Have you ever used the phrase, “don’t judge a book by its cover”? What about, “beauty is only skin deep”? Both of these common phrases remind us that what we see on the outside isn’t always what’s on the inside. Looks can be deceiving and what you see may not be what you get. I’m sure you’ve interacted with people who, at first, look like they have it all together but eventually their true colors were revealed leaving others hurt, confused or disappointed. Men and women with true integrity are the same on the inside as they are on the outside. Their actions reflect a heart transformed by God.
MEMORY VERSE: “People with integrity walk safely, but those who follow crooked paths will slip and fall.” PROVERBS 10:9 (NLT)
Pharisees in Jesus’ time were the ones who looked good on the outside, did the right things and appeared to have it all together. However, Jesus could see their hearts. In both Luke 11:37-40 and Matthew 23:1-7, Jesus confronted the Pharisees and exposed their hearts for what they really were: selfish, prideful and broken. The Pharisees needed God to change their hearts just as much as the tax collector and beggar on the street. In Ezekiel 36:26-27, God promises to take out our heart of stone and give us a soft heart that loves Him and follows His commands. Only God can transform us from the inside out.
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Find the best looking cup(not clear), then fill it with something gross like dirty dish water. Then without showing your kids bring it to the dinner table. Once you are about half way through dinner begin to draw attention to your cup saying things like, “look at this glass, isn’t it so beautiful and great!?” Carry on about how good it looks and that it definitely is a cup you desire to drink from. Then drop the bomb! Show them all the yucky stuff inside, lead the discussion into what Jesus means in Luke 11:39 when He tells the Pharisees that their lives are like that cup.
In the car this week talk about how it is not just the law that makes us wear seat belts, but also because we know they keep us safe. Really help your kids see that while seat belts may seem like an annoying thing to have to put on every time you drive, it becomes not so annoying when we realize and believe the heart behind them is the fact that they keep us safe. So we wear our seat belts not because of the law but because it is a truth that they keeps us safe.
At bedtime, similar to the seat belt discussion, ask your kids why it is that we brush our teeth before bed every day. Help them to understand that brushing their teeth is the physical thing we do, because we know in our minds it keeps us from getting cavities! Ask, what are other things we do physically because we have come to understand on the inside that they are what is best for us?
At the beginning of the week make your family a promise that you will do something for them this week. Something like build a fort in the living room, or have a root beer float night. Make it a surprise when you do it, but be SURE to do it! As you are all enjoying the fun let them know that it was easy to live in integrity by keeping your word, because you love them and want to have fun with them. The love you have for them made it easy to live with integrity!
Thank God for replacing your heart of stone with a new heart & spirit. Ask Him to help you rely on the Holy Spirit when tempted to not follow Him inside, outside & everywhere so you can be a person of integrity.
Next week we will continue looking at the character trait of INTEGRITY. We will read about David and see how he revealed this characteristic through his story.