It's sure a pretty cup in the picture, well except for those stains
inside, and the dregs in the bottom that I have tried to hide from you. It's still pretty on the outside though,
isn't it? The cup is a favorite gift
that I received from my daughter one year.
Hand-painted from Poland, the artwork and the richness of the color,
well, I just love it! It makes me smile
in the morning when I reach in the cupboard to grab it for my morning tea.
But when I finish my tasty drink there's always this ugly residue that
stains the inside and although the outside remains as beautiful and ornate as
ever, the inside doesn't look pleasant at all.
Now, it most certainly would be silly to only try to wash the outside
and stick it back in the cupboard, for even though the outside would look good,
if I wanted to use it again I would surely have to do something about the mess
that is still stuck on the inside.
Regardless of the beauty on the outside there's no way it will be fit
for use if I leave the dregs and stains on the inside.
You know, Jesus said some incredibly interesting words while He walked
this earth. He always spoke right to the
heart of a matter. At times He even
addressed some with extremely strong words.
In Matthew 23 we find just those kind of harsh words about a group of
men whom He called "hypocrites".
It's a word often used in connection with Christians. What does it mean to be a hypocrite? Let's look.
Hypocrite: 1 : a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or
2 : a person who acts in
contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings.
Simple Definition: a person who claims or pretends to have certain
beliefs about what is right but who behaves in a way that disagrees with those
beliefs. (Merriam Webster
In speaking to the crowds, and to His disciples, Jesus broaches the
subject of those who are saying one thing and doing the opposite. He has instructions for both those who are
speaking, and for those who are listening.
We would do well to listen to His words.
The scribes and the Pharisees that Jesus was referring to were the leaders over the people of
it's intriguing to me that even though Jesus lays into them in the rest of the
chapter, He tells His followers that these are the men in authority and they
are to obey what they are told by them, then He follows it up with a warning to
not do what they are doing!
The saying, "Do as I say and not as I do" must have been
around a very long time, because that's just what Jesus is telling the people.
Do as the Pharisees say, but don't do as they do.
Jesus points out that these ones in authority "say things and do not do them." (v. 3) They are living out the very definition of
being hypocritical. They, instead, "do all their deeds to be noticed by
men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels"
(v. 5). These men were far from humble,
drawing attention to their religious standing and self importance, they forgot
that the important thing was what was on the inside not their outer garments. Jesus
is well aware that they needed to be washed thoroughly!
What about us? We should
probably check our insides often, and see if there's any cleaning that we need to take
place. It's as easy as asking God
to reveal any areas where you are being hypocritical. Sure, we may look pretty on the outside. Others
may only see our pretty pattern, the color we show them, but we (and God) know
what is truly on the inside, don't we?
We know when our mouth says one thing and our behavior does the
opposite. We know when we put on
"religion" while we are actually not in fellowship, following the Holy
Spirit. Yes, we know what it means to be
Like the scribes and Pharisees we need to "clean the inside of the cup so that the outside may become clean
Let's just think about ways we might be hypocritical to who we are in
Christ. As believers, we have the ability to love every person, yet we
don't. When we don't love those around
us we are acting contradictory to the Spirit within us because He is love.
Every one of us have the ability to trust God in every circumstance
because He has never, nor ever will, fail us.
But we don't, do we? 'Fess up. We question, we fret and worry rather
than trust Him.
Every one of us have the opportunity to be overcomers, for in Christ we
are! But instead we walk around in
defeat. Dear one, that is hypocritical
to who we are in Him. When we live any
other way than in the victory we have in Jesus Christ, when we live under our
own power rather than the power of the Spirit of God within us, when we try to
put up a good front of religion with God and forsake our relationship with Him
as our Heavenly Father, we are hypocrites!
The only solution is to be washed thoroughly. Cleansed, inside and out. And God is just the One to do that.
King David wrote in Psalm 51 -
gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness,
to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions.
me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin."
Won't you allow Him to wash you right now? He is even able to wash away those thoughts
that are condemning, judgmental, ungodly.
He is able to wash the dregs of addiction, whether that's to self ego,
food, alcohol, pornography, whatever it is that you hide from the rest of the
world but are unable to hide from the omniscient One who sees all and knows
Dear One, today, right now, ask for His cleansing. He is here. At the first hint of repentance His
Spirit scrubs us clean and washes us 'whiter than snow' as the Psalm
continues. He alone is able to match up
our walk to the truth of who we are in Christ. All we need to do is ask.
alone are able to scrub us bare. To
remove every stain and the dregs of sin that we have carried. Don't let us put on as if we are clean inside
and out if there is sin remaining. Don't
let us in any way look religious and yet hide the wretched stuff that keeps us
from walking with You in honesty and truth.
Thank You for Your mercy that brought Your Son to the earth so that we
could have relationship with You. Help
us to walk in the truth of who we are in Christ. Help us to be washed thoroughly and not hang
on to any of the last vestiges of the sin of this world. May we only desire YOU! May we be washed so that we are useful for
Your purpose. Praise You Lord God.
Read Matthew 23
Don't forget 1 John 1:9