The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7b
Read: Luke 11:39-40
Listen: Luke 11
Jesus doesn’t wash his hands, surprising his host. Jesus recognizes the surprise and isn’t having it. He launches into a series of “woes” against the Pharisees, the religious elite his host is a part of. He starts with the very thing the host is surprised about—religious cleanliness. The first-century world didn’t understand germ theory, but the Pharisees adhered to a strict regimen of religious cleanliness. It was about spiritual cleanliness and avoiding spiritual contamination. They made sure to jump through the cleanliness hoops for their hands and dishes for religious reasons.
Religious cleanliness was to show people how they needed God and how they could never be good enough on their own. Instead, the Pharisees took it the opposite direction and tried to use it to show how they were good enough. Jesus calls them out for being religiously clean, but wrong. They aren’t good enough, and their hearts are a mess. Jesus tells them they are missing it.
We often miss it here as well. We may not focus on religious cleanliness, but we try to make it look like we have it all together. Instead, we are a mess of insecurity, prejudice, selfishness, lust and pride on the inside. We are missing it, and Jesus wants to transform us from the inside out. People look at things on the outside, so we focus on that—but God looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).
IN YOUR CHAIR TIME TODAY
Place yourself at the table of correction with Jesus. Spend some time thinking about your heart. How is it? Are you presenting yourself as having it together when your heart is a mess? What area do you need to invite Jesus into today?
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