What is the testimony of a culture that finds plastic surgery newsworthy? What is the testimony of a culture where violent teenage killers come from affluent suburbs, where lawns are perfectly manicured and each car has a perfect shine?
We know an outer sparkle isn’t always an honest reflection of what’s inside. Moldy bread is a signal that it is spoiled and it needs to be thrown out. But how many of us know that days before the mold forms, it is already laced with mold on the inside? Eating bread then is just as dangerous as when the mold is visible. The testimony of our culture may be that it was poisoned on the inside long before we saw the result.
Jesus knew that people and cultures looking good on the outside did not always mean that they were healthy on the inside. He pointed out His disgust for such hypocrisy: “Woe to you … (who) clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside are full of greed and self indulgence… First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside will also be clean” (Matthew 23:25-27). He called the Pharisees “whitewashed tombs,” fine-looking on the exterior but inwardly full of death and decay.
What are our cleaning techniques? Have we cleaned our outsides, but let our inward selves, our souls, remain dirty and stained? For us to truly become Christ followers, we can’t rely on outward conformity. That will only produce “whitewashed tombs.”
- Read and pray David’s prayer and Psalm 51.
- Focus on the “inside of the cup” this week. Rather than centering on those actions that fall short of the Father’s holiness, meditate on the heart condition that precedes those actions.
Thank you, Jesus, for such surprising grace and favor! I humbly ask for more grace as I seek to let my heart be cleaned. Send your streams of living water to flow through me. Give me patience as your work continues in my life!
RELEVANT’s “Deeper Walk” daily devotionals are presented by the LUMO Project, a visual translation of the four Gospels developed to engage people with scripture in a new way. You can watch the videos—which redefine the standard of visual biblical media—on YouTube, and find out more about LUMO’s mission at their website.