Wash The Inside Of Your Cup FIRST… Hello Hump Day Readers. I’m two days away from our last camp-host-job for this year. It’s been so busy this last week because everyone wants to be here for the solar eclipse and get their “last hurrah at Lake Abiquiu!” I love our large faithful followers from hither and yon. Earlier this week a couple that comes often told me “We will miss you! For six months our hearts ache to be back in this beautiful area where we can relax and take care of our insides.” Have you ever had someone tell you they ‘need to take care of my insides’?
I have been thinking about their words because it reminds me how easily we live our lives on the “outward” and pay little attention to the “inward.” When we continue to live that way, it’s easier for hypocrisy, selfishness, greed, and all other types of avarice to wiggle in and infect our moral code—sometimes to the extreme.
This is something Jesus tackled in his 3 years of ministry. He loved reaching to the down-and-out and the ‘not wanted’ by society. You can imagine how these people felt when true love came their way! However, Jesus also encountered frustration with the religious and moral people and their rituals and rigidity. They lived on their “purity of laws” which gave them satisfaction along with a big ego. Sadly, their inward lives were filled with the delusion that ‘outward rituals’ were the only way a person was acceptable by God. Instead, those delusions made them hypocrites to the core. Jesus let them have it with these words from Matthew 23:27-28 [VOICE]: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like a grave that has been whitewashed. You look beautiful on the outside, but on the inside you are full of moldering bones and decaying rot. You appear, at first blush, to be righteous, selfless, and pure; but on the inside you are polluted, sunk in hypocrisy and confusion and lawlessness.”
The Pharisees were moralists to the extreme. Sadly, we see that happening all over our world today in the church, the boardroom, friendships and politics. Like the Pharisees, we are becoming so spiritually blind that if God walked among us in human form, we wouldn’t know it was God! Depending on how God looked, acted, etc., we might give God a talking to, we might put on our judgement hats and toss God aside with all the others we do not think are worthy. Hopefully we wouldn’t be so extreme that we would laugh at His message and put Him to death.
I know these are extreme words but we live in extreme times that do not share the love of God and the life-saving Gospel. Read the Matthew passage above one more time. What should come to our minds is “we are missing it when we live on the outward and take little care of our inward lives.” We have a mandate from Jesus to ‘go and make disciples of all nations…to teach and obey ALL the commands He has given to us. Today we relegate that to pastors and missionaries instead of ourselves. How sad and here again, we take care of our outward but leave our inward lives thirsty and empty. In Matthew 23:26 Jesus told the Pharisees: “You blind Pharisee—can’t you see that if you clean the inside of the cup, the outside will be clean too?”
We need to “clean our cup” and do it daily. Then our inward spiritual life becomes a shining example in our outward lives. It won’t happen with trying to be morally pure—no one but Jesus could be pure! In fact, if we are trying to attain a pure morality it will only lead us to our own self-righteousness. And when that happens, we quit recognizing our need for God. After all, we are moral people and that’s that. And our cups get dirtier and dirtier every day and our heart, soul and mind begins to suffer under the load of that grimy dirt.
In closing, dear friends, let’s not forget the big picture here! If we pursue the idea that living morally pure and being squeaky clean is all we need to do, we’ve missed the big picture and inwardly, nothing has changed one bit. We’ve become blind to God’s truth. We need to clean our cup—every single day so we can change our inward selves and be the child God wants us to be—his ambassadors who will proclaim our Savior’s love and gift of eternal life. If we continue to be blind to the truth, our cups will be so heavy with dirt that it will send us into a free-fall. OK, I’m going to get a new scrubber for my cup—I’ve got some work to do! AMEN.