I’m not a huge fan of cleaning my car. Dirt shows up easily on the outside. As much as I’d love to say I get it washed every week, I honestly can’t. It’s more like every three months when I go to the dealership for an oil change. I know; don’t judge.
But I do a better job on the inside of the car, most of the time. I’ll pull out my leather wipes and vacuum cleaner and get to work.
So to the dispassionate observer, I seem to be lazy when it comes to maintaining the outer cleanliness of my car. As the driver, however, what I see on the inside seems mighty fine. Who’s right?
It’s equally difficult for most of us to reconcile the outer and inner life. The problem is often the reverse of my car-cleaning issue: our inner life may be in turmoil, but we represent well verbally and through external actions and behaviors.
The disconnect is palpable.
Jesus called out the Pharisees for this very practice in Matthew 23: 25-26:
“You burnish the surface of your cups and bowls so they sparkle in the sun, while the insides are maggoty with your greed and gluttony. Stupid Pharisee! Scour the insides, and then the gleaming surface will mean something.”
Guys, I don’t have a go-to response for this struggle. It’s one I’ve had to embrace all my life, so I know how much I fall short. I’m interested in hearing your perspectives, however.
- How do we get our words and actions to match our thought life?
- How easy is it to follow through on the thoughts that animate us and spur us to action?
- Is transparency (keeping it 100 percent with everyone) realistic?
- Does it pay to be vulnerable before others?
All I can share is Psalm 51:6 regarding God’s desire for us:
“What You’re after is truth from the inside out. Enter me, then; conceive a new, true life.”