The Outside and the Inside
“If you fill up the heel of that shovel, the toe will take care of itself.” I’ll never forget those words spoken to me by one of the older workers on the crew. Of course, they were all older than me, a college student with a summer job on a pipeline construction crew. His message to me was that if I did the hard work then the easy work would take care of itself. Fill up the back end of that shovel, and the tip of it will be filled as well.
In our Christian walk, we sometimes look for short cuts, easy ways, and try to make things look good without having them actually be good. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for this approach to their obedience since they concentrated on the outward appearances of the law but inwardly were still full of wickedness. Jesus reminded them that God made both the inside and the outside of the person.
So which is the hard work and which is the easy? Well, it’s easy to make a good showing, but it’s difficult to really change the inner person - the real you. I can get myself to the worship assembly but sit there wishing I were hooked into a big bass or home with my coffee and Sunday paper. When the preacher talks about sharing the gospel with someone, I mentally run through my list of well-worn excuses and wait for those comforting words: “...then we will be dismissed in prayer.” I might even lead a prayer in the assembly but never breathe a word to my heavenly Father the rest of the week.
The old self with its passions, lusts and evil desires must be put off and the new self must be put on (Colossians 3:5-15). There is an inner renewal brought about by the Holy Spirit of God to pursue righteousness and love in the image of Christ. Sinful and selfish deeds must be replaced with those which show sincere compassion and kindness toward others. Christ now rules my heart - not me.
“If you fill up the heel of that shovel, the toe will take care of itself.” If you let the Holy Spirit cleanse you on the inside, your outward actions will take care of themselves. Guaranteed!