by Pastor Greg Laurie
"You try to look like upright people outwardly, but inside your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness." (Matthew 23:28)
People make changes in their lives for many reasons. Often it is when they face a crisis in life. It might be a heart attack. It might be the loss of a spouse through death or divorce. It might some other crisis that hits them, and they begin to evaluate their priorities and take stock of their lives. They determine to make changes.
But often the same people who vow to change end up going back to their old ways. We often hear of celebrities being admitted to drug rehabilitation centers. We hear about the great changes they have made. They tell their stories on television and write books about it. But then a few months later, we read that they have gone back to their old ways. Why? Because they have made moral changes in their lives, but they haven't gotten to the root of their problem, which is the absence of God in their lives.
Jesus warned the Pharisees, "First wash the inside of the cup, and then the outside will become clean, too" (Matthew 23:26). Jesus was telling them they were missing it when they only concentrate on the outward. They must first take care of the inward.
The clear mandate given to the church from the lips of Jesus himself was to go into this world and preach the gospel, because when people truly find Him, it will change their lifestyle. If, as believers, we allow other things to detract us from this calling, then we are also missing it. As Jesus said, "First wash the inside, . . . and then the outside will become clean, too." That is where we must focus our efforts.
Copyright (c) 2004 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved. Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright (c) 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.