In the art room, markers are the deceivers! You know what you are getting with a broken crayon or colored pencil that needs sharpened, and they are still usable. With markers...you can't really tell till you try to color with them. They look great on the outside, but looks are deceiving. I've had brand new markers color like they were old and dried out & markers that were a couple years old work like new. I test my markers a couple times a year to weed out the bad ones. They take up space in the box, slow down the process, and at times can damage the work by how they mark. No one had time in their life for dried up markers!
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 bones and 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.
If you continue to read this section of scripture, you will see the Lord has little patience for hypocrites. With good reason! If you ask those that don't go to church or who have stopped going to church why...they will often say that churches are full of hypocrites. You know what....THEY ARE RIGHT! We are all hypocrites...some of us more/less often than others. I'm not saying it is a real excuse....because the whole world is full of hypocrites...not just those who claim Christ. However, shouldn't the church be different? Of all places...shouldn't we be "WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET!" In being real, we show Christ & His work in us. Playing church, wearing a "mask", saying we're just "FINE".... all of these things play into hypocrisy that the Lord & the world deplore. By trying to be what we are not....TAKING UP SPACE - Those who are "rough" around the edges & seeking God will not see a place for themselves among all those mask wearing-church speaking-fine people. We need to be real with our own lives & struggles...so those seeking Him will see a place in our midst. SLOW DOWN THE PROCESS - Too often Christians get in the way of God's work by playing church instead of BEING the church. Non-Christians or new Christians are made to feel they have to speak, look or act a certain way to be a part of the "Christian Culture". Change is the work of the Holy Spirit...not the church. We need to embrace people where they are...and allow God to grow them in His perfect time! AT TIMES CAN DAMAGE THE WORK - I've seen non-Christians & new Christians develop major "issues" with church because of those in the church. The body of Christ should be a place where people feel safe...can trust...and do not fear being hurt by others. I admit, we are not perfect...and we make mistakes...sometimes BIG mistakes. However, we need to stop ACTING like Christians...and start BEING THE BODY OF CHRIST! People are attracted to those living authentic lives. Call it a white washed tomb...wearing a mask...or a dried up marker....there is no room for that in the church!
Dear Lord, help me to be real.
Help me to be the safe place for new believers & those seeking you to come. Allow me to live an authentic life that others see....the good, the bad, and the ugly, but most of all...YOU.
In Christ Jesus, AMEN