Have you ever known someone who loved to clean their car meticulously or make sure that the
landscape of their lawn is picture perfect? Yet, this same person may neglect the maintenance of the
inside of their home because it is not necessarily what others see. They take great care of what is visible
from the outside. Yet, they do not show the same concern for the things that require attention on the
inside. This can apply to our very own souls. We may dress ourselves up in pretty clothes, shiny shoes,
makeup and even put a smile on our faces. However, we avoid the sometimes unpleasant but necessary
job of cleaning up our insides. In other words, we may spend more time looking good on the outside
while our inner being is showing signs of neglect. Jesus warned us not to follow the example of the
Pharisees and teachers of the law in Matthew chapter 23, verses 25 through 28.
“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.
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs,
which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything
unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are
full of hypocrisy and wickedness.
As a follower of Christ, we must spend time intentionally in the Word of God and prayer, seeking His
wisdom and guidance in purifying our inner being. In order to grow and mature in Christ, we must
nourish our souls daily. This takes discipline and obedience to the Holy Spirit’s direction as He reveals to
us the areas in need of specific attention. Perhaps, He has shown you a particular issue that needs to be
addressed, as He has for me. He revealed to me that I have an issue of pride. I was a little started by this
revelation as I truly believed I was quite humble. However, He showed me because I do not like to ask
others for help that is an issue of pride. I would not have known that, had the Holy Spirit not revealed it
to me. I was not able to make the correlation on my own. As I yield to the Holy Spirit as my guide, I am
able to address this issue and choose to change my behavior accordingly. It does not happen overnight.
It is a process that takes time and attention. We partner with the Holy Spirit, as we cannot make these
changes on our own.
The Lord wants us to live a life of worship unto Him, which takes our whole being. In order to be whole,
we must allow Him to prune us, to mold and shape us into what He created us to be. Serving Him
requires complete obedience and this comes at a cost. We may lose things that have brought us
comfort. Often times, we get comfortable in our complacency. God uses us when we choose to get
uncomfortable, allow the pruning, the stripping away of things that do not cultivate our growth. He
knows what is needed to grow us, strengthen us and equip us for the work He has prepared for us to do.
When we follow the Lord, boldly by faith, without concern for comfort or what we might lose, and fully
trust in His sovereignty and infinite love for us, God can use us greatly for His purposes. First, we must
seek Him, yield to His Spirit and cooperate with the work that needs to be done in and through us. As we
walk in step with the Spirit and learn to deny our flesh, His desires become our desires. As we endure
the painful pruning process, we are strengthened in our faith and choose to obey without hesitation. We
have great heroes of the faith to give us examples of how to trust and persevere when things may look
Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the
altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by
what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to
him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. You see that a person is considered righteous by
what they do and not by faith alone. James 2:21-24
Let us clean the inside, grow in character so that we may be used greatly by the Lord.
Pray and ask for wisdom.
Yield to the Spirit.
Obey His direction.
Prepare for the pruning.
Do not fear the process.
Trust God to strengthen and equip you.
Move forward in faith.
Help others to do the same.
Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us Your Holy Spirit to guide us and show us what needs to be
stripped away to give us clean hearts to serve You. Thank you for loving us enough to give us all that we
need to grow and mature in Christ so that we may accomplish all that you have for us to do. Lord, help
us to not fear the process of being pruned and sometimes stripped of the things that make us feel
comfortable. Help us to trust You to know what is best for us at all times in every season. May we come
to know You better and walk in all your ways. May we never hesitate to choose obedience even when it
is difficult. Help us to remember that You are not only sovereign and immutable but also loving and
compassionate. Your goodness and mercy follow us all the days of our lives. As we end this year and
enter into a new one, show us where You want us to go and what You want us to do. Help us to hear
You clearly so we can move by faith. We give You all the Glory! In Jesus’ Mighty Matchless Name, Amen
Written by Lanette Black, IWM Blogger and Intercessor