Seek Internal and External Holiness
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup so that the outside also may become clean…. For you are like whitewashed tombs, which on the outside look beautiful, but insides they are full of the bones of the dead and of all kinds of filth. So you also on the outside look righteous to others, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” Matthew 23:25–28 (esv)
Sometimes I feel like a dirty cup, like my favorite white one I use for tea. It looks pretty on the shelf, shiny and bright, but if I peer inside it is blackened and unsightly with dark stains where others cannot see.
I work hard to make people think well of me, but how hard do I work to please the Lord? There are two kinds of holiness—external holiness and internal holiness. The pharisees were concerned with external holiness— the impression they gave to others, how righteous and pious they could appear to be yet they didn’t take care of the condition of their insides, their internal holiness.
I do that sometimes. I make sure everyone thinks I’m kind and giving, honest and true yet what’s going on in my mind, I’d never want to reveal to the world—pettiness, envy, crabbiness, ingratitude. I don’t want to be a hypocrite—I’m done with being stained and nasty. Jesus’ grace cleans me up, forgives me, washes me that I might be unsoiled again. Only by Jesus’ grace and forgiveness can we change the condition of our cups. Praise Jesus for the gift of salvation.
FAITH STEP: What is dirtying your “cup” right now? What is tarnishing your internal holiness? Is there something in your life that you need to take care of? Search yourself, answer the question and ask God for help to put to rest what is holding you back.
Written by Judy Baer
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