Keys to the Kingdom
If I had a nickel for every time I heard my Mom tell me, “Pretty is as pretty does,” I could buy a Big Mac or some Belgian truffles. Even though she’s been gone several years, her words of wisdom still resound in my soul. Recently, I was visiting with a Missouri cousin and this particular quote came out of my mouth. This relative had heard that expression before, but had never really thought about the meaning. So I explained it in a straight-shooting manner and he said, “That makes sense.” My sweet cousin Danny is a perfect example of this saying when I exchange “pretty“ for “handsome.”
How you act and what you do is what makes you truly pretty, not your appearance. A gal can be pretty, but she is only (as good, kind, etc.) as she does. An individual with exemplary character, ethics, and integrity is more important than good looks. Just because a person is physically pleasing on the outside doesn’t guarantee he/she is pretty on the inside. If our actions, attitudes, and behaviors are ugly, it doesn’t matter how gorgeous we are on the outside! Our words and deeds continuously speak for themselves because what‘s on the inside will certainly find its way to the outside — for good or bad.
Jesus was batting a thousand with His point-blank sermon. He criticized the religious leaders by telling them that religious appearance is not enough. “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy — full of greed and self-indulgence“ (Matthew 23:25,26 NLT). The religious leaders were only concerned with outward appearances and neglected inward purity and loving others. Jesus instructed them to clean the inside of the cup and dish first, and then the outside will follow suit.
Jesus boldly told the crowds and His disciples not to follow the example of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees. Why? Because they didn’t practice what they preached. In fact, Jesus said that everything they did was for show. “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs — beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity. Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness (Matthew 23:27,28 NLT).
In the book of 1 Samuel Chapter 25, Abigail is a beautiful woman with brains married to nincompoop Nabal. When David’s men kindly asked Nabal for provisions, he foolishly refused, insulting the most powerful man in the region. When Abigail wisely intervened and brought a caravan of food and gifts to David and his 600 men, she fell to the ground at his feet. She made one of the longest speeches by a woman recorded in the Bible. God used her humble words and prudent actions to save many lives. After her scoundrel husband died, she later became David’s wife. Abigail was pretty on the outside, but she is remembered as one of the great peacemakers because she was pretty on the inside.
“The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7 NLT).
The Key: Live your life inside-out to get to the heart of the matter.