Sunday, August 28, 2011

More Than Skin Deep ~

The other night, my husband was craving pistachios. Fortunately, he still had a few left in the bag he had purchased earlier in the week. Unfortunately, these pistachios had been left behind for a reason. Most pistachios have a crack in their shell, making it a cinch to get to the delicious nut waiting inside. No struggles. Just pry open the shell and enjoy!

This poor, rejected handful of pistachios was “crack-less”. Getting to the nut inside was going to require some work. And so, my husband set out to “divide and conquer”.

“Hey, Honey,” he asked from the living room. “Do we have a nutcracker?”

Ummm…I don’t think so,” I replied.

Thus the struggle began.

I watched as he looked here and there trying to find just the right tool for the job at hand. Finally, he spotted it: a small axe resting on the hearth. With axe in hand, he went to work. And, it was obvious, by the look of determination on my dear husband’s face, he thought all of this hard work was going to pay off.

WRONG!

When my pistachio loving man was finally able to get to the heart of the first pistachio, he discovered it had no heart at all. Inside, he found nothing but the remnants of a dried up nut.

To say he was disappointed doesn’t do it justice. He just looked at me and shook his head. Immediately, I thought of the following scripture:

You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You’re like manicured grave plots, grass clipped and the flowers bright, but six feet down it’s all rotting bones and worm-eaten flesh. People look at you and think you’re saints, but beneath the skin you’re total frauds. Matthew 23:27-28, The Message
“Nothing but a whited sepulcher,” I said. (King James Version)

Looks great on the outside, but the inside is full of death and decay.

This is how Jesus described the Pharisees. Through their actions and their pompous ways they gave the appearance of being spiritual. Unfortunately, their religious experience was only skin-deep. Their heart still remained untouched, unchanged, and lifeless. To quote Jesus, they were “frauds”.

When it comes to our walk with the Lord, the heart of the matter is the matter of our heart. Until we have surrendered our heart to Jesus, it remains untouched. Jesus desires to change us, to make us new, to re-create us, but this change must begin in our heart. He wants to take out our stony, dead heart and replace it with a heart like His.

When others look at me, it’s not my outward appearance I long for them to see. I don’t want to be praised for regular church attendance. I don’t want to be known for my religious ways. No. I want the world to see Jesus in me.

reflection
(Photo Credit)

This is what the world is in search of and so desperately in need of, yet sadly, all to often, seeking souls are disappointed and disillusioned by discovering some Christians are nothing but a fraud.

Heavenly Father,
You are looking for authentic Christians and so are those who have yet to come to know you. Lip service and merely going through the motions is not what you desire. You desire our heart. Pour out your Spirit and give us a heart like yours. Remove the death and decay, the sin and self-righteousness, and fill our hearts to overflowing with YOU. May our identity, who we are, be lost in WHO YOU ARE. When others come to us in search of you, may they not be disappointed. May they find in us, the true lover of their soul, YOU.
In Jesus’ name, Amen~




Today, I am linking up with Jen at:

9 comments:

  1. What a wonderful illustration God gave you with this story about the nuts! This is so thought provoking! Thanks!

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  2. Hi Stacy - I love that - the heart of the matter is the matter of our heart - so true. Another great post.
    God bless
    Tracy

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  3. Stacy, I'm SO glad I found your blog through Jen's link up! You're a beautiful soul. I too LONG for others to see Jesus in my. In my words.

    I see Him through your words. Thank you.

    Mel

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  4. love the word picture drawn from a real life illustration! and ouch---don't want to be cracked open only to find myself looking like that pistachio :-)
    thanks for the sharing.
    steph

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  5. I definitely don't want to be an empty nutshell! I love it when life teaches a lesson.

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  6. I love your thoughts here. I so desire to always have a crack -- to be easily opened instead of self-protected and hard. May we all learn together how to stay soft and vulnerable.

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  7. Praying that prayer along with you. Authentic -- it's want I want to be. Not a carbon copy of someone else but truly a reflection of Jesus.

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  8. How often I've had that happen to myself. Until someone puts pressure on me and I crack it's not obvious I'm missing a rich, meaty heart on the inside. Good reminder!

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  9. Me, too! I want that, too ... Amen.

    I love the photo you've used to illustrate this post ... Oh, to reflect God's majesty and beauty!

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Thank you for leaving a "heartprint" of your own.