Friday, July 27, 2012

July 27 - Outside and Inside

Today's Reading:
Daniel 1:1-2:23
Matthew 23:13-39
Proverbs 19:13-22

Click on Text Link to Read Online

Focus Verses:
Matthew 23:27-28  
27 "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 dead men's bones and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness."

In reading this text, it's easy to stand on the sidelines and watch with smug satisfaction as Jesus comes down hard on the teachers and Pharisees. We might even catch ourselves chiming in, "Yeah, take that you hypocrites!" Of course, the minute we do, we betray our own duplicity.

It's easy to read Scripture and apply it to others before applying it to ourselves. How quick we are to see the sins of others, but blind the same failings in ourselves! Jesus condemned the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, and all the more because they refused to recognize it. What should we expect Jesus say to us when we refuse to see our own sin and pretense?

Response & Action:
I need to identify and acknowledge the ways I am a hypocrite. I do not want to say one thing, but do another. I want to be honest, real, and consistent. I do not want to present myself as better than I am. I want to be more concerned about what I truly am on the inside than how I appear to others. I care more about what I am before God than what others think about me.

O God, have mercy on me, a sinner. You see all my hidden faults and know all my secret sins. I've got a long way to go in my pursuit of holiness. Thank you for loving me where I am and giving me the grace and guidance to rise above my weakness and failure. Help me to live with humility before you and before the people around me. Help me to love you with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. Grant me integrity that my life might be a proof, not a pretense, of my devotion to you. Amen.

Spiritual Formation Verses: Proverbs 11:3
3 The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.

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