What do the following things have in common: new clothes, pens, and a calculator? They all point to a new school year, right?! I remember the excitement of going back to school. I have to admit that shopping for clothes was my personal favorite. Searching for the perfect pair of shoes was right up there, too. With each new year, I was determined to look my best, and yes, even to try my hardest.
As I look back on the years spent in school and college, I was interested in portraying the right image. Can anyone identify? I wanted to fit in and be accepted by my peers. Hours were spent making sure hair and make-up were just so. I put a premium on my outward appearance, not realizing the importance of what was on the inside.
The words of 1 Samuel put things in proper perspective, "But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart," (1 Samuel 16:7; KJV). God knows that what's really important is what's on the inside. He's quick to reveal the heart that's pleasing to Him, "...Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself," (Matthew 22:37-39).
A true friend demonstrates care and concern, is a good listener and provides encouragement when it's needed. A friend is honest - sharing the truth in love, even when it's not popular. These characteristics are evident in the person who has true beauty - a beauty that is more than skin deep. When I realize it's not about me, but it's all about the Lord and loving others His way, I'm on the right track. Instead of trying to FIND the right friend, my job is to concentrate on cultivating the characteristics that allow me to BE a good friend!
A new school year, or even another day at the office, is the perfect opportunity to focus on the needs of others. Let God's Word guide you, "A friend loveth at all times..." (Proverbs 17:17). And you'll be sure to point them to an all-sufficient Savior!
Do you tend to focus on outward appearance rather than what's on the inside? How can you be a better friend?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank You for reminding me that what's inside matters most. Help me to develop the characteristics of a true friend, and point others to You. In Jesus' name, Amen.
*I'm hosting over at Living by Grace today. Come join in the discussion!