By: Hannah Arrowood
Titus 1: 15-16, "To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. They claim to know God but by their actions they deny him." (NIV)
Three generations sat around a Christmas tree enjoying the company of loved ones. The children were beginning to get fidgety as their thoughts wandered to their wish lists as they tried to guess what was in their gift that sat under the tree.
Finally, after what seemed like decades, the time came to open presents. The oldest child, around eight years old, patiently allowed her younger siblings to receive their presents first. As each child opened his or her present, the oldest became more anxious about what her present would be. Her siblings were getting everything they had asked for. The excitement was building; she was dreaming about the things she so desperately wanted.
Soon enough, the time had come for the eight-year-old to receive her present. As she slowly began to open the neatly wrapped present, she tried to hold back the excitement. As the paper ripped, her mind wandered to what was inside. She finally reached the inside…Her eyes filled with confusion as she realized the contents of the wrapping paper. How could this be? All the other kids sitting around the tree were elated with joy over their gifts. Why in the world would I receive this gift: a box of Cheez-Its?
Stumbling to find words, the eight-year-old muttered the words, “Thank you, Nana,” fighting back the tears. After a moment, the grandmother burst into laughter, realizing her grandchild truly thought she received a box of Cheez-Its. She went on to tell her grandchild to open the box – look inside.
Slowly, with tears filling her eyes, the child proceeded to open the box. Inside…well, it did not exactly match the outside. Inside this box was exactly what she wanted: a digital camera!
The family laughed until their sides hurt. The precious child was not amused, but soon found the ability to laugh at the situation. This innocent child quickly realized that the outside does not always show what is on the inside.
Can you imagine being the eight-year-old girl? Trying to hold it together and be respectful as you process the fact that your Nana got you a box of Cheez-Its (or at least, that is how it appeared)? Are we like that with our lives?
Does our outside match our inside? In the case of the Christmas present, the inside was better than the outside. My fear is that too often the situation is the opposite.
Our behavior is a mega-phone, speaking loud and clear about what we believe. If people were to watch your behavior, would they see a box of Cheez-Its, or the camera? If we take a look at the words in Titus, it refers to both the mind and conscience being corrupt. Thoughts begin in your mind and turn into actions. Your conscience is your guide, directed by the Holy Spirit. If your conscience is corrupt, then there are no red flags waving to alert of potentially harmful behavior. Your thoughts very quickly turn into your behavior.
A lot of people claim to know God. However, claims are nothing without actions. Each of us could claim to be something that we are not, including a Christian. His Word is a guide for our life. Check yourself: does the outside match the inside?
Sweet Jesus, I desperately want to ensure that my actions speak to the truth of who you are. Please help me to put filters in place as I strive to be pure in heart. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, deal with me when I stray. In Jesus' name, Amen.
1 Peter 2:12, “Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world” (NIV).
I have a challenge for you. Gather a few close friends who are believers. Be cautious – who you ask is important. Be sure to ask friends who will hold you accountable to the same qualities and characteristics that God commands. Ask your trusted friends to evaluate you on the following areas: 1) The way you talk, 2) The way you live out your faith, 3) How you are with boys, 4) How you dress, 5) How you are with your parents.
Rating should be on a scale from 1-5, 1 being: Major Problems, 5 being: Outstanding.
Sometimes we see ourselves in a completely different way than others see us. Does your inside match your outside? Does your talk match your walk? Get ready to find out – this could change your life!
Who Am I? Practical Truths in a Deceiving World. By Hannah Arrowood, available summer 2011.
What “faith” filters do you have in place to help eliminate your conscience from being corrupt?
As the founder of Designed2Shine, author and speaker, Hannah Arrowood desires to encourage the next generation to faith inspired beauty. She travels around the country speaking to groups on authentic beauty, modesty and purity, striving to make a lasting impact in girls’ lives. Understanding that a girl’s confidence will affect all aspects of her life, Hannah points girls to a secure foundation in Christ. She resides in North Carolina with her husband and two daughters. For more information on the ministry, visit: www.HannahArrowood.com
Living with Purpose: A Radical Revolution ∙ A Ministry of Lynn Cowell
www.RadRevolution.org ∙ Lynn@LynnCowell.com
© 2011 Hannah Arrowood