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I recall one sunny afternoon when I was 13 years old and had only recently moved to Butte, Montana where I lived for a couple of years during high school with my father and grandfather. One afternoon I was exploring a very old log cabin style garage on the back of the property where we lived. It was a neat old building which was just chalked full of fun things for a 13 year old kid to get into. I remember I found this old white porcelain bowel and what appeared to be a water pitcher. Both were very old and apparently stained by age. I took both of them out of the old garage and began to fill them up with water from the hose that I would then pour on my rather “originally named” little dog Bingo. After I had been at this a while, playing the old water pitcher and the dog, I overheard my grandfather telling my dad to tell me to stop messing with that pitcher and put it back in the old garage. My dad asked him why and he explained, that thing is filthy, it is an old chamber pot! Only, he had another, more vulgar name for the chamber pot.

In Mathew 23:25-28 Jesus tells the Pharisees that they have radically missed the mark. Rather than cleaning the inside of their hearts which would lead to outward devotion, they have only focused on the appearance of holiness. They have replaced the heart’s pure devotion, the heart’s pure cry to be filled with the very presence of God with an outward commitment to religious ritual, custom, and practice. They have cleaned the outside of the cup but drank up the vilest drink of pride, hypocrisy, and self exaltation.

Dear Saints of God, if we are to arrest genuine knowledge of God, if we are to have our spiritual eyes opened and cast off the blindness of the Pharisee then we must allow God to cleanse our very hearts. Our religious devotion must not be outward as we seek to appear to be people of good works, we must seek something far greater! We must allow God to work from the inside out!

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