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Behind the Smile
by lynda ventura
2/08/2013 / Devotionals
"Create in me a pure heart O God and renew a steadfast spirit within me."
A woman sat in the dentist chair. The dentist looked at her with gentle eyes and said, "Nice smile, we're just going to do a few x-rays" The woman shifted nervously in her chair. Although her teeth looked great from the outside, she had some cavities and one tooth was even broken. Nobody could see them but she knew they were there. Fixing them would be painful process.
Some things look good from the outside, but insidewell, that's another thing. "There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies, and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers." Prov. 6:16-19
Sins are often like those icky cavities. On the outside a person can look like they are not engaging in any kind of sin, but on the inside it's another story. Some might even be inclined to look at themselves and say, "Ohat least I don't do what so & so is doing!" Ok, so you've just looked at another with "haughty eyes." Have you told a little "white" lie lately? Even though no one else may know you've lied...God knows.
It may start with something small, like Eve in the garden. Her downfall wasn't just when she bit the fruit. It all began with a look. "So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eye" Gen 3:6 She knew the fruit of that tree wasn't for eating but she looked anyway and she pondered it in her heart. The rest is historybut you see what I'm getting at?
Sins of the heart are silent. They pulse, dangerously, under the cover of our "good" behavior. No one can see them, but just like the woman in the dentist chair, you know they are there. And it will take some work for God to help you work through them. Sometimes that hurts. I know I don't always like taking a good hard look at myself in the mirror, but that's what I need to do to keep things real with my heavenly Father.
Like the dentist searching out that cavity, the process starts by asking the great physician, Jesus Christ, to x-rays our hearts. "Search me , O God and know my heart: test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way of everlasting." Psalm 139:23-24. The Holy Spirit will help us to identify our heart sins. Then we need to confess it to God. We need to be honest with ourselves and God.
The blood of Jesus Christ already paid the price for the things we've done. Great was the price. So don't give these ugly sins a chance to fester and grow in our hearts. God's word says, "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God." Matt. 5:8 Imagine seeing God? We will! Because we have trusted in the atoning blood of Jesus Christ, we have been given a new heart by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. God's word says, "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh." Ez. 36:26 We've been given all we need to walk with a pure heart. That doesn't mean we won't make mistakes, but it does mean we'll be accountable to God when we do by admitting them. God is always ready to forgive us. 1John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Because of Jesus Christ, God's gift of grace through faith, (Eph 2:8) we stand blameless before God. He sees us as holy and righteous.
We need to learn to look at ourselves through our Jesus glasses once we've come clean with God. Remember, it's about progress, not perfection. Someone once said, "We'll never be sinless, but we will sin less." Despite ourselves, we can live lives that glorify God. We can overcome the hidden sins in our heart because God is faithful to complete the good work He began in us. (Phil 1:6) That is enough to bring a beautiful smile to any face!
Lyn Ventura is a Christian writer from New England. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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