When I went to the grocery store, I could not turn down a tote bag of apples that was on sale. I was excited to have a great supply of apples; however, when I got home I found a few rotten apples that were hidden in the middle of the tote. They had to have been rotting for days, and they had begun to spread their nastiness to a few of their neighbors.
The bag of apples looked inviting until I got to peer at the inside of the bag. In the same way, there may be people who have the outer appearance of living one way, but if you view the inside you would get a whole different story. We spend a lot of time trying to shine up the apples on the top of the tote, the ones everyone sees; however, we do not often work on the inside. Jesus told the Pharisees not to worry about the outside so much, but to focus on the inside. Because when the inside is clean, the outside would soon follow. Whatever is inside overflows outward.
Today, consider the inside of your own personal tote bag. Yes, consider your heart. Look at your motives. Look at your desires. Ask the Spirit to help you examine closely and reveal anything that shouldn’t be there. Today is a great day to toss out any rotten apples and press forward in your walk.
“You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.” – Matthew 23:26-27 [ESV]
As a mother, I remember the days when my children would eat something and get food all over their faces. I would get out the napkin, wet it and get their faces ready to see the world. Still today I check their faces before we leave just to be sure they are clean. And yes, I check mine as well.
In Isaiah 6, the prophet is standing before God and he immediately acknowledges that he is sinful. He understood that he could not stand before God filthy. God is holy. Then an angel takes a burning coal and touches Isaiah’s lips. The angel says, “Gone your guilt, your sins wiped out” (MSG).
If we accept Jesus and what He did for us, our guilt is gone – our sins are wiped out too. Through the blood of Jesus, we no longer live condemned, but we are made as white as snow. But we have to acknowledge that we are sinful. We have to acknowledge our unclean lips. Even after we repent and accept Christ into our lives, there is a need of daily repentance of our sins. The blood of Jesus wipes out each sin, but for each one, we must bow before the Lord and acknowledge our need for repentance.
“Then I said, ‘It’s all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips, and I live among a people with filthy lips. Yet I have seen the King, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.’ Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal he had taken from the altar with a pair of tongs.” – Isaiah 6:5-6 [NLT]