“I went to that new grocery store on Elm Avenue yesterday,” Stan began.
“Nice?” I asked.
“The store is great,” Stan replied. “Nice looking. Workers seem dedicated and knowledgeable. Produce, however, has a way to go.”
“How so?” I replied.
“I bought some apples,” Stan said. “Really great looking applies. Big and red. Couldn’t wait to bite into one. But when I did, I was sorely disappointed. Bitter and tart. Sweet and delicious was what I was expecting.”
“Did you take the apples back for a refund?” I asked.
“That’s where I am heading after you and I finish here this morning.” Stan responded.
Continuing, he said, “This whole thing reminds me of what the apostle Paul wrote at one point in his second letter to the church in Corinth.”
“What’s that?” I asked.
“About people who take pride in appearance, but not in the heart,” Stan replied. “Those apples looked really great, but they weren’t. Same with me. I can look good on the outside, but it’s the heart that matters.”
Continuing, Stan said, “Jesus talked about it to the Pharisees when He pointed out their hypocrisy of looking good on the outside but not being so good on the inside. Paul wrote about it in the letter I was focusing on earlier this morning. And the Holy Spirit talks to me about it all of the time.”
Concluding, Stan added, “If the subject gets that much attention, it’s obviously important and I need to pay attention. The fact is that just looking good doesn’t measure up to what God has in mind for me to be and to do.”
You will have an answer to those who take pride in appearance and not in heart. 2 Corinthians 5:12.
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. Matthew 23:25.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, that you want to create in me a clean heart, a heart that reflects you. I confess that too often I am concerned with what I look like on the outside without giving adequate attention to what’s going on in the inside. Please forgive me. And please lead, and help me to follow, in surrendering and abandoning all of me that is contrary to you and what you have for me to be so that I will, indeed, have the heart you intend. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Things to think (and journal) about:
1. What is your biggest take-away from this devotional?
2. What does this devotional say about God and about us as His people?
3. What is God saying to you to do personally?
4. Who can you share this with to make a difference?
Comments, questions, suggestions, and the like can be addressed to The Storyteller at: firstname.lastname@example.org.