We were in a large city in Southeast Asia and it was a beautiful Air B & B! White tiled floors, granite counter tops, a fun swing out on the balcony, two large tiled bathrooms. It was to be our home away from home for a few days and we were excited. What a fun place to be . . .
But what we didn’t know was that this beautiful pristine apartment had a dirty little secret.
I went in to use the shower and a HUGUNDOUS cockroach was resting in the corner of the shower. I know these bugs are pretty common where it’s warm and humid but this baby was BIG! Because there was no one else around to kill the thing, it fell to me. I’m learning as I travel, that I’ve got to suck it up and just do some things I never thought I would ever have to do. This was one of those times. I grabbed my Chaco sandal, thankfully it’s nice and heavy and able to kill a VERY LARGE cockroach in a single whack! But the first time I went to kill the thing I was pretty tentative and it began to scurry all over the shower floor. There might have been some dancing and screaming going on as I attempted to keep it from running over my feet while still trying to kill it. After that first attempt, I got pretty good at killing them with one good blow. Because there wasn’t just one big cockroach, the place was infested with them. We woke up the next morning to find droppings all over the counter. At first, we thought it might be mice, because the droppings were pretty big BUT NO, it was just the CR’s.
Needless to say, the beautiful Air B & B wasn’t so beautiful any more. I resorted to putting a towel under my door to make sure they wouldn’t get into my room while I slept.
As I sat out on our balcony the next morning, in the fun swing, spending time with my Abba Father, I couldn’t help but think . . . It’s not just Air B & B’s that can have a false front; a beautiful outside exterior and a dirty little secret hiding inside. We, who are followers of Jesus, have the potential to be this way as well.
It’s so easy to look like we’re truly following Jesus when we do all the right things, have the right lingo, follow a list of rules and yet our inner life looks anything BUT a follower. It might be a pornography issue, a root of bitterness that has buried itself deep inside, a dishonest heart, or a desperation that causes us to compromise all that we have stood for.
We might be faithful churchgoers, committed Bible study leaders, sacrificial volunteers at church or in the community, donating to some wonderful causes and yet harboring a darkness in our soul that holds us in bondage and keeps us far from our Savior.
Jesus described the hearts of the Pharisees in much the same way in Matthew 23.27, “For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity.” And in Matthew 15.8 Jesus quoted from a passage of scripture in Isaiah when describing the them, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”
It’s so easy to fall into this trap, of thinking we’re okay because we look good on the outside, when we’re really rotting on the inside. It’s easy to think we’re a follower of Jesus because we’re checking the boxes and doing all the right things, but we’ve never acknowledged that our hearts are desperately wicked and in need of rescue. We’ve never invited Him in to wash us clean. We’ve never fully given up control.
This can happen to any of us. It happened to the leading religious men of the day!
We can be tracking with God, engaged, in relationship with Him and it only takes a second for our hearts to flip. It’s the little things that pull us away. The tiny compromises, the little “white-lies”, the small indiscretions, the subtle doubts and before we know it, we’re harboring a darkness deep in our souls.
The beautiful thing about our Savior is that when we turn to Him in all our mess and filth, He doesn’t run away, instead He washes us clean with His blood and calls us His own! How amazing is that?
Lord, I want to be an authentic follower of You. One who is right with You on the inside and the out. Make this to be true in my heart today and every day, as I seek after You.
“It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself—Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.” John 4.23-24 (Message)
Spilling His Grace, kristi