I just took our car in for preventative maintenance–an oil change, a few filters swapped, a new belt, checking brake pads, a thorough overview that I can’t do on my own.
Our car isn’t new, but when I wash it and clean it, it looks really nice. But no matter how much attention I pay to the body of the car, it won’t change the way the engine runs. It can look great on the outside and be a complete mess under the hood. No number of car washes can make the car run correctly. So diagnostics and maintenance are required.
The same goes for our health. People can look fit and trim, have impressively-low body fat and still have cancer or any number of destructive internal diseases that can’t be diagnosed by a mere outward glance. So medical checkups are necessary.
Everything may appear just fine from the outside. Our kids can be well-behaved, our smiles plastered on in every picture, but simultaneously relationships can be full of bitterness, debt piling up, and sin eating away from the inside out. A soul checkup is in order.
Jesus summed this all up quite nicely in response to a Pharisee’s question about hand washing and ritual cleanliness.
“You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.”
No amount of exterior cleaning can fix the cleaning that needs to take place inside. No amount of behavior modification can do away with the consequences of sin. No exterior manipulation will take care of the inner problem.
Things may appear fine on the outside, but the inside is what matters. A shiny car with a broken engine is of no use.
We need to seek a checkup with the Lord, to ask him to examine our hearts, to put them in the right place. We need forgiveness of sins no amount of going to church or leading Bible studies can fix. We need to drink deeply from the well of forgiveness of Jesus Christ for our internal self to be made right with God.
Don’t just polish the outside of the cup. Go deeper, check the inside, because that’s what really matters.
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