As Jesus was speaking, one of the Pharisees invited him home for a meal. So he went in and took his place at the table. His host was amazed to see that he sat down to eat without first performing the hand-washing ceremony required by Jewish custom. Then the Lord said to him, “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! Fools! Didn’t God make the inside as well as the outside? So clean the inside by giving gifts to the poor, and you will be clean all over.” Luke 11:37-41 NLT.

Being clean and presentable on the outside, your body, and appearance is important. But (being physically clean) is far less important than being clean and healthy internally, in your mind, will, and emotions. Many celebrities and teachers present themselves outwardly beautiful and seemingly without flaw, only to be full of darkness on the inside. We admire them, we long to be like them—don’t be deceived, for tomorrow these same perfect people will be in the headlines when what they’ve done in secret is shouted from the rooftops. Sin will find you out. A darkened soul is a prison—but there is hope for each one that will turn to Jesus. For God made the outside and the inside. His desire for you is to have a healthy, clean heart — not a darkened soul but one that is full of light and goodness. But how do I clean my heart? My outer flaws may be corrected with a shower, a diet, and some pushups, but how do I bring light to my inner darkness?

Generosity. But not merely giving because it is the right thing to do. Just giving won’t cleanse the heart or the body. Giving with the hand is important because many of the needs we are called to meet are physical; they require our resources, strength, sacrifice, and time. But only when the heart activates the hand do they cleanse the inner man. We can generously give to others directly from our heart as well. Praying for another who is hurting is giving from our soul, as is weeping with those who weep (soul to tears), and rejoicing with those who rejoice (soul to honor).

Giving is getting out of my head with all it’s self-consumed thinking, and having empathy for those around me. Then, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, sharing, supporting, and being there for people in time of need. The result? A clean heart and a soul full of light, and even a renewed physical body. In total, a life that brings glory to God in all things.

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