Read Proverbs 13
Have you ever heard the phrase “Don’t judge a book by its cover”? It’s usually said by a well-intentioned human being who wants you to look at something deeper, instead of writing it off based on appearance. Let me be the first to admit that I’m guilty of judging things prematurely. When looking through a bookstore or scrolling through the new releases on Netflix, I only pick up a book or click on a show that is visually appealing to me. When I go to a website I immediately start judging the company based on their site. If their home page isn’t laid out in a way I find appealing, I’ll exit out of it within the first 10 seconds. That company could provide the greatest service in their industry but, because of my quick judgement, I’ll never find out.
In today’s Proverb, I think Solomon was trying to get us to look past our exterior and at our hearts. Much of what he talks about that looks good on the outside originates from a healthy heart that is focused on God and serving him well.
A God-loyal life keeps you on track;
sin dumps the wicked in the ditch.
A pretentious, showy life is an empty life;
a plain and simple life is a full life.
Sound thinking makes for gracious living,
but liars walk a rough road.
A commonsense person lives good sense;
fools litter the country with silliness.
It’s funny how preferences change over the years. I used to want to watch the most popular movies, the latest blockbusters with the most previews and the top-paid stars, but now those movies are much less appealing to me. Now I know the directors and styles of movies that I enjoy. I find myself attracted to things that are simpler, plainer, and more real. There was a time for flashy and showy, but I’ll exchange that any day for the real deal.
I long for the illusion of realness or honesty in the media that I consume, but I often struggle to portray that in real life. I often feel like I have to put on airs and create a false image of who I am. But that’s what this Proverb is advising against. When I put all of my focus on the external, what my life looks like to others, I am living an empty life. When I’m more focused on what my social media presence looks like than the strength of my relationships, that’s a problem. When I try to live beyond my means, that’s vanity and something Solomon warns us about. I want my life to be marked by sound thinking and gracious living, characteristics that come from living a God-led, simple lifestyle.