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Image by Milad Fakurian
  • Writer's pictureFirst Christian Church of Chicago

Style Over Substance

When I moved to Chicago nearly 30 years ago it did not take long to observe the grip that image had on a large number of urban residents. Style was among the greatest values of many. You were nothing, a nobody, if you didn't look good.

So the investments were poured into $200 jeans. $250/pair Jordan's were snatched up (sometimes literally). Cars with style were purchased or modified. My eldest son would daily press all of his clothes, including t-shirts and jeans. You had to look good above anything else.

However, this glorying in style was only surface deep. The glory was only in the clothing, jewelry, cars, etc. It was never substance. It marked a vacant soul envious of approval.

When we place our identity in externals, like the women of Jerusalem at the end of Isaiah 3, we will eventually find ourselves mourning -- sitting in the dirt (to borrow the Hebrew idiom of Isaiah 3:26) -- humiliated.

Why because externals don't have lasting value. Cars rust. Bodies age. Clothes wear out. Jewelry tarnished.

Placing the pride of your identity in the things that thieves can steal, moths and rust destroy, or simply wear out or breakdown in the end is not place to begin. Trusting image never lasts.

There is one in whom you can trust who can transform you into his image. His much deeper than pride in externals. It is a glory that doesn't fade, tear rust or corrode. It will never leave you humiliated -- mourning in the dust.

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