PASTOR'S PEN: A rotten inside

The two large orange fruits were brought into the house and set on the table. One was tall and oval-like while the other was shorter and bigger around. Sitting side-by-side they could have been the heads of Bert and Ernie. These two fine-looking pumpkins were about to have faces carved into them and put out on the porch for the upcoming weekend. But before you carve a face in a pumpkin you have to dig out the insides — insides that can be used to make other delicious foods.

The tops were cut off each one and the two girls began to dig out the guts of their pumpkins. The first began putting hers into a bowl to save for future delights. The second, however, was abruptly stopped by her mother. “We’ll have to separate yours from the other pumpkin.” Why was that? Inside her pumpkin there were definite brown spots beginning to form. The pumpkin that looked so good on the outside was beginning to rot from the inside. It may not even make to Saturday.

I’ll admit that, to me, both of those pumpkins looked like fine specimens on the outside. I actually thought the short one looked a little brighter, but, in reality, it was rotten on the inside. In the famous “Sermon on the Mount” found in Matthew 5, Jesus makes this statement, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”

One who is pure is genuine inside and out. This isn’t someone with a pristine outside and a rotting inside. This is someone who genuinely loves God and their life is all about Him. They keep themselves from sin —publicly and privately. God isn’t just a part of their life, He is their life.

Those that are like our rotting pumpkin remind me of the church in Ephesus in Revelation 2. Christ says of them, “You have persevered and have endured hardships for My Name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken you first love ... If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.”

The Ephesians were doing what they should. They knew the Word of God and didn’t tolerate those who were wicked, but in their hearts their love for God had grown cold. The outside seemed pristine, but the inside was rotting. They were no longer seeking after God. They thought they could maintain purity without Him.

One who is pure in heart recognizes this character trait is impossible without God. Our hearts are “deceitful” and “desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9). We cannot be perfectly pure in heart on our own. A person who is pure in heart seeks after God and depends on God to cleanse him or her. Jesus Christ says that those who do this will see God. He will cleanse them and make them pure, as only He can do.

Have you asked God to purify your heart? When He does you will find an amazing God who will cleanse you and show you a truly authentic life — from the inside out.

Other passages: Psalm 51, 1 John 1:9, John 10:10