Monday, March 15, 2010

The Good Lookin' Dead: Seeing Ourselves As We Really Are

Matthew 23:27-28
"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 dead men's bones 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."

So, I can't seem to get this stuff off my mind.  If you gritted your teeth through my last Christian-bashing post, be prepared for another rant.  But remember, these rants are more for myself than for anyone else.

I mentioned in my last post that a pastor by the name of Frank Damazio came to our church last week for a conference.  Really, his message was a challenge toward reaching our city with the love of Jesus.  But there is one thing he mentioned briefly that has not left me.  It challenged me, and I just can't get it off my mind.

During one part in his message he asked everyone to think of three words that described their church.  Then he polled the audience.  The main word everyone raised their hand for was the word "Evangelistic".  Then he asked: "So, how many of you came to know Christ because of this church?"

Silence.  Maybe two, three people raised their hands.  "Not very many", he said, "according to the numbers, your church is not evangelistic.  You may think you are- but you're not".  Ouch.  Straight-forward.  Sobering.  But real....

I was challenged that evening, more than anything, to learn to see myself as I really am....not as I think I am.  That's difficult when you've spent most of your Christian life building up an image for yourself.  An image that looks good on the outside, but deep down on the inside- God knows the truth.

I believe I am ministry minded.  I believe I am focused on Jesus....that I give Him my all.  I say I have a passion for the poor and a desire to serve the broken.  I talk about my love for reaching the unsaved with the love of Jesus....but is that the reality?

How many times have I shared the gospel this year (the gospel I pretend to be so passionate about)?  Three.  How many days do I spend serving the poor lately (the poor and the needy that break my heart)? Once a month.  How much of my money do I give to the cause of Christ (I say I give everything....) but in reality- 10%....and maybe, on a good week....11.

I'm exposing myself right now....and it doesn't feel incredible, let me tell you.  I'm exposing myself right now because I want to learn to be real.  I don't want to be a white-washed Pharisee, pretending to be amazing on the outside, but really hiding the selfishness and sin within. I don't want to be a good lookin' woman who is really dead and unclean deep down inside. 

What good is it to appear like a beautiful Christian on the outside?  What do I get for it?  The praise of man, maybe....but even that only lasts a little while, and at the end most people can probably see right through it.

I want to be a Christian that is REAL.  But in order to get that way, my outside has to match my inside.  I want Jesus to "whitewash" my heart.  To get expose the sin and the selfishness that lies within.  To uncover the self-righteousness that gives me a false sense of security.  To teach me how to really walk the walk before I start to talk the talk.  I want Jesus to make me real, to make me clean, from the inside out.

I challenge you, see yourselves for what you really are.  You say you have a heart for missions?  What are you doing to serve the many different ethnicities in your community?  You say you want to give God your life- how much of your wallet are you giving to him?  You say your heart breaks for the lost?  How many people have you shared Jesus with this month?

Let's get real with ourselves....and let's get real with each other.  But most importantly, let's bear our vulnerable and naked hearts before the Lord and give Him permission to clean us from the inside out.


  1. Great post Debra. Very true and I must admit I'm guilty! I really believe God is grieved over what the church has become. It really has become about us rather than Him and what is important to Him - lost souls. We have to return to true Kingdom living. Keep writing. Good stuff.

  2. I really do appreciate your thoughts. The good news is that the church as it is, is not necessarily the church that WILL be when Christ comes....because we have time change now...what a challenge. Lots of work to be done, but it starts with each one of begins with me.

    Thanks for reading, and for your thoughts!


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