We all know that person that is just going through the motions. We look at them, and we are like, “That person is so fake.” We see them doing one thing, and then as soon as they are with another crowd, they are doing and saying something else. It seems as if all they do is make sure the outside looks good. We can easily spot hypocrisy in other, but do we ever look for it in ourselves?
Jesus spoke harshly toward those who acted as hypocrites. In Matthew 23:25 he says, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. ” In this verse Jesus is using an object lesson of dinnerware. He is simply saying that if you clean the outside of yourself, without cleaning the inside, you are still defiled. Just like if you clean the outside of a cup, it is still filthy. When a person washes containers, they care about the inside just as much as the outside, if not more. To those who focus on the outward appearance, he gives a very specific charge.
“Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also,” Matthew 23:26. In short, Christ is instructing these people to cleanse their hearts. He says that if they cleanse their heart, their appearance will be clean also. The pharisees had been so focused on outward rituals that they never truly cleansed themselves. They were so focused on washing their hands and going through ceremonial cleansings, that they had never invited God to truly cleanse them through and through. Only when a person has God cleanse their innermost being, are they truly clean.
So how about you? Are focused on the outside? Do you spend your time going to church, talking the Christian talk and walking the Christian walk. There is nothing wrong with any of that. But it must never be our main focus. We must put our focus on God’s power to cleanse us. We must desire His washing. God must cleanse our hearts. I would like to encourage you, if you have found that you are simply going through the motions, go to God. If you are simply going to church or doing devotionals or following commands, but you don’t have a real personal relationship with Him, go to Him. Only when you have a come to Him desiring to be cleansed, can He truly cleanse you. Ask Him to change your heart. Ask Him to change you and make His.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” – Psalm 51:10