by Susan Sampson
Lord, turn me inside out!
I could barely get past the first page in this week’s lesson. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” (Matt. 23:26-28).
It has been a very painful season of loss for me. Having just lost my father to cancer, our church is now losing our worship pastor who is very near and dear to our family, and though I am thankful for how they are faithfully following the Lord’s call on their lives, my heart breaks at the thought of not being with them.
There is another loss that I have been experiencing as well. The loss of who I thought I was. And while this is a very good and extremely necessary loss, it has been painful. Sadly I am confronted by why this hurts. Pride. I have been thinking more highly of myself than I ought. Still desperately clinging to the lie that there is somewhere in me some bit of good. Something good I can take the credit for and get approval for. But apart from Christ, there is nothing but hypocrisy and lawlessness. It doesn’t matter how cute my Easter outfit is, the truth remains. The fruit of the Spirit is goodness. The fruit of the flesh is death.
The Lord is turning me inside out. I am thankful. It is an answer to prayer. To years of prayer. I have known what’s on the inside, but still wanted to look away and hide. Keep it buried. Laurie said it best. The flesh will do bizarre, damaging, and disobedient things with these things that are hidden.
All praise and glory be to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! For He has made a way out. Because He shed His blood on the cross, we can be forgiven! He paid the penalty for all our sin!
The spring cleaning we all need to do is far greater than getting rid of those broken toys our kids no longer play or clothes we no longer wear. We must clean out the treasure chests of our hearts. Empty the earthly trash and fill with eternal treasure.
1. Confess our sin to the Lord – “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
2. Pray for our enemies – “prayer is the forerunner of mercy” – Charles Spurgeon
3. Ask the Lord to give us His heart for our enemies – “for he is kind to the ungrateful and evil” (Luke 6:35).
4. Ask the Lord to show us how we can bless our enemies – “Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing” (1 Pet. 3:9).
This is the gospel: We were God’s enemies when Christ died for us. When He was nailed to the cross and dying He said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).
Let’s fix our eyes on the cross of Christ this week leading up to Easter and ask the Lord to continue turning us inside out, all for His glory! May His will be done in our hearts and lives. May Christ alone be the treasure of our hearts!