The beauty within
Woe to you, Pharisees, and you religious leaders—hypocrites! You are so careful to polish the outside of the cup, but the inside is foul with extortion and greed. Blind Pharisees! First cleanse the inside of the cup, and then the whole cup will be clean. “Woe to you, Pharisees, and you religious leaders! You are like beautiful mausoleums—full of dead men’s bones, and of foulness and corruption. You try to look like saintly men, but underneath those pious robes of yours are hearts besmirched with every sort of hypocrisy and sin. Matthew 23:25-28
From the text, the Lord Jesus Christ rebuked those that are concerned only on outward piety over inward piety. He called them “hypocrites” and compared them to “whitewashed tombs.” God rebuked them from their self-centeredness for they were more concerned in their outward appearance over the internal righteousness brought about by a relationship with Him. His challenge to them and to us was to begin focusing on the inner person where His working is evident resulting to righteous outward actions. This was also what Peter wrote about addressing Christians in Asia Minor where the people were obsessed with outward appearance. “Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God” (1 Peter 3:3-4). Our personal relationship with Christ transformed us from something ugly and disordered inner person into something beautiful and well-ordered. It is continually being done by the Holy Spirit residing in the lives of every believer. One’s our hearts and lives are changed because of our submission to God’s working, the transformation will become apparent in our attitude and outward behavior. Lives will be characterized with “unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit.” God’s working leads to producing good works that we become an example to others. “And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind” (Titus 2:7). While we face different challenges in life in the different stages of our lives, God does not want us to lose sight of His priority. We have this great opportunity to show to others the beauty of knowing Christ as Lord and Savior. “Make the teaching about God our Savior attractive in every way” (Titus 2:10). Each day of our lives, God is preparing us through the difficulties we face for increasing responsibilities and opportunities. This is why it is important for us to not neglect strengthening our resolve to spiritual disciplines that will create within us the beauty that God alone could create. This is necessary for the long and trying journey ahead. Spiritual facts are not just for learning but for us to experience the reality of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ working in us. In this way, we can experience the majesty and intimacy of Christ who is changing us from glory to glory.
Noel De Guzman