“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.” Matthew 23:25-26
Jesus had some harsh words for the religious leaders of his day…but first let me share with you a story. I love coffee…a lot! I also have my favorite cups that I like to use every day. It’s the daily routine. Every morning I wake up my children and get them ready for school. Then I shuffle to the kitchen and brew myself a nice hot cup of coffee. Most days my cup is clean but then there are days when my favorite cup was left in the car or in the sink…and it’s dirty. There is a dilemma that happens, do I wash it or just rinse it out. If I rinse it out I will know that the inside wasn’t clean…and I will be thinking about how it will affect the taste of my coffee as well as how it could affect my health to ingest bacteria from a dirty cup. I could drink from it, but I won’t.
I would imagine that you would do the same – wash the cup.
If you’re anything like me, you care about your health and you want to ensure you take care of yourself…and cleaning is one way to help prevent illness and all-round health issues.
Jesus addressed a very real spiritual health issue with these religious leaders.
He was harsh, but straight with them. They looked the part, but on the inside they were unclean. Instead of dealing with their spiritual dirt, they pretended everything was okay. They pretended to have it all together, but in their personal lives it was all falling apart. Have you been there? Have you at times pretended everything was okay, but deep inside you knew that there was dirt that needed removing? That’s the conviction of the Holy Spirit! He longs to cleanse us completely. Without this continual cleansing – a full surrender is impossible. We cannot run from this heart issue. We have to confront the dirt. Without confronting it, we will have this barrier between us and God. The cleansing which comes from getting rid of the dirt is freeing as well! Jesus went on to call these Pharisees “white washed tombs” – they looked good on the outside but on the inside they were dead inside. This is a scary commentary by Jesus. I hope and pray none of us receives this kind of appraisal of our spiritual lives. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be dead inside. I don’t want to pretend everything is “holy” on the outside but inside it is anything but holy.
Are you prepared to clean the inside of your cup?
Are there areas that still need cleansing in your life today?
It can be a barrier and without that cleansing a detriment to our faith journey.
So let’s confess to the Lord today and allow Him access (perhaps once again) to our hearts and hidden spaces of our lives that no one else sees.
Prayer: Dear Lord, cleanse me from the inside out. I want to be yours completely. Show me the places that require your cleansing. Cleanse my mind from all malice and unhealthy thought. Wash me clean and make me whiter than snow so that I can move past any barriers that keep me from full surrender. Lead me today Lord and show me your glory! In Your name I pray all of these things. Amen.