Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised. (Proverbs 31:30)
Our outward appearance and persona may be deceiving people. But how can that be? When we see someone nicely dressed, we naturally are more fond of them and create positive impressions in our mind. We associate them with virtues that may or may not be there. On the other hand, we naturally have a more negative impression towards people who don’t look nice. If we are someone on the receiving end of positive impressions, that would probably make us feel good about ourselves. That in itself is natural and neutral.
But the deception is when our outward self and our inward self are not aligned, and when our adornment is merely outward. This level of deception first begins with oneself, when we judge our own character as superficially as our appearance. When our pursuit of character growth is largely in our outward appearance, with adornment, weight loss, or fashion. All the while, we do not look deeper inwardly to examine our spiritual character and neglect the inner person to fear the Lord. Then we have deceived ourselves with our own appearance. This deceit extends not just to ourselves, but all those who see us. That they mistake our outward beauty for our inward beauty. Then this creates a mix of problems for our faith. We may get chosen to serve, because we look “right”, and can speak the church lingos, without properly nurturing our inward self.
There is nothing wrong with adorning oneself to be respectable, but that’s all that it should be, with modesty, propriety, and discernment (1 Tim 2:9). So let our pursuit not be only outwardly, but all the more inwardly as Peter encouraged us to:
Do not let your adornment be merely outward – arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel- rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. (1 Peter 3:3-4)