GAME DAY Youth Sports Magazine — Upstate SC - February 2012
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” [Matthew 23:25-28]
My wife and I just recently relocated to Charlotte, north Carolina in response to the burden that the lord placed on our hearts to step into the founding stages of FCA college ministry here. Through months of seeking the Lord and searching for somewhere to live, He provided the perfect place for us that we now call home. Buying a house is one of the more complicated processes that I have been involved with in recent years; I have no desire to do it again anytime soon. Through our prolonged search, however, the Lord reminded me of the intense passage above that Jesus so boldly proclaimed.
Prior to signing on the dotted line to officially close on the house where we currently reside, we were in multiple contracts on other homes in the area. During our house exploration, we found many that we liked, but even more that we didn’t like. I believe that one of the key elements the lord used to prevent us from moving into the wrong place was something called an inspection report. It is basically an assessment done by a professional who comes out and evaluates the true condition and quality of the property and then relays the information back to the potential buyer. It costs a few extra dollars up front, but it informs you of details that might have otherwise gone unnoticed.
From first glance and an initial walk through by Brittney and I, there was one house in particular that completely captured our affection; we were ready to move in as soon as possible. Nothing seemed wrong, out of place, or broken. It had more space than any house we looked at, the neighborhood was pleasant, the location was ideal, the price was more than attainable, and it appeared to be the place of our future residency, but the inspection report showed us another story. When we received the final word on its examination, our hearts sank. As we reviewed the indepth documentation done by the inspector, we realized we were days away from buying a nightmare of a home.
A thought occurred to me: If the lord was to do an inspection report on our lives and of our heart, what would it reveal? Is what people can see on the outside a reflection of what Jesus sees on the inside? The Pharisees He was rebuking in the above Scripture had an external appearance that seemed righteous, but their internal state was full of hypocrisy. They were ceremonially clean on the outside, but internally their hearts were full of corruption. The book of First Samuel says that man looks at the outward appearance, but the lord looks at the heart. In Proverbs 3:1 we are told to let our hearts keep His commandments. outward application means nothing without inward devotion and dedication.
I recently heard a man say, “If you want to look at your eternal destination, it’s not your outward obedience, it’s the obedience of the heart.” God’s Word says His power is made perfect in our weakness, we can do all things through Him who strengthens us, and we are able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to His power that is at work within us. It is only through Christ are we capable of living a life of obedience and authenticity that honors Him from the inside-out.
“The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is completely His.” [2 Chronicles 16:9]