After supper, my daughter went outside to get the white casserole dish that the dog had licked clean. She carefully placed the dish into the sink and exclaimed that she thought the dish was already clean because the outside of it looked “shiny,” but the inside of the dish was dirty. I looked at the casserole dish, sitting in the sink, and sighed. The dish still had tough, baked on “goop” that seemed to take forever to scrub off. As the warm, soapy water started to fill the sink, a passage from the Bible started to fill my thoughts. I remembered reading in the gospel of Luke, chapter eleven, verse 39 where Jesus rebuked the Pharisee for pretending to be neat and clean on the outside, but full of greed and wickedness on the inside. I shared this story with my daughter as we cleaned the dish. I explained to her that our Heavenly Father can search our hearts and tell if they are clean, or dirty. We discussed how important it is to look nice and take care of ourselves, but that we must spend more time taking care of our heart and keeping it free from sin. As we finished our conversation, I drained the sink, and she rinsed off the casserole dish. She examined it, and said “that it wasn’t dirty anymore. We washed it and made it clean just like Jesus makes us clean when we ask for forgiveness.” She gave me the dish and jumped off her stool and started to run out of the kitchen. Before she left, she turned to me and said, “Man, Momma, I am so glad that my soul is clean!”
Today, we are spending too much precious time trying to make ourselves “look the part” of a Christian. Before worship, we find ourselves frustrated because our dress does not fit as well as the last time it was worn, and grumble that our hair is not doing what we want it to. Where is our focus? The Pharisees’ main focus was on their outward appearance rather than God. The Pharisees were acting the part. I feel we are getting caught up in something similar as we attend services with a smile on our face and in our “Sunday best” so as the rest of the saints can see how “perfect” our Christian walk is. We can be in our best outfit and flash our brightest smile, but at the same time, our soul can be soiled, wrinkled, and blemished from the sins we are trying so desperately to hide. Let us put the focus back on preparing our hearts for worship. We must take the time to clothe ourselves with Christ. We must keep our heart pure and free from sin and ask the Father for forgiveness. We must not allow ourselves to become as the Pharisees who placed too much importance on how others were to perceive them.
Christian women are familiar with the message in 1 Peter chapter 3 which states that beauty comes from within and how it is precious to God. We are to keep in mind that beauty is not about the way we style our hair, or adorn ourselves with costly jewelry and clothing. We must not fall into the same dangerous trap as the Pharisees. God saw them as dirty, greedy, and wicked. Society saw them as giving, honorable, and worthy of attention. The Lord Jesus thought it was foolish of them to think that God only looked at their outward being. We must not get entangled in this foolishness. As we prepare ourselves for worship with the saints this next Lord’s Day, start within. Let us take the time to beautify our soul with prayer and meditation, and take the time to reflect on Jesus’ cleansing power and ask him to restore our soul to an unblemished state. When we, as Christians, practice this, we will not worry about hiding behind our outward appearances, the love of Christ will shine through, beautifying us, and we will be able to worship Him in spirit and in truth, clean and unblemished. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1John 1:9) We must take a look at our soul daily and ask ourselves this question “Is my soul clean today?”