Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "I Love To Tell The Story"1 (Lyrics)
One Friday, a work colleague spoke to me regarding a stray dog which she had found on the grounds of her church the previous Sunday. I thought, Perhaps the dog was left by the owner who didn't want to care for it. The colleague was looking for someone to befriend the animal. Since I had always wondered what it would be like to have a dog, I volunteered to take the dog home, which turned out to be quite a challenge. However, I was told that if for any reason things didn't work out, the finder of the dog said that she would take the dog back.
The dog was small, very scruffy, and with long, black hair. Its appearance made it very difficult to ascertain its breed. All of a sudden, I became a proud owner, scheduling an appointment with a posh pet groomer in a nearby upscale community. It was determined by the groomer that my pet was a male. I left the establishment with a fine-looking poodle with a beautiful red ribbon in his hair!
What followed was close to being horrendous! The disgusting behaviours of the dog were unimaginable to me. Whether during the process of going for a walk or attempting to adjust to the environment, he caused such a mess both inside and outside of the house. He got into the closet and chewed up my favourite slippers, and strewed newspapers all over the house. I was in a constant state of being frazzled. To top it all off, when I returned to work on Monday, the dog barked all day, which caused a neighbour to present me with a note full of unfriendly remarks and ultimatums in my mailbox. Although I'd never had a chance to name my dog, this nicely groomed poodle and I had to part.
This occurrence brought to mind the Scripture where Jesus was speaking to His disciples and the multitudes:
Matthew 23:27-28 – How horrible it will be for you, experts in Moses' Teachings and Pharisees! You hypocrites! You are like whitewashed graves that look beautiful on the outside but inside are full of dead people's bones and every kind of impurity. So on the outside you look as though you have God's approval, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. (GWT)
Taking a stray animal, which had most likely been neglected, and making him look presentable on the outside, did nothing to improve him on the inside. This is much like our lives as Christians. Although we can dress ourselves up on the outside, our hearts are often not attuned or brought into a harmonious or responsive relationship to our Master, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Let us consider our relationship with the Lord by praying with the psalmist:
Psalm 51:10 – Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. (ASV)
Prayer: Dear Lord, help us to examine our hearts for attitudes that prevent us from having pure motives in what we say and do. Reveal to us how we should present ourselves so that others will know that we are children of God. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.