Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whitewashed sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. St Matthew 23:27-28
Sometime ago I found myself apartment hunting. I’d look at different places trying to find the one I really wanted. As I moved from address to address, the one thing I always noticed was how fresh the paint job was . (I don’t like the smell of fresh paint). Besides, I always thought – naively or otherwise – that the paint was intended to cover up something the potential landlord didn’t want me to see.
This paint cover up reminds me of how pretentious we can be. We have the ability to hide what we don’t want others to know. That doesn’t work with our God! People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart. 1 Sam 16:7. We can wash and clean and put up appearances as much as we want to. All the paint in the world cannot erase one mistake. He knows exactly what we’re trying to hide and He’s the only one who can get rid of our sinful stains.
Have you spent your resources on creating an image that’s not you? Have you been trying to fit into a shape that others have fashioned for you? Is it hard to let others see who you truly are? Are you constantly painting over your failures? Perhaps the ‘smell of your paint’ is pushing others away from you. Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. (Galatians 6:7) Once God accepts you, He loves and makes you new. There’s no point in trying to paint away your reality. Jesus loved us enough to die for us – we can be ourselves before Him. He receives us, washes us, cleanses us and gives us a brand new identity! Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17). Toss out your paint buckets and paint brushes. He will gladly receive you as you are!
Father … I’m thankful You see the inside as well as the outside. I’m thankful there is no place I can go to hide from You and there’s nothing in my life that You’re not already aware of. I can’t hide anything from You! I don’t always make the right choices but I’m thankful that You forgive, regardless. I pray that You will help me to walk in Your footsteps and not to beat myself up if I mess up but to seek You for cleansing. I want to be washed by You. I want to be cleansed by You. I can decorate the outside but the inside matters more to You. Create in me a clean heart, O God (Psalm 51:10). Let both the inside and the outside reflect You.
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