The guy across the street repainted the fence around his house.
The old wood was splintered and needed to be sanded down and some of the pieces replaced.
But, he just applied putty and new paint. The fence looked new; but in time, the decay again came to the surface.
In Matthew 23:27-28, Jesus talked about the difference between “repainting” and removing the decay. The tombs that Jesus spoke of were whitewashed regularly and always looked fresh and clean to the people walking by. However, no matter how many times the tombs were painted, they were still tombs filled with dead bones.
As a Christian, it can seem easier to clean up the outside than allow the Holy Spirit to do His redeeming work on the inside. I put my ‘happy face’ on and go to church. I sing the praise songs and look all shiny new. But, on the inside, I still harbor bitterness, jealousy and anger. My attitudes and worldly ambitions haven’t changed.
When Jesus came into my life, it wasn’t just to make me ‘look good’ on the outside. It is His desire to change me from the inside out so that whether rich or poor, I live the abundant life. (I John 10:10)
God is far more interested in having a relationship with me than He is in how I ‘look’ to the people at church. (I Samuel 16:7) The purpose of asking Jesus into my heart is so that He can forgive me of my sins so I can have relationship with Him.
A part of that relationship is showing me how to realign my priorities and attitudes so those sins that tormented me and separated me from His love and mercy no longer have a place in my heart. (Philippians 4:8-9)
In order to bring about that inward change; God sends His Holy Spirit to first, convict me of sin (John 16:7-11), then, to show me how to live to please Him (Galatians 5: 16).
It’s important for me to remember that God does not make me do anything; nor does God’s Word force me to change! Bible study, prayer and going to church give me the tools for change, but I must do the things necessary to change my attitudes, friendships, goals and priorities.
James 1:23-25 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
Prayer: Father, help me to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and be quick to repent of wrong doing. Give me a heart for Jesus and help me to live a life of commitment and love. Amen.
Matthew 23:27-28 Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.
I John 10:10 Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.
I Samuel 16:7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.
Philippians 4:8-9 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
John 16:7-11 But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.
Galatians 5: 16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.