A Book’s Cover

by Joanna Pierce on January 24, 2018

You know how people say never to judge a book by its cover?

Well, I hate to admit it, but I do. When I’m rummaging around a used bookstore or racks at a conference, the moment I lay eyes on a book I know instinctively if it’s good or bad. I’m not a book snob or anything—I just know what I’m looking for.

A book doesn’t have to be new and sparkly to attract my attention or desire. Some of my favorite books have been hunted out of a large pile, and have cracked spines, frayed covers, pages falling out, and they look worn (to say the least). My judgment upon those books has been the mark of a good read—they’re worn out because someone else wore it out from reading it so many times.

But, I also love unique or whimsical book covers. There’s not a lot of judgment that surfaces here. Who wouldn’t want that book sitting on their shelf? If anything, they become great conversation pieces or fun décor. And, then I have reverse-judgment on some books: if the book doesn’t look promising, I expect it to be promising, and I await it to prove me wrong.

But, while I’m on the confession docket, I’ll note that I do this with people too. It’s a struggle and I repent for it often. I look at the outside of a person (their cover) and assume what their story will be.

Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men (II Corinthians 3:2, KJV).

Not to give myself any excuse, but this is why Scripture tells us to watch what we do and look like on the outside. We’ve got to watch our covers because people judge us just like books.

Our lives are an open book to anyone who chooses (or doesn’t choose) to read them. If our lives portray Jesus, we will be the Living Word in someone’s life. But, if we live opposite of Christ, people won’t want to read our story because of our sin-stained cover. They might disregard us as having a “not-so-interesting” life story. They’ll judge us hard.

God reminds me daily that our covers today don’t necessarily reflect what we’ll be in the future. We’re all at a point in our journey with Christ and improving every day. But, my cover can reflect just that—I’m not who I should be in Christ today, but I’m on my journey to be more like Him tomorrow. And, others can see that truth when they look at my cover. I can draw them in an instant because of it! Judgment adverted!

Our covers don’t need to be flashy, or the most expensive to be a good book for someone to read. We can be exactly who we are, the way God designed each of us—plain or crazy-looking—and still reach a life by living His. We can bring the Gospel of Jesus everywhere we go, and be an open book to be read by all.

In truth, if we work to decrease so He can increase in our lives, people won’t even see our cover. They’ll just see Him, read the story, and have their lives changed in the end. And, that’s all that matters when we stand before God in eternity and are judged by what our cover really looks like.