You Pharisees are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy—full of greed and wickedness! – Luke 11:39

Jesus often didn’t follow Jewish customs. He went deeper on issues. Once when he was invited to the home of one of the Pharisees, he skipped the ceremonial hand-washing and simply sat down. This gave him the opportunity to make an important point, that the insides of our lives—our true motivations—need just as much attention as the outsides.

The Pharisees cared deeply about their religious commitments, but much of what they did religiously was for show—to be seen. They did everything right on the outside but neglected to clean up their own selfish and unworthy attitudes.

As we work to take our lives back, we must heed Jesus’ message. We gave up control of our lives in the first place by hiding or denying our true motivations. For instance, we may truly care about others, but our acts of kindness may also be motivated by how we want people to perceive us. As we take time to reflect on such mixed motives and focus on fixing what’s wrong inside, we’ll also become less and less reactive.

Ask Yourself
Think back to a recent time when you did something for someone else. Identify the mix of motives inside of you at that time.

Is it better to do something good from mixed motives or to hold back from doing good because you know your motives are mixed? What is an even better alternative?

Ask God
Father, I know my motives for doing good are mixed. Help me clean my “cup” by shining your light inside me. Help me respond to others with your love rather than out of the “filth” inside me.

Taken from Take Your Life Back Day by Day copyright © 2016 by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.