Not Just Outward Appearances | Daily Devotional | Ellel Ministries UK
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Seeds of the Kingdom

Not Just Outward Appearances

by Malcolm Wood

13 September 2011

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How terrible it will be for you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs- beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity. You try to look like upright people outwardly, but inside your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness.
Matthew 23:27-28, NLT

Over the last few weeks, time and weather permitting, I’ve been decorating the outside of our house. With the help of scaffolding, areas of the property hitherto unvisited by me have been inspected, rubbed down, painted and varnished. All this is an attempt to preserve our home and enhance the appearance of it.

This made me think about our bodies? Much time and many millions of pounds, dollars or euros are spent these days choosing, buying and applying various creams, gels, oils, foams, powders, liquids and lotions to them, in an attempt to maintain and enhance their outward appearance.

Whatever the amount of time, effort and money we spend on caring for our body it’s only one of the three parts which give us our identity. What about the other two - our soul and our spirit? It’s well worth remembering that these need care and attention too if they’re to be maintained, and function as they were designed. It’s important for us to function effectively as a whole person. That’s what God intended.

It’s so easy for our minds to get into overwhelm, as we battle with the constant deluge of data which is thrust at us in one form or another. Our spirits likewise are involved in the hustle and bustle of daily life, trying to achieve, please, provide, progress or just survive. Our spirits get damaged, stifled and crushed, and need attention.

In our busyness and tiredness we allow things into our lives such as wrong thoughts, attitudes and actions, which in turn produce bitterness, resentment and jealously. These contaminate and spoil us on the inside. Neglecting to deal with these areas eventually causes us to be less effective for God.

In the verses quoted above from Matthew’s gospel Jesus strongly rebukes the religious leaders of His day for paying so much attention to the outward appearance of their lives and neglecting the inward aspects.

Jesus offers rest, refreshment and restoration to every part (body soul and spirit), for all those who have ears to hear and are prepared to make the time to receive from Him. ‘He lets me rest in green meadows; He leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength’ (Psalm 23:2).

Prayer: Dear Lord, Please forgive me for so often concentrating on preserving the outward aspects of my life and neglecting the inner parts. Help me to make time to receive from You all that You have to refresh, restore and renew me from the inside out, to Your honour and glory. Amen.

Malcolm Wood and his wife Anna became part of the Ellel family as House Managers at Ellel Grange in 1990. Since then they have been involved with many aspects of the developing Ministry. From 2001 until 2015 they were Directors of Ellel Scotland where they hosted several International Schools and Operation Blairmore and helped pioneer the exciting Creative Inspiration Weeks. They have three sons.

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