About Encouragement for Today

Proverbs 31 Ministries is a non-denominational, non-profit Christian ministry that seeks to lead women into a personal relationship with Christ. With Proverbs 31:10-31 as a guide, Proverbs 31 Ministries reaches women right in the middle of their busy day through free daily devotions, radio program, speaking events, conferences, monthly magazine, resources, online communities, and Gather and Grow groups. We are real women offering real-life solutions to women who are striving to maintain life’s balance, in spite of today’s hectic pace and cultural pull away from godly principles. Wherever a woman may be on her spiritual journey, Proverbs 31 Ministries exists to be a trusted friend who takes her by the hand and walks by her side, leading her one step closer to the heart of God.

Looking Past Appearances - Encouragement for Today - May 7, 2018

Looking Past Appearances - Encouragement for Today - May 7, 2018

Beth Vogt

May 7, 2018
Looking Past Appearances
BETH K. VOGT

 

“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27 (NIV)

While I wait in the grocery checkout line, the glossy, full-color magazine covers with their spectacular headlines often catch my eye. Celebrity weddings. Royal weddings. Anything about Chip and Joanna Gaines. But on this particular day, the cashier drew my attention.

He was short and stocky, with hair that touched his collar, a scruffy beard, and large gauges in his ears. But one of his tattoos intrigued me the most.

Why would a 20-something guy have a cuckoo clock covering the inside of his forearm?

“That’s an interesting tattoo,” I said as he scanned my produce and canned goods.

“Thanks.” He smiled. “It’s a replica of my grandfather’s cuckoo clock that he brought from Germany.”

And then he told me how much he loved his grandfather. How he enjoyed watching and listening to the cuckoo clock when he was a child. For the few minutes that he rang up and bagged my purchases, we connected over our mutual love of Germany and cuckoo clocks.

In times past, I was quick to size up another person in the mall or a restaurant. I’d see someone with tattoos and immediately place them in a less-than-positive category. I’d evaluate someone’s choice of clothing. Their odd (in my opinion) hair color. Pink? Teal? Rainbow highlights, anyone? I’d approve or not approve someone in passing, almost without realizing it.

And then one day as I mentally assessed someone’s hairstyle or makeup or who knows what, these words crossed my mind: made in the image of God. That short phrase threw a virtual roadblock up in front of my judgmental attitude.

Straight from today’s key verse, Genesis 1:27 is a powerful reminder: “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them;male and female he created them.”

Every person I cross paths with is made in God’s image. Yes, they may decide to decorate themselves with piercings or an unusual hairstyle or outfit. They may wear a lot of eyeliner or none at all. None of these things negates what God declared: His image is imprinted on each and every one of them. Ethnicity doesn’t mar His image, either. Rather, different nationalities display God’s image in fascinatingly beautiful ways.

As I go through my day, I remind myself that each person I meet is created in God’s image. Yes, sometimes I may hesitate over someone’s outer appearance, but God looks at a person’s heart. And I don’t want to miss an opportunity to connect with someone on a more personal level because of what they look like.

Now when I see someone with a tattoo, I figure there’s a story there. If I recognize ink-scrawled words, I’ll ask what they say. Oftentimes it’s a favorite quote, and we can connect because I’m a quote aficionado. Or sometimes it’s in memory of a loved one, and I can honor that.

If I have time, I might compliment someone’s smile or hair color or fun shoes — and when their eyes light up, I’m reminded the image of God shines inside of them.

Dear God, help me look past other people’s outward appearances — what they’re wearing, how they do their hair — and consider their hearts. I want to remember that each person I meet today is made in Your image. May I look for an opportunity to encourage someone today, reminding them they are special … maybe even that they are loved by You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
1 Samuel 16:7, “But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.’” (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Relationships can be complicated. Family dynamics, and our ingrained assumptions, can hinder our ability to understand one another. Beth K. Vogt’s novel, Things I Never Told You, examines the often-complicated dynamics between sisters and how secrets can poison relationships.

CONNECT:
Beth K. Vogt loves quotes. On her blog, In Others’ Words, she shares reflections about thought-provoking quotes, inviting others to join the conversation.

How does God remind you that everyone you meet is made in His image? Share your thoughts with us, and you’ll be entered to WIN a copy of Things I Never Told You by Beth K. Vogt. In celebration of this book, Tyndale House Publishers is giving away 5 copies! {We'll randomly select 5 winners and email notifications to each one by Monday, May 14, 2018.}

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
As you go through your day, remind yourself that each person you meet is made in God’s image.

  • Look for opportunities to ask people who help you today — the coffee shop barista, the grocery store cashier — about their lives.
  • That person you want to stop and stare at? Offer a smile instead and pray for God to bless them.

© 2018 by Beth K. Vogt. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Tyndale House Publishers for their sponsorship of today's devotion.

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