In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness. —Matthew 23:28

Who are you? Not what you are on the outside— the things you do and say, but who…are…you? How do you think? What do you think about? What are you wrestling with? How do you think about yourself? About others? About God? Who you really are is on the inside, the place that only you know about, the place that God sees and knows better than you know yourself.

The verse above in context is when Jesus challenged the scribes and Pharisees on this issue. They did all kinds of deeds for men to see, but Jesus knew who they were. He said they were “full of greed and self-indulgence (Matthew 23:25). They “outwardly appear righteous to others, but within (they were) full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” They were totally different on the inside from what they were portraying on the outside. That is hypocrisy and reveals a life-style— Jesus said they “on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness” (Matthew 23:27-28). They “were dead in (their) transgressions and sins” (Ephesians 2:1), “gratifying the cravings of (their) flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, (they) were by nature deserving of wrath” (Ephesians 2:4).

There should be a consistency in my life as a follower of Jesus. Who I am on the outside should also be who I am on the inside. Ok, none of us will be fully on the outside who we are on the inside. I mean, is it not true that “the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want?” (Galatians 5:17). It is a constant discipline to follow the Lord with moment by moment decisions and actions. As we yield and “walk by the Spirit… (we) will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16). As we walk through today may we yield to His Holy Spirit and not to the flesh. May it be so…

I am so grateful for I Corinthians 6:11’s truth— “And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” and Romans 8:30 adds “glorified.” For those who have called on the Name of Jesus they are washed— all sin is gone, sanctified— made holy and pure for special purpose, justified— Jesus paid our debt and gives us His righteousness (II Corinthians 5:21), glorified— an exalted destiny and position, and this is all because of Jesus and His finished work on the cross and our acceptance of that finished work! Rejoice!

Dear Father, I will be so glad to be with Jesus in glory where I will never have a bad thought or action, but until then may I faithfully follow Jesus in the power of Your Holy Spirit. May it be so!

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