Scripture: Proverbs 26:23, ‘Like a coating of glaze over earthenware are fervent lips with an evil heart.’
Observations: There is some debate whether the original Hebrew refers to ‘like a coating or glaze,’ or ‘a coating of silver,’ but whatever the case it doesn’t change the meaning of this proverb. The idea is that just like a pot may look good on the outside doesn’t mean that goodness goes all the way inside. So people who say good things, or speak with passion or fervour, doesn’t mean they don’t harbour evil intentions in their heart. The next few proverbs talk about how ‘a malicious man disguises himself with his lips, (v24)’ and ‘though his speech is charming do not believe him. (v25)’ Proverbs is intensely concerned with the condition of our hearts. Our outward lives are meaningless if our hearts aren’t in the right place. Jesus refers to the Pharisees as whitewashed tombed – they look good on the outside, but on the inside they were full of rottenness and death (Mt 23:27-28). It’s so easy to say and do what people expect to hear and see, but not have a personal relationship with God.
Application: Does what comes out of your mouth flow from what’s in your heart? When you come to church to worship God does it flow from your love for God? When you encourage others does it flow from a genuine concern for them? God knows what’s in your heart and he wants a heart that is fully devoted to him, a heart that trusts him, a heart that is genuinely repentant. I want to encourage you to examine your heart and confess anything that is dishonouring towards God.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, I confess that my heart is not pure, that there are still sinful attitudes and desires in my heart. But Lord, I desire to honour You, and so I ask that You wash my heart clean, that You fill my heart with Your Holy Spirit, that my heart might become fully yielded to You. Lord, my life not just look good on the outside, but may it flow from Your Spirit living within me, that my attitudes, my thoughts and my actions might bring glory and honour to You. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.