Sometimes I get a most perverse enjoyment out of reading the way Jesus spoke to the Pharisees. I mean, these guys were the epitome of evil dressed in religion. In one of the most scathing rebukes leveled at these cultural and religious leaders of His day, Jesus nails them for a number of things, not the least of which was focusing on outward appearance in their “religiosity:”

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.
– Matthew 23:25-26

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But this morning, as I was enjoying my lethargy, wallowing in my apathy–calmly enjoying my quietquiet time”–I got smacked upside the head with a two-by-four as I read the above passage. There was no opportunity to be smug about the way Jesus had put them in their place. Earnestly, the Holy Spirit did the same with me:

You do this, child.
Do what, Lord?
You focus your attention on the outside of “the cup”–your appearance, your outward actions.
Well, Lord, I guess that is because that is what everyone *sees*…and I care about what they think of YOU based on what they SEE me do.

Child, is it really ME you are concerned about? Or what they will think of you?
Ok, so this is where I stopped…and conviction grew…and I knew the truth. In fact, I know my over-eating and my over-fixating on outward appearance is very much connected with the concepts Jesus referred to: greed and self-indulgence. What honest person who struggles with over-eating doesn’t think these two words describe it accurately?

In spite of recommending to others to focus on growing intimacy with the Lord and to get their eyes off of their size–the scale, their clothes, etc., — I, apparently, have been focusing, too, on the “outside of the cup.” Not only that, but I seem to claim that my focus is specifically for the sake of my “testimony.” Jesus said, “Hogwash!”

It is time for me to renew my commitment to cleaning the inside of the cup, to invest again in the *within* part of “Thin Within,” to invite the Lord to eradicate greed and self-indulgence in my life.

So the question is, what will I DO with this conviction? Where will I go with it?

If you have experienced this conviction, will you share here what God has led you to do to get your eyes off of the outside of the cup and to be more concerned with cleaning the inside of the cup?