Today's Northern Ireland news has featured the fact that Parliament Buildings in Stormont will host the Miss Ulster beauty pageant at the weekend. The news has caused significant debate, particularly because of the entry requirements for the competition. The news that entrants must be aged 18 - 24, be at least 5ft 7ins tall and must be between a size eight and twelve has caused two of the judges to withdraw from the event, stating that they had been unaware of these restrictions. It is not our intention to comment of the rights or wrong of such an event, but simply to use it to as an illustration of an important truth; how will be be judged when we meet God?
1st Samuel 16:7 says that 'man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart'. Whilst the Miss Ulster competition will be concerned mainly with the outward appearance, it is our spiritual condition that will be important when we stand before God on the great day of judgement. Your size, age and looks will matter not, nor will many or those things which people often rely on for acceptance with God. The church you have attended, your baptism, your membership of various religious institutions will count for nothing. You will not be asked about your contribution to the social needs of society, nor how much you have given to charity, nor the list of good works you have done. The only question which will matter on that day is what have you done with Jesus which is called Christ. Social standing, wealth and popularity will mean nothing.
Perhaps you look like a Christian, you act like a Christian and you talk like a Christian. If lined up alongside other people you would be picked out as the one who must be a Christian. You would win the contest. But have you ever been born again? If not then you are disqualified and when you stand before God you will hear those awful words 'I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity'. You have the perfect outward appearance, yet inwardly it is a different matter. Perhaps it is now time to concern yourself with the soul which will live forever rather than the body which will die and corrupt in the grave. 'Seek ye first the kingdom of God'.