2 Corinthians 10:7a – Do you look at things according to the outward appearance? (NKJV)
We have a wooden deck behind half of our house. It is a place where we can sit when the weather is good. It is about three feet (one metre) off the ground, with four steps at one end to take us down to the lawn, the vegetable garden, the flower beds, and the back door of the garage.
Every other year or so, the woodwork needs to be scraped and repainted. The job has been on my to-do list since last winter, but mainly because we had a very wet spring here in southern Ontario, Canada, I did not get around to doing it. In July, one of our daughters and her husband spent a week with us, and he asked me if there was anything that he could help me with. We decided that it was a good time to start that work. Armed with scrapers and sandpaper, we proceeded. Pretty quickly, we discovered that even though some of the railings looked good on the outside, they were rotten on the inside, so we had no choice but to replace the rotten ones.
With social media the way it is today, we quite often hear of prominent people in high places who are like the railings on our deck: they look all right, they are well dressed, and people think highly of them. Then, we are told that their lifestyle is not what it appears to be. They don't seem to know the difference between right and wrong.
This reminded me of the time when Jesus talked about this very subject, and addressed the very people guilty of it:
Matthew 23:27 – Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. (NKJV)
So often, we look at the outward demeanour of the people around us that we look up to, but they turn out to be different than we thought them to be. Unfortunately, we, too, are full of flaws and imperfections that we like to hide from others, so that they think that we are better than we are. But God is not fooled: He looks at everyone's hearts — including ours. It is not how we look, or how well off we are, or even what we say we believe, but rather our private thoughts, the decisions that we make, and our attitudes towards others that God truly sees and weighs. He is looking for integrity, moral purity, and the fruit of the Spirit within us, so that we really are what we appear to others to be.
Think about it: are we really the way we look and talk, or do we, too, have hidden imperfections?
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, forgive us for those times when we try to put on an act and pretend to be something that we are not. We pray that we will always be true to You in our thoughts and attitudes, as well as in our words and actions. We ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.
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