Most of Christianity today is taught as an outside in kind of deal. Here are 5 skills to improve your marriage, 3 things you can do to be more disciplined, 4 ways to be a better parent, 7 steps to be the perfect aardvark owner.
That makes sense. The only problem is that it’s not what God teaches. In today’s reading (Matthew 23), Jesus seems to make it very clear that God’s plan is not to work from the outside in, but from the inside out: Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and the outside also will be clean.“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.
Now obviously they had some bad motives involved as well, but I think the point still remains. You don’t tack on changes on the outside, you focus on allowing God to change your heart, and then you watch as your actions follow. And I wonder how much things would be better if we all focused on the skills and ways and steps that allow God to change our hearts, rather than those that help us to change our behaviors?