Every once in a while the cleaning instructions on an article of clothing will state to “wash inside out.” Those are odd directions, if you think about it, because people don’t see the reverse side of your clothes. They see the outside – the place with all the decoration and adornment. Yet the manufacturers know that if the inside of our clothes are cleaned, this will be reflected on the outside. It may seem odd, but it’s also effective.
We, however, place a lot of significance on outward appearances, forgetting that what remains on the inside may not be what we expected. Looking at a beautiful house from the street, we may never guess that a disaster awaits inside. A family that appears to be loving and close, may be broken and distraught. We judge by what we can see – and often the reality of what’s happening on the inside is obscured from our view.
God, however, sees the heart. So His concern isn’t primarily on what our outside appearance looks like, but what’s going on on the inside. He cares about our thoughts, and our motives, our inclinations and our desires – knowing that if these things are aligned with His Word, then the part of our lives that people see will reflect that too.
Yet sometimes we try very hard just to make the outside pretty. We put on window dressing that makes it appear as if our hearts are aligned with God. We “pull ourselves up by our bootstraps” so that in our own effort our lives look like they are conforming to God’s standards. And we may be effective at it for a while. Eventually, however, just as the truth of the broken family will emerge, the realities of our hearts will eventually be revealed.
This is why it’s so important that our lives are cleaned by His grace from the inside out – that our actions don’t just conform to God’s standards but our thoughts, our motives, our inclinations, and our desires do as well. As this is true, what’s reflected on the outside will also conform to His will.
Now it’s your turn ….If we focused on the fact that God looks at us from the inside out, how would our lives change?