I know I have trusted Christ but I feel like a hypocrite. I put on my church face, but I’m really not that person. I’m not sure what to do.
This question couldn’t come at a better time. We are right in the middle of Lent — and whether or not your church practices it, preparing our hearts through repentance, prayer, and fasting is good for all of us. We will soon remember the death and burial of our Savior, and celebrate His resurrection on Easter Sunday. This season is not one to be glossed over, but experienced fully. What a beautiful time to stop and reflect on who you are in Christ and where you need to go from here.
There was a commercial on TV several years back that absolutely captured my attention. It featured a man who was fastidiously attentive to the exterior of his house, down to the last stray leaf on his meticulously trimmed shrub and the careful polishing of his shiny brass door knocker. Every single hair on his head was in place and his suit was smartly tailored. He arrived home (still looking completely put together), and having tended to the last detail outside, opened the front door and entered the house where, conversely, there was no care given whatsoever to the broken down furniture, the moldy food growing in the refrigerator, the dirty dishes stacked everywhere, or the piles of unopened mail.
This has to be the best illustration ever of the person we try to present on the outside versus the person on the inside, suffering from lack of attention to the interior life. Recently, a friend praised me for being a person who, even though life has dealt some tough blows, continues to seek the Savior. While the words were kind and appreciated, I’m not so convinced they are entirely true. This commercial hits me where it hurts – I am guilty. I am the person who tries to look my best on the outside but can easily fall short on the inside.
Take some alone time to consider these questions:
- Do I devote daily time to worship and prayer?
- Do I seek forgiveness when I am wrong and quickly grant it when I am wronged?
- Am I involved in a community of believers?
- When is the last time I completed a meaning act of service?
- Do I force feed the hole inside my heart with food that does not satisfy, trying to numb an inner ache with artificial substitutes?
Housecleaning, from the inside out, is what we all need to be regularly about, in every area – spiritually, mentally, and emotionally.
Lord God, please help this dear reader and all of us as we give extra attention to the scrubbing and rearranging of our interior lives, particularly during this Lenten season. We want this effort to be superintended by You, not us. Our inner houses can be quite a mess and we need Your help to clean them up, reorganize, repurpose, refocus, and redirect the activities that happen there, reenergizing us for the work ahead.
Do not be shaped by this world; instead be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you; you will know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect.
– Romans 12:2 (NCV)
Suggested reading: My Heart Christ’s Home by Robert Boyd Munger