LOOK DEEPER THAN OUTWARD APPEARANCE
Everyone is familiar with the old adage “All that glitters is not gold.” This is just as true in the religious realm. There are those who can put on the outward garb of righteousness and appear very pious. This is not new. Jesus said to the Pharisees of his day, “Ye are like unto whited sepulchers, outwardly beautiful, but inwardly full of dead men’s bones.” (Matt. 23:27). Therefore, you cannot judge one by the outward appearance.
We need to examine ourselves regularly. It will do us little good to merely appear righteous outwardly; we need to look inwardly. Prov.23:7 says, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” It is not so important what the outward appearance is; it is the heart that is important.
We must also be careful whom we follow. False prophets are not going to say, “Come, follow me, I’m a false prophet.” They will come clothed in righteous garb. They are able to quote scripture, but are masters at perverting it to make it appear to teach their own opinions. How can we tell if one is a false prophet or is teaching the truth? The only way is to put him to the Bible test. Some are constrained to follow a man because of his personality. People are heard to say, “He must be right. He is so sincere, and he is such a good person.” While these are admirable characteristics, they alone do not determine what is truth. Truth will conform to what the Bible teaches. Jesus said, “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” (Jno.8:32).
Also, how can we tell if one is only making a pretense at living the Christian life? There are those who can put on their Sunday best, including their best manners, and appear very righteous. But, the only way to know if one is living the Christian life is to compare his life with God’s teachings.
The Bible says, “By their fruits ye shall know them” (Matt. ).