“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."
We have a tendency to focus on how things look. There is a saying, "Perception is reality." And, in some ways that is true; it is not true in a Kingdom sense, however.
When the prophet Samuel, directed by God, went to Jesse's home to anoint a new King for Israel, he was sure that several of Jesse's older sons were King material. They were big and strong and good-looking. But God passed them by and chose instead the youngest son, David, who was watching the sheep out in the field. David was not yet as big, strong, or good-looking as his brothers, but God saw something in him that his brothers didn't have. Here is a truth that God revealed to Samuel: man looks at outward appearances, but God looks at the heart.
Outward appearances can be deceiving. Sometimes people who look like everything is great on the outside are falling apart on the inside. And, sometime people who seem to be struggling are being stretched and growing. Only God sees the whole truth about a person.
So, Jesus says that we need to quit being outward focused (as in outward appearances) and start taking care of the internal stuff. As with other spiritual truths, when we get our focus right -taking care of our own internal junk, it just happens that we also begin to look right on the outside too.
When we begin to see the reality of this, we understand why we need to be concerned about our interior motives and issues. Hiding our problems leads to hypocrisy: clean on the outside, filthy on the inside. We need to be transformed as we allow Jesus to renew our minds. We need to quit hiding our issues, let God expose them, and allow Jesus to heal them.
Lord Jesus, help me to be the man that people think I am.