One of my favorite verses in the Bible comes from Matthew, chapter 6, verse 33; “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” One of the reasons that verse impacts me so much is that it does an amazing job of simplifying a truth we tend to complicate. We learn that instead of concentrating on all of the worries of life; instead of taking our eyes off of God and striving in our own strength to make sure we have our physical needs met, we should turn our attention to just one thing: seeking first his kingdom and his righteousness. If we do, Jesus explains that the very thing we were worrying about will take care of itself. There is another saying from Christ that helps to simplify a truth we tend to complicate. It comes from Matthew, chapter 23, verses 25 through 26, where Jesus says:
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.”
So, just as when we seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness, we don’t have to worry about our physical needs, if we focus on cleaning our insides, we won’t have to worry about our outsides. Many of us spend an enormous amount of time making sure that we appear holy and righteous. We can participate in highly visible ministries and Christian activities. We can learn to speak using all of the right Christian words and phrases. We can dress formally and modestly making sure we don’t have a hair out of place. We can make every effort to appear as though our Christian walk is impeccable. But in Matthew, Jesus called the Pharisees who did that, “hypocrites”. Because though they looked righteous on the outside, it was their insides that were dirty; it was their insides that were full of sin. He told them to clean the inside, then the outside would take care of itself. We need to heed these words as well. We need to concentrate on our insides. We need to make sure that our heart, or our insides, line up with the character of God. If we do, the outside will clean itself.
Have you ever met a physically attractive person who looks amazing on the outside, but when their personality is revealed and you find out who they really are, you are repulsed? In your mind you might’ve wished that the inside of the person was as attractive as the outside. You may have felt disappointment because you didn’t find what you were expecting. When it comes to our spiritual walk, we need to concentrate on our heart first. As Jesus says, we need to make sure that we “first clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean”. I encourage you to spend the majority of your Christian efforts working on cleaning the inside of yourself, or cleaning your heart. That is what matters most to God, and that is what should matter most to us. Because when we are clean on the inside, people will be genuinely attracted to the outside as well. It may not be an attraction that can be seen with the naked eye, but it will be a much deeper and a more genuine than mere physical beauty.