Friday, January 25, 2013

From the Inside Out

There’s a Christian swear word that most of us would like to avoid being called.  Are you ready for it?  It’s this…Pharisee.

It’s pretty clear in the gospels what Jesus thought about Pharisees.  So I would guess that none of us would want to be seen as one.

But what makes someone a Pharisee?  Is it the believer who focuses on religion, dismissing the need for relationship?  Is it someone who follows a checklist of dos and don’ts?  Is it a law follower?

Well something struck me one day when I was reading Matthew 23:26, “Blind Pharisee!  First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.”

No, Jesus wasn’t given a lesson on the proper way to wash dishes.  He was talking about the inward and outward behaviors and attitudes. 

In other words, instead of trying to focus on the outside, what we do and how we look to others…we need to be more concerned about the inside, our heart.  This has become my “theme” for the year 2013.

I’m not one to jump on the bandwagon but I have sought the Lord for a word, phrase or theme to live by every New Year.  In 2012 the word He clearly gave me was intentional.

This year he led me to a theme, allowing Him to work from the inside out.  You see, there have been behaviors that I’ve tried to change.  Yet the inward stuff wasn’t getting dealt with and so that has been the reason for the lack of progress.

He began to show me that nothing on the outside can change unless the inside is addressed first.  Somehow I have a feeling this isn’t going to be fun.  But it is necessary.

Maybe you can relate…trying to change outward behaviors without asking the Lord to deal with the inner workings of our heart.  If we truly want the outside of our “cups” to be clean, then we need to allow for a cleansing what’s within.

Photo above by jessicafm in Flickr

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