The Big Cover Up: Deceived by Image

 “When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.” Matthew 6:5

A few years ago I had a revelation about deciding on my car I choice. I pondered the following thought: “Why do I care about how the outside of my car looks since I am not the one who will primarily see the outside?”

The majority of the time spent by the car owner is within the inside of the car. So then once the vehicle is purchased, my concern mostly turns toward its comfort level and whether the car will be reliable to serve its purpose and get me safely where I am supposed to go.

In general we do purchase cars based on looks, which leads to the following questions: “Am I focused on the outside because I am told how good it looks and it makes me feel good that someone else notices that I have good taste?” It is amazing how the marketing specialists have studied man enough to know the strings to pull so that we feel a compelling need for what they are selling. In this case, the puppeteer is tugging on the strings of human pride. It uses the “lust of the eye” to convince us to think we need something for ourselves that is in fact not needed. In all honesty, the attractiveness of the outside of a car doesn’t matter if the car is a shell and does not properly function.

I bet you probably know where I am going with this. The same holds true for the image we portray in our walk with God. Jesus said, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he”. What’s within is the true picture of a person no matter how much we try to mask it. The face we paint for others to see, the clothes we wear and the image we display means nothing when it comes down to our true state of being.

If I walk around in outward piety and false humility, this does nothing for me when a test of my faith comes. This deceptive image that I’ve spent so much effort on proves unreliable, a pretense of faith in God.

Consider the example of the fig tree. Jesus cursed the fig tree because it looked like it was ripe for fruit, but there was nothing when he hungered.

‘On the next day, when they had left Bethany, He became hungry. Seeing at a distance a fig tree in leaf, He went to see if perhaps He would find anything on it; and when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. He said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again!” And His disciples were listening.’ Mark 11:12-14 NASB

It is useless to spend time and effort in pretense and false spirituality, only for the sake of the acceptance and cheers from others. It is futile to spend time covering up what is really within, in order to appear a certain way. Don’t let the pride of life fool you into thinking that you need to present yourself as something you are not. God wants the best for you, He wants to give you your reward instead of man. He doesn’t want you covering up inner turmoil while outwardly appearing just fine. Spend the time to actually cultivate the inner man unto Christ, in the long run, this will be more rewarding.

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