Keeping up Appearances was a comedy series that ran in the UK in the early 90’s. Hyacinth Bucket (or Bouquet as she insisted on) and her long-suffering husband Richard were the central characters. Every story was about Hyacinth trying to appear to be a snob and failing all the time. I loved it and still enjoy any repeats that get shown.
The truth is appearances can be deceiving.
It is possible to look at someone and think they have no problems whatsoever. You can be a friend of someone for many years and not know that behind the scenes they are breaking apart.
I know a man who has spent his whole life trying to fit the mould of other people’s expectations. The pressure-cooker is too much for him.
One of the problems we face is a desire to fit into other people’s norms. Whether that be marriage, having children, having a house, having a good job, being the right shape etc. There are many who strive to tick these boxes. If it’s not to fit in it is so people don’t pity them anymore which is still a form of conforming to other’s standards.
Then if we throw in some religious rules and regulations it all just becomes too much.
The Apostle is tackling the Colossian challenge of forgetting that Christ is enough.
The Message says, “Such things sound impressive if said in a deep enough voice. They even give the illusion of being pious and humble and ascetic. But they’re just another way of showing off, making yourselves look important.” (Colossians 2 v 23)
Who do you want to be? Someone else or what others want you to be or the very best version of who Christ loves?
If you fall into keeping up appearances then:
- You will lack joy. There will be nothing left but an ache in your heart because you are not ‘home’.
- You will be afraid of failure. You will tip-toe around your relationships lest they are upset with you.
- You will work hard to be someone you already are.
- You will always come up short. When criticised you will agree and work harder and be better but you know you will never be good enough.
- You know God loves you but are unsure whether He likes you. Similarly you know people like you but you are unsure whether they love you.
If you serve the legalist:
- They never look in the mirror. There is no self-awareness. They never apologise.
- They look at others through a magnifying glass. They pick on the small things of your life for improvement and it makes them feel better than they really are.
The key is this: what has an appearance doesn’t mean it has any value.
Look to Christ and Him alone.