Monday, November 8, 2010

Nailing Down Good Works

I was cleaning out my garage recently and found some old high school pictures. They immediately brought back memories of how consumed I was with the way I looked. It was so bad that I kept a detailed daily journal of what I wore to make sure that I didn’t repeat the same outfit within a two month period or more. Talk about vanity. I wanted to make sure I had the perfect outfit and that I never repeated it too often, lest I get criticized by my peers. Maintaining my image was important. Talk about living for man's approval (Prov 25:29). That was before God saved me.

As Christians, we still can get caught up in the web of the world and buy into what the world says a woman should be. If we're not careful to keep a watch on our life and on our doctrine, we can be quickly swept away into the current of ungodly philosophies which rob us of our time and energy—things which aren’t eternal and are quickly fading away (Prov 31:30).

I love to surround myself with ladies that are rich in good works and not focused on themselves. I'm reminded of the ladies at the Tuesday night Bible study I attend. They are full of encouragement and desire to be women of the Word. After I leave the teaching, I'm inspired to be a more godly Christian, wife and friend. This results in me conjuring up ways to bless my husband and those around me. The Bible explains to us that "bad company corrupts good morals" (1 Cor 15:33). If you surround yourself with ladies that are focused on vain things, more than likely you will find yourself becoming vain. So choose your friends wisely.

The Bible also gives very stern warnings against both conceit and putting too much focus on our outward appearance. "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others" (Phil 2: 3-4). When we focus on ourselves, our vision is blurred and our life is sapped. But when we focus on the Lord and plunge our self in the daily reading of the Word of God and spend our time doing good works for His Kingdom, we have a purpose that is clearly eternal and brings us joy. It's what we're made for: to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

Let's be ladies that bring meals to those in need, who visit the orphan and widow during their time of distress, who make a phone call and pray for the sister who is having a tough time, who send an encouraging email to the person God laid on your heart this morning. There are so many ways we can look out for the interests of our brothers and sisters.

I've been to the nail salon less than a hand full of times and half of those times were gifts. It's such a nice treat to get pampered and have someone else do your nails. The ladies at the salon do a good job of painting them to perfection. Since I'm a penny pincher, I buy a .99 cent bottle of polish and do them myself. As I write this, I have the remnants of silver polish on my fingers (see pic above). It's probably been a month since I've painted them. So much for keeping my nails maintained.

Some ladies go to the salon twice a month and pay good money to maintain their fingers and toes. Others go once a week because they want them to look perfect all the time. The Bible says that women who profess godliness will be careful to maintain "good works" (1 Tim 2:9-10). Maintaining good works should be a greater priority than maintaining our nails, our wardrobe, our hair or our image. The Bible says to be careful to maintain good works for the glory of God. Don't get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with getting your nails or hair done or wearing nice clothes, but let's be ladies that are known for our godliness rather than our large variety of outfits. Let's be ladies that are more concerned about maintaining good works than maintaining our nails.

If the Son has set you free than you are free indeed (John 8:36).


Lydia said...

Trish, these posts on what it means to be a woman of God have been so good! For me, you are one of the older godly women that I look up to and am so encouraged by. Thank you!

Stormbringer said...

This makes me think of some women I know that put so much emphasis on their looks, I wonder if their god is "Beauty", and they are making an idol out of their looks, which will fade.

I never gave much time to my appearance (not much to work with, I blend in well with crowds). But I have noticed that since pleasing God is important to me now, other things that used to matter in the past are startlingly unimportant these days. said...

I laughed out loud when you said you kept a journal to not repeat your outfits! I remember when I was in high school, I had a bad day and went home and thought, “I must have had a bad day because my arms are too fat!” Haha. As if anyone but me even cared!

I’ve come to the conclusion that people don’t really care much about how we look. At least I don’t care about how others look--as far as how good they look. As a Christian, I want to see women flourish in their walk with God, so I would think more highly of a woman for her modest clothes than for her stylish clothes.

I especially never notice anyone’s nails unless they point them out to me. Probably because I’m not a nail person, though.

But I do notice and appreciate when someone is full of good works. And I love how the Bible says good works are appropriate for women who profess godliness: “Women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works” (1 Timothy 2:9-10).

And it is so true that we are influenced by the people in our lives. So some extent, our very character is a reflection of the people with whom we surround ourselves. So it’s a good reminder, like you said, that we chose our friends wisely.

P.S. I love the nail picture. I was wondering why you put a picture of your nails up when they don’t look so good. :) But I guess showing the world when they look bad is a good way to shoot down vanity.

Laura said...

Very well said Trish. I thought your nails looked like you just did them. Oh dear, I really am not a nail person I guess. Keep up the good work of encouragement to us all. Shalom

Fish with Trish said...

I'm laughing really hard right now, Laura. Too funny.

Jameka Williams said...

How did I miss this post? Well, I'm thankful for the encouragement. As I read your post, I was reminded of myself prior to being saved! Appearance was of upmost importance in my life. However, God has shown me the vanity upon vanities that held me prisoner to chasing a "look of perfection."
God bless you Trish

zilch said...

Well, I guess this is common ground. I've never had my nails done, and it wouldn't help, because as an instrumentmaker, they keep getting broken anyway.

I agree that appearance is not important: how you deal with others, and with yourself, is.

cheers from icy Vienna, zilch