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Carrots or Cheetohs?

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You remove fine layers of film and dust from the outside of a cup or bowl, but you leave the inside full of greed and covetousness and self-indulgence.  You blind Pharisee—can’t you see that if you clean the inside of the cup, the outside will be clean too?  (Matthew 23:25-26 VOICE)

My BFF and I were walking after lunch the other day, crossing the area on our sprawling property at work in which we may occasionally catch a glimpse or two of some groundhogs poking their heads above ground, scurrying back and forth between dens, and looking for the occasional handout from passers-by.  We had been proceeded by a couple of other work chums who had obviously wanted to ensure the little critters had a good lunch.  Scattered all across the tops of the mounds were those small carrots you can buy these days, all peeled and about two inches in length.  Bright orange was evident on almost every active mound, but we didn't notice too many of those critters taking the brightly colored tidbits.  On the other hand, when my BFF and I have taken them out a bag of Cheetohs, also equally as colorful and vibrant atop their dens, those are snatched up in about 30 seconds!  We chuckled to ourselves, both thinking the same thing:  "They don't want carrots!  They want Cheetohs!"  Both are the same color, but one just catches their attention and tantalizes the taste buds a little differently than the other, right?  What appears similar is really quite different in both the appeal and the value.

In our Christian walk, we can all look the same on the outside - maybe not bright orange and brilliantly radiant like the carrots and Cheetohs atop those mounds, but quite similar in our outward appearance nonetheless.  The outside looks pretty close to the same, but the inside is quite different and each will affect the one who comes into contact with each of them quite differently, as well.  We both began to discuss how many times we encounter things (and people) in life that appear one way, but on the inside are quite different than what we expected. We have a tendency to "dress up" the outside to look quite good - like the Cheetohs promise to be by their brilliant color.  Yet, we have neglected to allow anything really "good" to have been added into our lives - much like the Cheetohs.  We settle for the appearance of good without the reality of anything good being there to affect our inner man.

While both the Cheetoh and the carrot will appear the same on the top of the mound - when the intake of one over the other is allowed, the outcome of what is produced is quite different.  I can eat a bag of Cheetohs, getting all that orange artificial cheese product to smear everywhere, but the outcome will be quite different than if I eat a bag of carrots!  In fact, I don't feel well after taking in the Cheetohs, but the appeal was greater than that of the carrots.  The appearance fooled me into thinking they were all right for me - but the affect of what we allow into our lives, deeply affecting our inner man, will one day become evident outwardly.  We may just not recognize it as having come from what we have "ingested" along the way!

We "dress things up" to look one way in our lives, when in fact they are quite different than what they appear.  We are creatures who have learned to masquerade one way, while the opposite is actually quite true about us - we are one way in appearance, another in actual performance.  While my BFF and I discussed the topic, she mentioned how much someone in her life was "supposed to be" a good Christian, but how little of Christ she actually saw exemplified in that individual's life.  This is truly a sobering thing to realize - that others are actually doing more than listening to our words - they are looking at our actions!  As Jesus chastised the Pharisee religious leaders of his day for looking all pious and proper, but obviously missing the "practical" application of what they taught acted out in their lives, we can fall prey to masquerading ourselves one way, but really not having that life-change occur on the inside. Maybe we'd do well to examine how we appear a little less and start allowing God to look at how we really are acting!  Just sayin!

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