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Keeping Up Appearances

We see how other people’s lives look on the outside and feel like we don’t measure up. We compare, and without even realizing it, we sow seeds of bitterness and envy in our hearts. James tells us this bitterness and envy can lead to false boasting. Our earthly wisdom, which James calls “devilish” (James 3:15), tells us keeping up appearances is the only way to convince others we are wise. We believe we must be fake in order to be accepted.  

The truth is Jesus accepts us as we are. We don’t have to keep up appearances to receive His love. When we realize this, we are free to be genuine and honest with others. This is humility. When we lay aside our prideful comparisons and look to Jesus — when we stop faking it — we are living a wise and humble life.

Humility is a better testimony of our faith than any boasting we could do. When our words and actions match up, people us will notice. James 3:17 says, “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” These qualities become evident in our lives when we fix our eyes on Jesus. We don’t have to boast, and we don’t have to keep up appearances.  


  • In what areas of your life do you feel like you are keeping up appearances?  
  • What do you need to do today to lay aside your pride and walk in humility?

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