This morning was grey and still due to the fog hanging over and covering the lake. It seemed to fit the condition my heart was in… cloudy, heavy and grey. I’m not sure of all my thoughts during my morning run, but I know a lot of them were centered on sin. It’s been on my heart heavy the past few days. I was mulling over the verses in Romans 7 that I posted yesterday. I was also thinking of the verse that mentions ‘everything hidden will be exposed’ (which I believe is in reference to 1 Corinthians 4:5 and Ecclesiastes 12:14). As if this wasn’t enough to chew on, I was thinking of 1 Samuel 16:7 the part where the Lord says “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
With all these verses on my heart and then some, I was considering how different God’s ways are than our own in regards to sin, especially my own personal view. I was frustrated at myself because of my own sinful heart. I often wish that my sins were more apparent on the outside, more exposed, because as it is I can mask, pretend and try to fool/deceive anyone and everyone. As if I’m good and pure, since my sins don’t always show up so blatant as an outward thing where man sees.
The surface sins committed with the body are obvious, yet my sins are underlying and often easier to cover up and hide from the rest of society. So I can give off the fake appearance of purity. But God sees my heart and all its wickedness for what it really is, there’s no pretense or hiding things from Him. But because we are human and look at everything on the outside, we tend to frown and/or look down upon (judge) those “sinners” whose sins are exposed on the outside…. all the while we rot on the inside of our prideful self-righteous hearts as if there’s nothing wrong since others can’t supposedly “see” it. White-washed tomb, clean cup on the outside stained with filth on the inside… pure white exterior with a rotting carcass inside. Mmm.
We try comparing our sins against anothers… us Pharisees think we’re doing better, while the exposed sinners believe they’re horribly worse. Of course, neither comparison being accurate because both are still looking on the outside. Being the hypocritical Pharisee, I often envy the ones who are more exposed. My heart longs for that exposure and brokenness. “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’” (Luke 18:13). But I’m so much more often the wretch thanking God I’m not like those “sinners” (The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. – Luke 18:11). The arrogance. How we all need humility and brokenness!
I’m the pseudo-pure “saint” with a rotting interior.
I so desperately want to be exposed for what I really am. The brokenness of knowing I am just as in need and desperate for the mercy of God. ‘Have mercy on me, a sinner!’ I am no different than any other human simply because I “appear” different on the outside. I NEED the Cross, I NEED His mercy and grace, I NEED His love. The Pharisee Christians like me like to walk around masking our desperate need, as if we’re already pure and holy… we walk away from the Cross and Jesus as a result, spitting in His face like we don’t need Him.
The bottom line being that someone else doesn’t need Jesus any more than I do. We all desperately need Him. Sin is sin… death and darkness all the same no matter what form it’s in. In God’s eyes it’s all the same because He looks at the heart, not what someone committed on the outside. This is why repentance is described in Ezekiel 18 as a turning away and getting a new HEART and a new SPIRIT.
Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit.
So cleaning up habits and stuff on the outside doesn’t do a thing, but ends up being more deception… making someone a Pharisee who’s denying the Messiah and still dying on the inside.
So I’m running this morning with all of this heavy on my heart (like the fog), and as I kept passing by different people I continued to realize how desperately each of us needs Jesus. And that’s the whole point… we all need a Savior and can’t do this on our own. We can’t fix it. It had to be resolved for us. This is what Romans 7 and 8 were talking about… and this truth is starting to become even clearer and is moving deeper into my heart.
My spirit began to lift toward the end of my run (as did the fog, and the sun began to peak through) as I became more focused on the Cross and redemption through Jesus Christ (rather than wallowing in my heart disgust). I grew more thankful for who He is, the life He gives, the love He pours out on the sinners who are out in the open and the sinners who are underlying Pharisees. All need Him… all need what was done on the Cross. No exceptions, no differences. A new heart and a new spirit are what is needed and those come through accepting and believing in Jesus as Lord and Savior.