Clean the Inside of the Cup

“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 will also be clean.” – (Matthew 23:25-26, NIV)

“It will be bad for you teachers of the law and you Pharisees! You are hypocrites! You wash clean the outside of your cups and dishes. But inside they are full of what you got by cheating others and pleasing yourselves. Pharisees, you are blind! First make the inside of the cup clean and good. Then the outside of the cup will also be clean.” – (Matthew 23:25-26, ERV)

“You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You burnish the surface of your cups and bowls so they sparkle in the sun, while the insides are maggoty with your greed and gluttony. Stupid Pharisee! Scour the insides, and then the gleaming surface will mean something.” – (Matthew 23:25-26, MSG)

 

On the Tuesday of Holy Week, Jesus began His day, departing Bethany with the disciples. As they were leaving, they passed by the fig tree He had cursed, only to discover it had completely withered. That point of passage began a day filled with teaching, as Jesus started with a lesson on faith. He further taught several parables and answered important questions as people gathered in the temple to hear. The Pharisees, up to their usual attempt at trapping Jesus in some sort of misstep for which they could arrest Him, began a barrage of questions as well. After Jesus brilliantly answered, and completely silenced the scholars with His wisdom, He began a list of woes to them for the practices that they were participating in. One that stood out to me as particularly poignant, and one to ponder personally, is that which is found in the above listed verses from Matthew 23. What does it mean to clean the outside of the cup, but neglect cleaning the inside? To me, it seems He was using the image as an illustration of the heart versus how things appear. We must attend to the motives, desires and purposes within us to be considered clean. For if we seek the Lord and allow Him room to purify our hearts and cleanse us from within, the outside reflects the beauty on the inside. It does not work in reverse. I imagine we have all met or known someone who at first, appeared quite appealing. However, once the heart was made known, the ugly insides tainted the perspective on the outside. Jesus cares about the condition of our heart. Yes, wash your hands, for at least twenty seconds please, but really, it is what flows out of us that impacts those around us, not the package that holds our hearts. My take away today is to seek the Lord and ask Him to show me what filth within me still needs cleansing. We all have spots that get missed, or manage to lie hidden out of plain sight. Jesus is gentle and kind when we choose to seek Him with the hope of being cleansed to more clearly reflect His heart to the world. Lord, cleanse us from the inside out, so that Your love may be made abundantly clear, and no good thing withheld from those in need.

 

Lord, come and show us, Clean the Inside of the Cup

Where we need be cleansed;

Point out the places,

Help us make amends.

Places we’re selfish,

Greedy or unkind;

Over-indulgent,

Show us what You find.

By Your loving grace,

Show us how to change;

Be cleansed from within,

So Your love may reign.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us the way to be cleansed from the inside out. Thank You that not only did You clean the temple, but You are willing to clean the hollows of our heart. Forgive us for the times that we have worried more about “appearances” than being cleansed on the inside. Teach us to fix our eyes and heart on You and what You ask of us. Show us how to love selflessly, without greed, gluttony or reservation. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us the ways to wash ourselves within, so that we may shine bright, reflecting Your love to all whom we encounter. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your unfailing love; according to Your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. – Psalm 51:1-2

 

 

Radically Rooted

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. – (Galatians 5:22-23, NIV)

But the fruit that the Spirit produces in a person’s life is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these kinds of things. – (Galatians 5:22-23, ERV)

But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions: joy that overflows, peace that subdues, patience that endures, kindness in action, a life full of virtue, faith that prevails, gentleness of heart, and strength of spirit. Never set the law above these qualities, for they are meant to be limitless. – (Galatians 5:22-23, TPT)

 

Yesterday’s message at church was about living a “radical” life for Christ. Pastor Omar did not just present that term and continue forward, as if everyone had a shared understanding of the word and the way in which he intended its use, but rather he unpacked its Latin origin and the intent of what he was conveying. Radical, from its Latin origin, means to be rooted in. As people who are seeking to follow after Christ and do His will, it is critical that we are rooted in Him, in order to do His will and walk in His way. We are only able to walk forward in a willingness to experience discomfort when we know who we are in Christ, and who He is to us. As we surrender to Christ and continue to allow Him room to challenge and grow us, we begin to bear His fruit that lasts. The fruit that makes a heart after His known, is the very fruit that Galatians 5:22-23 unpacks. May we ever seek to deepen our roots and nurture our relationship with the Father, so that our lives may readily extend love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control towards all whom we encounter.

When I called to talk to mom yesterday, I was greeted by the voice of my eldest nephew. It was a treat to catch up with him, and know that the family was all enjoying time together with mom. Mom and the family had just returned from church for the second week in a row, and I know that the opportunity to do so, creates a bit more normalcy for her. In the evening, she and my sister and brother-in-love escaped for time out together, and appeared to have had a wonderful time. It is so good to see the smiles and know that mom is finding the courage to get out and go places. She is in great company, and good fruit is being extended between each of them, one to another.

 

Choose to be rooted, Radically Rooted

Established in Christ;

Surrendered to God,

Let Him lead our lives.

As we choose follow,

Willingly obey;

He stretches and grows,

Leads us in His way.

As we are willing,

He grows within us;

Fruit of the Spirit,

That mirror Jesus.

Love, peace and patience,

And gentleness too;

Kindness, faithfulness,

Care in all we do.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we invest our hearts, minds and time into relationship with You, we become rooted and established in a right relationship that bears fruit that lasts. Thank You that the fruit You have for us is good fruit to give away. Forgive us for the times that we have set aside our roots and operated in our own ugliness. Teach us to trust and rely on You more, so that we would bear Your fruit wherever we go and whatever we are doing. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever pursue a heart after You, and choose to be willing to be uncomfortable so that we can grow. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

The earth is filled with Your love, Lord; teach me Your decrees. – Psalm 119:64