology" is broader today,
than when it was first used in the fourteenth century,
it still includes philosophy. So, I avoid using the
term when talking about the doctrine of Christ and my
religion, which is not based on a human philosophy.
Appear as Lights in the World
As disciples of Christ, we appear as lights in
- "So that you will prove yourselves to be blameless
and innocent, children of God above reproach in the
midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among
whom you appear as lights in the world" (Phil.
As lights, we glorify God in our personal appearance,
and the activities in which we engage.
We don't engage in questionable activities.
And we show people the path to heaven, as we walk
in the footsteps of Jesus.
As God's children, it's our obligation to be aware of
We're aware of our personal appearance, and the appearance
of everything we do.
And we're aware of the appearances of things around
us, so we don't give into evil.