A Christian- - Inside and Out

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The story is told of a father and his rather rambunctious five-year-old son. One day the father was trying to talk with some friends and the son was being his normal energetic self. The boy’s behavior was distracting to his dad, so he told his son to sit down. 

However, the boy acted as if he never heard his father’s instruction. So, the father repeated, but even more distinctly, “Sit down.” That did not seem to take either, so the father sternly commanded, "Sit down right now or you will be punished!” Then with a grunt the boy fell into a seat.

It was obvious that this was against the youngster’s wishes, but he did not want to face the consequences of disobedience. So, in frustration he announced, “I am sitting down on the outside, but I’m still standing up on the inside!”

Have you ever had one of those experiences? No, not as the father, but as the son! You go through the motions of doing something because you feel it is expected of you, but your inside is not in sync with your actions on the outside. We probably all can plead guilty at some time or another and, occasionally, we may be able to get by with it in some areas. But when it comes to spiritual things, God is not pleased by us simply going through the motions- - he wants our all.

During Jesus’ earthly ministry He often clashed with the scribes and Pharisees over their hypocrisy. On one such occurrence, He quoted these words from Isaiah, “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me” (Matthew 15:7, 8). Here the Lord makes it clear that the right actions added to the wrong motives never equal the right thing.

In another setting a scribe came to Jesus with the question, “Which is the first commandment of all?” He replied succinctly, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Mark 12:28-30). This answer once again makes it clear that in order to please God we must surrender our entire being.

It is not enough to wear the name “Christian.” We must be one- - inside and out!