I’m convinced that some of the most painful moments we spend with Jesus are when He brings us face-to-face with our own ugliness.  It’s in those moments that we are repulsed by insights we know in our core to be true.

I admit that I resonate with the thought of being on God’s anvil, as I know well the feeling of being hammered flat by the awareness of the corrupt condition of my heart.   I’ve been there, many times.

The truth is, it hurts to look at our inner ugliness.

But God has recently been reminding me of the benefit of being pure from the inside out – of having character in the small things that others may never see or notice but shape my everyday living.

The passage in Matthew where Jesus teaches the religious leaders about inner purity has been constantly playing in my head over the past few weeks.  “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far away.” {15:8} I can think of almost nothing worse than a hypocrite.  But the reality is, many times, I am one.

This thought alone drives me to want to clean things up.

A friend of mine recently told me something I won’t soon forget.  In fact, I’m not sure anything I’ve read lately has had quite this much impact.  He said,

I [think] what is destroying faith is not Satan. It’s [people who say they are believers that are catty on] Facebook. It’s rude drivers with a fish emblem. It’s the lady buying supplies for VBS in the summer, wearing a t-shirt for said VBS, that [pushes people] out of the way to buy some marshmallows.”

What my friend is talking about is the reality of what happens when we don’t live with the inner character of Jesus.  If we accept our eventual turn on the anvil, it leads to the necessary moment when we finally tilt our face toward God and let the truth of who we are compared to who He is hammer us out flat.

Friends, our epidemic is not being too busy.  It’s having an ingenuine faith.  It’s pre-occupation.  It’s calloused hearts.  It’s inner ugliness that hasn’t been attended to for a very long time.  Lots of us are walking around with things long unattended, and it shows.

When we desire clean living above all else, we face truth that will hurt.  But we open up opportunities to share Jesus by the beauty His character through us exudes.

Only then will our heart sing a song of freedom.

Only then will we love people well.

Only then will we please the heart of the God we worship with our lips.

I am pained by the thought of my ugliness.  But in the same way I am driven to a place of inner purity, where Jesus takes up the entire space.

May the ugly truth about who we are, drive us into the arms of our beautiful Savior, even today.