Have you ever discovered that you’ve put your t-shirt on inside-out? It’s not usually the most elegant fashion statement.
But, as an elegant solution for change? The inside-out approach is absolutely the best! The Bible talks frequently about “inside-out” change, as opposed to “outside-in” change. And there are some very good reasons for that.
Jesus points out that one of those reasons is that the outside-in approach leads to hypocrisy. That was the case with the Pharisees. Everything seemed fine on the outside, but the inside was still very unclean and corrupt. Greed and self-indulgence ruled their hearts. And so Jesus called them on their spiritual blindness and told them to get their priorities straight.
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean” (Matthew 23:25-26, NIV).
Jesus teaches us that when we start with the inside (the mind, the heart), the outside (the hands, the feet, the tongue, the ears and the eyes) will follow suit.
So, how do I clean the inside? How do I bring about change in my mind and heart?
The answer is, “I don’t!”
But Jesus does. When his love, grace, and mercy are poured into our hearts, Jesus cleans the “inside” for us. His blood-bought forgiveness is the only “cleansing agent” that truly works to radically alter our minds and hearts.
When Jesus’ grace lives in your heart, Jesus’ strength resides in your hands.
Lord, thank you for changing and re-making me into a new person. With your grace and forgiveness, you purified my mind and heart. Now give me your Spirit that I may be made new all the way to tips of my hands and feet.
Our Bible reading for Wednesday, February 4, is Job 33:1 – 34:37, Matthew 23:1-39 and Psalm 18:25-36.
Header image based on "heart is in my hands" by Laine, CC by 2.0