“Here is the path to the higher life: down, lower down! Just as water seeks and always fills the lowest place, so the moment God finds men abased and empty, His glory and power flow to exalt and to bless.” Andrew Murray
By: Gabriela Yareliz
Hello friends, seekers, those who stumble upon my blog for diverse reasons; it’s candid confession day. Just kidding. A lot of you like my personal entries, so have fun with this one.
Today, I am sharing something that has been really close to my heart lately. God speaks to us in different ways. For me it often happens in my devotional readings and prayer. I have been reading Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1. For those of you who read regularly, you have seen recently that a lot of quotes and entries come from Ellen G. White’s intense and tell-it-like-it-is book of counsel for Christians (this book is one of nine).
I guess, I will start at the beginning. It all started when I began to read the chapter “Conformity to the World,” and the chapter started by talking about those who profess to follow Jesus, and how “They think they are so not like the world, but they are so near like them in dress, in conversation, and actions, that there is no distinction.”
The Bible repeatedly tells us to be set apart and different from the world and it’s focus on temporal and shallow things. As Christians and people who want a true, life-transforming religion, we should be focused on the spiritual things, on things that are unseen and eternal.
She continues to say in that chapter, “Why is it so hard to lead a self-denying, humble life? Because professed Christians are not dead to the world.” She continues saying we should be imitators of the “humble pattern.”
What impacted me was “I saw some professed Sabbath-keepers spend hours that are worse than thrown away, in studying this or that fashion to decorate the poor, mortal body. While you make yourselves appear like the world, and as beautiful as you can, remember that the same body may in a few days be food for worms. And while you adorn it to your taste, to please the eye, you are dying spiritually. God hates your vain, wicked pride, and He looks upon your vain, wicked pride, and He looks upon you as a whited sepulcher, full of corruption and uncleanness within.” [1T 134.1]
God, who took His time to create us magnificently, hates our pride. Pride is an attitude that reflects that we place ourselves above others, and sometimes above God Himself. We forget who we are, created beings.
“The outside appearance is an index to the heart.” [1T 135.2]
In other words, if our hearts were right we would look distinct from all around us. If we are truly humble, our appearance will show simplicity.
Now, this does not mean people have to look weird, freaky and unfashionable. Honestly, everyone is different. Some people have good taste and can grab and go in the mornings, but it’s when we spend hours on frivolous things that it becomes a problem. It’s when that is the first thing people see in us that it becomes a problem.
For example, I was thinking of myself. Fashion is not something I am consumed by, but something I really enjoy are makeup tutorials. I love to study makeup artistry and try new things.
NYC is a place of manufactured beauty and creativity.
This week, as I was studying the Bible I read the passage in Isaiah that talks about vanity and how it was often tied to worship of other gods.
From the S.D.A Bible Commentary Volume 4, page 1138:
(1 Peter 3:1-5). Beauty of Soul a Standing Rebuke—In the third chapter of Isaiah’s prophecy mention is made of the prevailing pride of the “daughters of Zion,” with “their tinkling ornaments, … the chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers, the bonnets, … and the headbands, and the tablets, and the earrings, the rings, and nose jewels, the changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping pins, the glasses, and the fine linen, and the hoods, and the vails.” Verses 18-23. How different this picture from that portrayed by the apostle Peter of the God-fearing woman, who, estimating at its real value the “outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel,” chooses rather to cultivate beauty of soul, “even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” It was “after this manner in the old time” that “the holy women … who trusted in God, adorned themselves”; and their “chaste conversation coupled with fear” (1 Peter 3:1-5), as revealed in daily life, was ever a standing rebuke to their sisters who followed after folly (The Review and Herald, March 4, 1915).
I also read Romans 12: 1-2
Living Sacrifices to God
12 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Merriam-Webster defines Conform:
: to be similar to or the same as something
: to obey or agree with something
: to do what other people do : to behave in a way that is accepted by most people
The Bible continually emphasizes the beauty of the soul and our characters; the only things that last.
Of course, we should be neat, modest, and tasteful in our outward appearance. We should look great! But my thought became, where did my simplicity go? Especially here in the city, I feel that there is a pressure to be more done up before you leave your house and walk down Fifth Avenue.
Those of you who know me, know that I love to study the Bible, and yet still, recently I have been thinking, what do people see when they look at me? Is their first thought about who I am inside?
When they look at me, do they see a makeup style that was on the Marc Jacobs runway, a perfect dramatic eyeliner, a lipstain, or do they see Jesus?
I want people to see Jesus.
This may seem shallow, after all, I am only talking about outward adornment, what people see, before you have ever spoken a word, yet still, the Bible is really clear. It says, do not be conformed. It refers to exactly this, which is what people see before we have even spoken a word.
There is a shallow downfall for everyone. It’s different for everyone, but what I think is important is to go back to these verses we constantly read and know by heart, and really analyze ourselves. Do people see the jewelry, the expensive clothes, the makeup that took a primer, five eye shadows and false eyelashes, the nail art that took hours, or do they see Jesus?
Maybe, instead of letting ourselves shine through, we should let Jesus shine through. It’s a choice we have to make everyday. When we look at each other, we label each other (it’s natural human tendency–we all do it). How we look sends a message of what we believe, what we live for and what is important to us.
What do they see when they look at me?