I do not know many people that would walk into a restaurant and when your server comes to take your drink order would say, “I’ll have a lemonade, dirty glass please.” You could imagine the look on your dinner guest’s face, the server’s face, and any onlooker’s who overheard you’re order face. I likely would be looking at you like, “Did they just order what I think they ordered?” You can also imagine all eyes on you as the server brings you the glass and a straw. They’d intently look at you lift the cup and drink in sheer disbelief that you would publicly drink out of a dirty glass.
Needless to expound, I’d guess that readers would conclude that it is socially unacceptable to get a fresh drink out of a dirty glass. Why then, to the mature, do we expect folks to experience the thirst quenching goodness of Jesus Christ out of our lives, if we are ourselves a “dirty glass?” Let me expound…
In Matthew 23:25-26 Jesus is addressing a group of people who know the Word of God. They can quote scripture left and right, the have it committed to memory. These are the people who will check you QUICK if you misquote a verse, if your skirt is not long enough, or if in your spiritual growth journey you do not cross every t and dot every i. Yet, these same people will give you the death stare if you sit in their seat in church, cut them off in the parking lot, and they will cuss you out if take them “out of their religion.” Now I am sure by now you are in the Amen corner whispering to yourself all the reasons why you do not go to church and justifying why you go your own way on your personal journey with God. Allow me to pause you. The verse states:
“25 “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. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.”Matthew 23:25-26
Beloved, you and I are not above rebuke in this matter if there is any greed and self-indulgence on the throne of our hearts. God wants you and me to focus our time and effort on being clean on the inside. The outside will take care of itself. Inwardly, I used to have a very bad habit of complaining. I would complain about work, singleness, how people have wronged me, and the like. It felt good to unload my complaints on whomever would listen. I felt justified when they would affirm my broken thinking and say, “You are right! They did you wrong! I would be upset too!” It would almost feel like a chemical release of joy when my complaints were affirmed. BUT, when I would complain in one breath, and in the next breath try to tell someone about the goodness of Jesus Christ, they could not receive it. Why? Because I was pouring Living Water out of a dirty glass, making the Living Water tainted by a broken perspective. I began to get so sad that I couldn’t get through to my friends about the love of God. Well, it was because I complained too much. Simple answer, stop complaining, right? Wrong. I had to change my heart towards my circumstances. I needed Jesus to give me the mind of Christ:
He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.-Isaiah 53:7
2 Corinthians 4:7-11 New International Version (NIV)
7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body.
Philippians 2:5-11 King James Version (KJV)
5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
In a nutshell, I had to go LOW and thrive there. I had to start enduring trials like a good soldier. I had to start letting God give me His heart and allowing Him make me more like Him in the way I thought and spoke and responded to adversity. This dying allowed me to truly “Count it all joy when you fall into diverse temptations,” James 1:2-3. When I cleaned the inside of me, authentic words of life came out of me and listeners heard and felt them. Listeners became doers of the same Living Water (Word) that transformed the inside of me, because, they really saw that it transformed the inside of me. Overtime, they saw on the outside that I had really changed on the inside. They were able to receive what I was pouring and their thirst for Truth was quenched.
When was the last time you cleaned the inside of the cup? Today is a good day to start. God wants to use you to the maximum potential. He won’t serve up Himself out of you if you are not a clean vessel. Let Him clean that area that only you and Him know about:
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.-1 John 1:9
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