I hate doing dishes. Any by hate doing dishes, what I really mean is that all housework feels horrific to me and I’d rather chew my nails down to stubs than do clean my house. (Don’t ask my husband. I don’t want him to have to hurt my feelings by acknowledging this sad fact!)
Now, there are fewer people eating in my house as my children grow up and move out, but it feels like there are just as many dishes as there ever have been. I’m going to chalk it up to me deciding to be a gourmet cook and the necessity of needing 32 bowls to make macaroni and cheese. There are dishes everywhere! And as I was scrubbing out the inside of a bowl yesterday, my mind went to Matthew 23.
Jesus was among a crowd of people that included not only the average townspeople but also Pharisees and the disciples. Jesus spoke of the Pharisees, essentially stating that they do not practice what they preach. He went on to give Eight Woes, one of which is in verse 25 and 26.
“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 also be clean.”
Yikes! The Pharisees were a group of Jewish men who were typically well versed and knowledgeable in the legal traditions and laws of the Jews. They were constantly reminding people of the correct ways to worship, how to tithe, and how certain rituals and festivals were correctly completed. They were considered scholars in Jewish law.
Jesus wasn’t very fond of them by all accounts because of the hypocrisy in not only their lives but in the worship of the Father. They were often known to ignore their own sins but to willingly point out everyone else’s.
In these verses, Jesus was telling them how they made themselves look pure, clean, and just on the outside so that people could SEE their righteousness. They appeared polished and pristine. But their inside…what a mess! Sins of pride, ego, arrogance soiled them and perverted the process of sanctification. There was nothing clean about them. By not truly surrendering to God, repenting, and cleaning up their minds and their hearts, they made their outside actions futile, unworthy of praise. I would even offer up that because of this, they could’ve easily caused an unbeliever to continue in their unbelief or perhaps a new/seasoned Christian to stumble. They were doing for themselves and not for the Creator of this world!
The question for us then becomes, how does we relate to this? I’m so glad you asked! Our outward actions and life should reflect the inner surrendering of self to God. When we have fully surrendered and accepted the free gift of salvation, we should then be striving for daily sanctification. Our eyes should never leave Him. Our inner thoughts of devotion to the Father should match the outward devotion to Him. This, in turn, allows friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, strangers, ANYONE to see Christ shining through us!
Friends! Let’s clean the inside as much as we try to clean the outside! Let our prayer be that we keep the inside and the outside clean, solely focused on His perfect will in all aspects of our lives.