We recently attended a writers conference (by the way, it was wonderful) where an interesting point was brought up. When a cover of a book is designed, particular attention should be paid to the spine since it is usually the only thing that shows when a book is on a bookshelf. When a reader is looking for a good book, the binding of the book will catch their attention and cause them to stop and read the title, then pick up the book to look at the entire cover and read the back. The cover is the first point of focus.
Consider for a moment the advertisements we see on the television. We’re drawn to the cleverest and most appealing presentation of products. It’s those we have a tendency to look for when we shop. The best labels. The brightest colors. The most appealing packaging. The advertising industry makes its living on our judgment by appearance.
Jesus, however, teaches us something totally different. Matthew 23:26 says, “”Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.” He knew men judge by the cover without paying much attention to what’s inside. We are all too often concerned about how things look, so much so that we take more time cleaning and preparing that which is outside than we do that which is inside.
I’m reminded of the Psalmist as he wrote: “God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; to see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.” (Psalm 63:1-2) The Psalmist is desperate to cleanse the inside of his vessel first, not only first, but EARLY in the morning. He longed for that encounter with the Father every day so much so that he likened his heart to a dry and thirsty land yearning for the heavenly outpouring.
As we learn to prioritize our time, using it wisely with more focus and attention on what’s inside the “cup and platter,” we will find that we will outwardly begin bear a glorious resemblance to our Father, an appearance that will be noticeable to all with whom we interact.
Take the Psalmist’s advice . . . seek Him early EVERY DAY. It’s a worthwhile priority that has eternal consequences.
Father, help me to respond to Your gentle nudge every morning as You invite me to take care of inner cleansing first as I spend time in Your presence. Lord, teach me to always keep my priorities in order, regarding my time with You as most important in every day. In Jesus’ name, by His blood, for His glory I pray . . . amen and amen.
© Jan Ross
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