It was clean! I KNOW it was clean, because I was the one who loaded and then unloaded the dishwasher myself. So how in the world was there still something inside my cup that I was drinking from for lunch yesterday?!? It can very surprising to learn that the inside of the cup is dirty, even when the outside looks so clean. Upon first glance, everyone would've assumed the cup was clean - it looked clean, it had been washed/dried/put away. But when I looked closer on the inside, it didn't take long to notice there was still something in there. It's gross, I know...but I think it is a great example of what can happen in our lives if we are not careful.
In Luke 11, Jesus had just finished speaking when a Pharisee had "invited Him to eat with him, so He went in and reclined at the table. But the Pharisee was surprised when he noticed that Jesus did not first wash before the meal." It shouldn't shock you to learn that Jesus didn't do things the way He was supposed to (according to the law and the leaders who were sworn to uphold it). He went on to challenge them by saying:
"Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? But now as for what is inside you - be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you." (Luke 11:39-41)
The Pharisees were known for their traditions and rules about how people should live. They had a certain way of doing things and any deviation from that was wrong (in their eyes). As they sought to follow these rules, they neglected the heart of what God was wanting to do. In other words, they sought to clean the outside cup and weren't worried about what the inside looked like.
This came up last night in one of the small groups I help with, where we were talking about "The Persona vs. The Person". Sometimes, we can be guilty of paying more attention to the first and forgetting about the second. This is where we tend to care more about what people think about us when they see us than what Jesus sees in us. This is where we get caught up in the image we are portraying, and it is where it can be so easy to forget about showing people the image of Christ working in us to form His character. This is where we can dress ourselves up to make people think we are clean and good and Godly and strong and whole and healthy. And this is where we can be guilty of being Pharisees ourselves, because we love to look at how great we look and overlook how bad we really are.
The reason we need Jesus is because He goes the extra mile and takes the extra look into those places of our lives that are still bad and dirty and sinful. But when He looks at those places, He doesn't overlook them or ignore them; He actually wants to remove what is there that shouldn't be, so He can transform those areas into looking more like Him. He wants to purify us and cleanse us - ALL of us! He wants to clean both the outside AND the inside of the cup. He cares more about the person than He does about the persona...maybe we should, too!
Spending time with Jesus should make us want what He wants, which means we should also want to remove what He doesn't want. This week, as you spend time with Him, spend some time asking Him if there is anything inside your "cup" that shouldn't be there. And when He points out what that is, ask Him to remove it. Ask Him to make you clean! I don't think you'll get Him to help you do the dishes the next time they're dirty, but He will help you clean your own heart.