January 19, 2014
As in water face reflects face, So a man’s heart reveals the man. —Proverbs 27:19
Continue to be open to the conviction of the Holy Spirit during this fast because the only cure for sin is to be cleansed and changed from the inside out. When it comes to the heart of man, what goes in also comes out.
That is why Jesus exposed the Pharisees for their pious religious front. He called them pretenders and hypocrites, saying, “You are like tombs that have been whitewashed, which look beautiful on the outside but inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything impure. Just so, you also outwardly seem to people to be just and upright but inside you are full of pretense and lawlessness and iniquity.” —Matthew 23:27-28
They looked the part. They played the role. They religiously went through the motions. But they spent much more attention creating the outward standard than they spent following the inward standard. What is on the inside will show on the outside. Think about it this way: When someone gets sick with the flu and nausea takes hold, that person doesn’t need training on how to make what is inside…come out. The body knows how to do that all by itself! When you have junk inside—junk comes out. But in like manner, when you have Jesus inside—Jesus comes out.
I think the longer we serve the Lord the easier it can be to get caught up in the routine of religion. I have to fight that at times. I feel the pressure to be what I am expected to be outwardly even though I may feel totally drained inside. That is why we have to be careful not to put so much energy into keeping up the outward appearance that before long it’s just that—an exterior whitewashing to cover a withering interior. It is dangerous for a person or a ministry to be growing outwardly but shrinking in passion for Jesus inwardly.
If I sense my passion for Jesus beginning to fade, I fast. I can’t stress enough how fasting helps you regain the edge when you are growing dull. It immediately helps you get refocused on only those things that really matter, and cleanse yourself of the rest. Fasting helps you maintain the inward brokenness that allows God to make your outside match your inside. It’s living “inside out.” You don’t have to fake it on the outside when you are full of the Lord on the inside.