“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also.
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”
– Matthew 23:25-28 (Jesus speaking)
We have read before in one of these daily devotionals:
…you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.
– Matthew 1:21
How is Jesus going to do this? In the broadest sense, Jesus does this by re-making heaven and earth such that everyone goes to heaven. More specifically and individually, however, He does this by cleaning us up.
To be free of our sins, we need to be cleansed of them. That is, we need to get them out of our lives. The past is the past, and Jesus’ forgiveness covers that…but I am talking about the present. How does Jesus save us from our sins today?
We need to be cleansed from the inside out. Jesus’ warning to the Pharisees reflects the all-too-common reality that many people repent by removing the sins that other people can observe but do nothing to purify their thoughts and motives.
Jesus desires to re-make us from the inside out – not the other way around. When you seek Jesus each morning it should be with the understanding that He’s paying attention to everything you think. He’s even aware of motives you have which are below your own conscious awareness. It is in these areas that He wants to deal with you. In fact, if you won’t deal with Him at this level you’re effectively denying Him access to the control center of your life.
The Pharisees would only dress up the parts of their lives that other people could see…because it was people, not God, they were trying to impress.
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Lord, let’s talk about the things that I don’t talk about with anyone…and probably things I’ve not even been willing to admit to myself. Cleanse the deepest parts of my heart…(this is where you remain quiet to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.
(All scriptures, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the NASB.)