(Note: A downloadable PDF copy of this lesson is available on the last page.)
Is the real you underneath your skin?
Take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently.
Deuteronomy 4:9, KJV
When people come into my consulting room, I can see that they have taken time to look nice. However, what we talk about is the part of them you can’t see, the world of thoughts, feelings, and emotions underneath the skin. This part of us that no one can see is what some call the soul.
Very few of us would think of neglecting our appearance before leaving home. We want to make the image we see reflected in the mirror acceptable to ourselves and others. We know that others make judgments about us based on our appearance.
A LOOK IN THE MIRROR
Very few people get to see what we see in the mirror in the morning. What people do see is our version of what we want them to see. Some people have more work to do than others.
Multimillion-dollar industries provide products for eye care, ear care, lip care, hair care, body care, and clothing.
As you look in the mirror in the morning, you are vaguely aware of your behavior patterns, thoughts, and reactions. Circumstances and events in your life make you aware of pleasant or unpleasant thoughts and emotions. And as you look in the mirror, you are either pleased or displeased with yourself.
With personal behavior, as with personal appearance, you behave acceptably to particular persons or groups. In their presence, regardless of what they say or do, regardless of the reactions going on underneath the skin, you strive diligently to maintain a pleasant smile, a friendly word, and a congenial manner.
Few people get to see what you see in the mirror, and no one gets to see what goes on underneath your skin except God. The Bible says:
Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.
1 Samuel 16:7, NKJV
If the Lord looks on the heart, then it follows that a checkup of your heart is more critical than an examination of your physical appearance.
I don’t like checkups. I usually have a feeling of uneasiness and uncertainty that something bad will come up that I don’t know about. When a physician checks your body, he is alert to discover anything that needs correcting.
Soul searching can be as uncomfortable as a physical checkup. But if God looks upon the heart, one needs to be sure of His approval. The psalmist said:
Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me.
Psalm 139:23-24, KJV
When Moses passed the mantle of leadership to Joshua, he said to the people:
Give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things which your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life.
Deuteronomy 4:9, NASB
Most of us don’t need any urging to look after our personal appearances and personal advantages. We encounter people every day, and their approval or disapproval is face to face and immediate.