On a recent school trip to Washington, DC, I visited the family-inherited plantation of General—and later President, George Washington. Washington had served the Continental Army of the United States of America well, and when the time came for the young and newly formed country to declare its independence from Great Britain and elect their first President, he was the natural choice. And when the time arrived for him to die, he informed his wife Martha he wanted to be buried on his beautiful Mount Vernon estate. She obeyed his wishes. I strolled down a lonesome path and observed the tombs where he, Martha, and other family members are buried. His remains are encased in a beautiful white shelter, but the outward beauty can’t change what’s on the inside: bones from which flesh has decayed and fallen away.
When the outside doesn’t match the inside, Jesus calls it hypocrisy. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity. (Matthew 23:27 NLT)
Hypocrisy comes in several forms. I can intentionally pretend to be something or someone I’m not, or I can act in certain ways in an attempt to impress God and others. Either way, my outside and inside are not coinciding. Sometimes, the hypocrisy even erupts because of the unintentional deception that comes with wrong messages offered by significant people in my life. The end result is a clean outside but a dead inside.
My actions are important, but they can only be honorable and acceptable to God when they erupt from a heart that’s in a right relationship with him. Accepting Christ as my Savior resurrects me to new life and makes my inside clean. Clean actions will then result. Ones that aren’t hypocritical. But when they are, I must open myself up to God’s inspection and confront my hypocrisy.
Do your outward actions mirror a clean inside?
Prayer: Renew in us a clean heart, Heavenly Father, so our outward actions will reflect the change in our hearts.
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