Books and Covers

Weekly Sabbath  Survey
Books and Covers   — 10-19-13
We’ve all  heard “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”  When it was time to publish the  book I wrote, I became very aware of how important the cover was. People are  attracted (or not) by the cover. This proverbial saying about judging by  the cover actually means ‘don’t judge people by their outward  appearance.’ While Biblically speaking it refers to ‘don’t think less of a  person who may be down and out and dressed badly, while at the same time don’t  be so impressed with the well dressed person who seems A-OK and not only  acceptable but preferable to the one in the shabby clothing.’
For thousands  of years, people have identified themselves by the clothing  and adornments they wear. The Amish dress  ‘plain’, Scots developed various plaid patterns each uniquely  identifying its clan from all the others. Prostitutes dress to  advertise their profession. Street gangs and bikers have ‘colors’ and logos  distinctive to their group. Police, nurses, Boy Scouts, military  people, the mail carrier, and many others have clothing exclusive to their  professions. In our culture people with rings on their left 4th finger to show  others they are married. A flag pen on the lapel says this man is a  patriot, or he wants you to think that he is. Other  people identify us by what they see. Christian people should not look like  lounge singers, prostitutes, gang bangers, drug addicts or vampies. And why  would they want to?!?  
Psychologists  tell us our outward appearance sends a message to others, making  it almost impossible in some cases for us to NOT get an instant impression  of someone before we know them. We get the message when we look  at them. Sometimes the tee shirts actually SAY the message. When an  ample-bosomed woman walks into a meeting or a party wearing a dress  that exposes the top half of her ‘girls’, she has no right, in my opinion,  to be offended if men stare at her chest when they talk to her and some may even  make assumptions about her. Why does she have them exposed if she doesn’t  want them to be seen?  Despite efforts that it not be so, people  judge others by what they SEE. Our appearance is a part of our “voice” and it is  telling people who and what we are before we even speak. I personally  think we should do away with the whole “don’t judge me by my appearance” thing.  If people don’t want to be judged, stared at or passed over, they should  dress to send the message of who they REALLY are.
We live in a day and age when Miley Cyrus (from a Christian  home!) is a role model to our teens. Parents  must instruct children in righteousness concerning their clothing and  other fashions that are ways of expressing themselves. We must equip  them with Scripture concerning permanent markings or scarring of  the skin which are forbidden by God. If they go out into life without  being taught in these matters, they will be easy prey for the  temptations the devil has waiting for them. If they go out after being  taught and do it anyway, at least they were given the right training. Maybe when  they are ‘old’ they will come back to that.
On another note, both saved and unsaved young people’s way of dressing  and harming their bodies in such hideous ways could be a sign of internal  problem. They put themselves into a ‘cult’ of everyone wearing a costume,  complete with spiritual masks. Every day is Halloween for these people.  This may be for some, a way of acting out. We  need discernment when so many things are really not what they seem to  be. 
Adults must take time to choose our own clothes carefully  so our outside reflects what is inside. We must be a good example. An  important component here is a face that reflects God’s glory. A shining  face. I want people to look at my cover and want to ‘read’ me, because my book  is full of God’s love and His goodness and His Spirit. I do not want anyone  to think otherwise before they even know me. First impressions are very  powerful. We must also conduct ourselves in every situation so no outside  observer could come to a conclusion that is not true about us. No  matter how we dress, if we act like a heathen, people will not be thinking of us  as a Believer. Our behavior is very important.
I pray that you (and I) will be filled (and clothed)  with the knowledge of Messiah’s will and understanding of spiritual matters; so  we walk worthy of the Lord, pleasing Him in everything; bearing the  fruit of every good work and growing in the knowledge of  God.  Colossians 1:10
Charlene  Reams Manning
Believer  in the Lord Jesus Messiah 
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