“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. Matthew 23:27
While we were traveling this past couple of weeks, I met a gentleman in another state who had recently purchased a beautiful pick-up truck for his business. It was shiny and clean and was going to be perfect for his excavation business. And the best part about it was, because of this whole Covid thing, the owner said, “You don’t have to worry about getting it inspected. You’ll be fine! Nobody’s checking inspection stickers.” After purchasing the truck on the owners word, upon arriving home, our friend took a closer look “underneath,” and found that the 4-wheel drive doesn’t work, all four shocks were shot, the emergency cable was broken, only the low beams on the headlights worked, brackets under the hood were rusted and broken, wires were taped or zip tied in place, and the list went on and on. It never would have passed inspection. (Story used by permission of owner).
This reminded me of Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 23 in today’s verse, and His statement to the Pharisees and the teachers of the law. They were supposed to be the example for the rest of God’s people, and they sure looked and sounded good, but their hearts and minds were corrupt and full of deception and selfishness. They preached one thing, then they themselves did not comply. Their hearts were not submitted to God by any stretch or the imagination. Though the people of Israel all around them saw the “beauty on the outside,” Jesus was able to look under the hood and all He saw was “bones of the dead and everything unclean.”
Have we asked God to “check under our hood” recently and to take a closer look at our heart and our minds? It’s so easy to cover it up and look good and talk good and do good on Sunday mornings or when we may be with certain people. But what’s really going on inside. What are we dwelling on in our thought life? What are we allowing ourselves to read and see when nobody’s watching? What words come out of our mouth when we’re at the office? What excuses do we use not to be obedient to God’s word and His love?
We should be using Psalm 139:23-24 on a regular basis to make sure we are as beautiful on the inside as we are on the outside. Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
If we diligently keep our lives pure before the Lord, He will be able to use us as “instruments of righteousness”for His glory and honor.