Cleanse Me from the Inside Out

by Beth Fore

grave, crypt

“Woe to you, teachers of
the law and Pharisees, you
hypocrites!  You are like
whitewashed tombs, which
look beautiful on the outside
but on the inside are full of
dead men’s bones and
everything unclean.  In the
same way, on the outside
you appear to people as
righteous but on the
inside you are full
of hypocrisy and

(Matthew 23:27-28 NIV)

Cleanse Me from the Inside Out

Holy Father, we ask You to hear our heartfelt cry.
May Your Holy Spirit intercede for us with groans,
for we are hypocrites like the scribes and Pharisees.
We are unclean and filled with dead men’s bones.

We spend much of our time on our outward appearance,
yet within we are filled with hypocrisy and iniquity.
We neglect the important things such as love and mercy,
and we pride ourselves on our works that all may see.

Father, we look like beautiful whited sepulchers.
We appear polished and clean in the sight of all men.
But our hearts are filled with extortion and excess,
and we are filthy and ugly and unholy within.

We are Pharisees, filled with selfishness and pride,
and we seek power, riches, pleasure and fame.
Help us examine ourselves and see us as we really are,
so that we repent of our sins and call on Your Name.

We ask You to tear down all of our self-made walls.
Help us to love our enemies and turn the other cheek.
Help us look only to You for inward strength and power
and ask for Your wisdom as Your truths we seek.

Father, we need the power of Your Holy Spirit
to lead us into Your truth and to convict us of our sin.
We confess the name of Jesus and we cry out to Him,
“Precious Savior, cleanse our hearts and purify us within.”

written by Beth Fore

*Jesus rebukes “religious” rulers, teachers, and Christians who are mostly concerned about their outward appearance.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!  You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean.”  (Matthew 23:27 NIV)

Many people are very concerned about their outward appearance.  Millions of dollars are spent each year on cosmetic surgeries to make people look more attractive to others.  Many people spend money they don’t have on fancy cars, stylish clothes, and beautiful new houses.  Many people are also careful to project a certain image of themselves as powerful, self-made, religious, wealthy, educated, cultured, etc., so that other people will see them in a certain way. 

Jesus calls these people hypocrites, whitewashed tombs which are beautiful on the outside but ugly and filthy and unclean on the inside.  Jesus confronts all of us to see ourselves as we really are, not as we would like to appear to be.

*God is concerned with our hearts, not our outward appearance. 

“Let your heart therefore be perfect with the Lord our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day.”  (1 Kings 8:61 NASB 1995)

God seeks out people who have pure hearts.  Because of our humanity, we are often selfish and self-centered.  We may do good things for others, but our motives may be to receive praise and recognition from other people.  We need to ask the Holy Spirit to keep our hearts pure and humble before God.  We need to examine ourselves and ask the Holy Spirit to help us become more like Jesus.  We do not have the strength, patience, and resolve to change many of our weaknesses without the help of God and his Holy Spirit.

God desires that we love Him and keep his commandments.  He also desires that we love other people and treat them as our neighbors.  It is only through the mercy and grace of God that we will ever be able to be pure in heart.  We must ask God to help us be more loving, obedient, benevolent, and gracious every day!


  1. Write down some of the Christian attributes you value most.  Examine each one to see if you are growing in these attributes.  If not, think of some things you can do to begin growing in these areas.
  2. Spend time reflecting on one of your weaknesses that you would like to change.  Think of some things you can do to become stronger in this area, and pray that God will help you change.
  3. What are some things that you want other people to think about you that are only surface, not heartfelt?
  4. Intentionally begin doing kind deeds for others secretly so that you do not receive any praise or acclaim.

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