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Inside Outside

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 also will be clean. 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 dead men's bones 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 23:25-28

Jesus was by no means saying that it was not important to look good on the outside. He was saying beauty began from the inside out. What is in the inside will be clearly manifested and seen on the outside. When the inside is clean, the outside will also be clean. When the inside is healthy, the outside will be healthy too. A healthy person will look good. A healthy plant will look good and bear fruit both in excellent quality and abundant quantity.

The inside determines the outside. We are a generation of go-getters. Go and get the latest model of car, a new luxurious house, in-fashion branded goods and services or even a new degree or doctorate. Do something and achieve something! When we finally do get hold of something or become somebody, we want something else. We want to make something and someone out of ourselves. This is also prevalent within the walls of the Church. Jesus was addressing these inside matters of the heart to the religious leaders of His days.

We are driven by this mysterious and covetous force compelling us to want more in order to look good on the outside. The stake is often very high – our inner souls. In winning what we set out to gain, we lose our very selves. In trying to control our lives, we become our own slaves. While we are trying to look good on the outside, our inside is rotting away.

In recent years, more homes are destroyed by sinkholes than ever before. The ground or earth beneath the houses caves in and collapses. This massive depression is called a sinkhole. Sinkholes occur when the earth underground are drained away during seasons of drought or are eroded away by irresponsible timber harvesting. On the land surface, the ground materials may be some limestone and solid rocks. But not so deep beneath, there are sinkholes that get bigger each day. Initially, everything stays intact until the evacuated underground spaces cannot hold the weight of the surface any longer. When there is no more support from below, the whole surface will then collapse. When the inside is empty, the outside will collapse like a deflated balloon!

Most of the personal development promotions and ideals today are designed to enhance our lives to look good on the outside. Browsing through the titles of the books in the stores, there is an overwhelming flood of materials and resources to help us organize our work, time, studies, family, careers and leisure. Only a small percent of these deal with the inside issues. How can our outer world be orderly if our inner world is not?

The true treasure is a pursuit inwardly into the Temple of the Holy Spirit! It is in the inside of us where we know and find our true selves. Therein dwells all our feelings, decisions, motives, values and treasures. It is also the place where we commune with God face to face. To deal with these inside issues is a daily process we do throughout the whole of our life journey in Christ. Within we will fight the good fight of faith against our fleshly lusts and sins that unguardedly surface and war against our spirits. Our souls become the battleground between the spirit and the flesh. Therefore, above all else, we need to guard the affections in our hearts. For they influence everything else in our lives (Prov 4:23).

Christ must increase, we must decease. As Christ indwells in us, He will slowly but surely change and transform us from within. The transformation is continuous throughout our lifetime till we reach the finishing line.

There are some inside attitudes which Jesus desires us to have. They are known as the Beatitudes (Be-Attitudes). These declarations of blessedness were made by Jesus at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:3-12). And all of them deal with the inside issues of man.

Attitudes & Characters Blessings & Rewards
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth,
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

When we have these attitudes inside, we will then become the salt and the light on the outside as described in the verses following immediately thereafter. We will be able to impact others and preserve lives. Our light will shine inside out giving light to those around. When our light so shine before men, they will see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven (Matthew 5:13-16).

It is there and then we will look really good both in the inside and on the outside. Gaining the favour of both God and man.