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God cares how you look

The way we present ourselves helps people form impressions of us. Why would God care about such a thing? Amelia explains several aspects of the relationship between self-presentation and Christian faith.
I know that this title will raise a few eyebrows. People may not even click on the link to it; some will assume they know what will be written here and that they'll disagree with it. People will say that God looks at our hearts, not our appearance, and that it doesn't matter how we look. They'll say we shouldn't judge others, either, based on how they look.

That's not at all what I'm getting at.

Yes, beauty is spiritual. And no, we don't need to dress to impress; that's only necessary for worldly gain. And no, we should never judge anyone based on his or her appearance—or at all, for that matter. However, the way we present ourselves to the world can sometimes be a crystal-clear reflection of certain thoughts and feelings that are going on inside us.

• When a woman bares too much skin (her chest, her hipbones, or anything remotely close to her behind), she's asking for sexual attention. And unless she asks in private and of the husband she married in church, it's a sin. Clothing that's too revealing or too tight is meant to provoke lust.

• When a man wears skin-tight pants, shimmery shirts, eyeliner, or anything else feminine, he's confounding his God-given identity. It's wonderful for a man to be sensitive, to like heartfelt talks, and not to be embarrassed to shed a tear, but it's sinful to dress like a woman.

• Other than perhaps tasteful earrings in the female ear, body art is associated with various countercultures (none of them renowned for their piety). Of course, not everyone who wears body art is a drug user, criminal, or sexual deviant, but that's all the more reason not to look like one.

• Tasteful makeup on a woman isn't morally scandalous, but not all makeup is tasteful. Too much (or inappropriate) makeup can represent a cry for attention, or the desire to look/be treated like a prostitute, or be part of the "uniform" of one unholy group or another.

• Being stylish shouldn't mean making a false god out of fashion. Having certain brands with certain price tags is never necessary; neither is being in up-to-the-moment sync with every trend on the market. Too much focus on what's in one's closet is focus missing from somewhere more important.

How we present ourselves reveals how we really feel about ourselves, the kind of attention we want, and the people and groups with whom we want to identify. If the crux of any of these matters is holy and pure, then there's nothing to worry about. If not, though, we need to be concerned about the spiritual reflection in the mirror.

We can dress to make whatever kind of impression we want—at parties, on job interviews, on dates, wherever. But God is watching and forming an impression of His own. What kind will it be?