I don’t clean my windows often. Ok that’s an understatement. Not counting yesterday the last time I cleaned them may have been right around Christmas. Upon cleaning I start out right. I have my paper towels and I have my Windex. I clean the inside first and then move to the outside. Only the same problem occurs every time I clean windows. After I’ve cleaned the outside I notice that I missed smudges on the inside so I go back in and try once again. Before my windows are smudge-free I’ve went in and out a few times.
I have made it my goal to get into the habit of seeing God in all situations. Even window cleaning shows us about Him and his precepts and how they relate to any and everything we experience. While I was cleaning I wondered to myself why I don’t clean the inside of the window really well in the first place thus making cleaning the outside easier. You see when I really don’t do a thorough job cleaning inside I go back and forth searching for the location of the stubborn smudge. Is it inside or out? Jesus had something to say to the Pharisees about their useless clean- up act.
I believe the Pharisees thought they were in the clean-up business. They felt it their obligation to reveal sin-smudged lives. With their tassels, dressed to draw attention they vocally identified your every imperfection while boasting that their law abiding way was the way to pure living. In modern day I can imagine that in place of the tassels, they would be wearing a t-shirt with a logo or driving a mini-van with a self-promoting advertisement. They would have to have an infomercial too. Have you ever noticed on infomercials they have the one item you need but it’s followed by……and that’s not all several times over? Before you know it, it’s not one item but a whole line of products that will make your life better. In chapter 23 it says “They tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger.” Just as many products sold on infomercials are ineffective, the way to right living is not solved by subscribing to products or following a twelve page pamphlet. Often there is more concern with the profit one might receive in selling than the blissful effect a product will have on one's life. Moreover the Pharisees, according to Jesus, loved having somewhat of a celebrity status; being in the seat of honor for their works.
The Pharisees, though seemingly conceited and completely lacking compassion, still play a beautiful part in the unfolding of God’s marvelous plan. You see their job wasn’t to clean up sinful lives. But just like the law given back in the time of Moses, the Pharisees revealed how imperfect we all truly are. In fact, they became the shining example of imperfection. They revealed that no matter your fervor in practicing and teaching the law, we still lack in following it perfectly.
Jesus refers to the Pharisees as “blind fools”. In verse 26 of Matthew Ch. 23 Jesus says, “First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside will be clean”. Inside cleansing requires the work of a professional and there’s only one. Perfect Jesus, at our prompting removes every smudge and stain. Upon his death on the cross he cried out “it is finished”. Our eternal penalty and record of sin is gone. What remains are bad habits and wrong choices stemming from a lack of Jesus dwelling inside us. Don’t get me wrong, He never lacks. It’s just that we take little time making room for more of him inside us. We often want to curb behaviors and quit bad habits in our own strength and by our own prescription. We even listen to other so- called authorities out there telling us" how to stop smoking in a week” or “how to get your children to mind in ten days”. Clean out your cabinets. God has made it simple. He has said, “First clean the inside……and then the outside will also be clean”. If only cleaning windows was so simple.
Side Note: I tried to take a picture of smudges on my windows to go with this devotion, but there were none 🙂