The most natural tendency in us all is to just try harder to act in a way that smells sweet. To dress ourselves up. To act the right ways with each group of people we interact with.
The problem with behavior modification is it leads to hypocrisy. The only motivation we have is to look good, and to have a veneer of spirituality. That’s exactly the kind of religion the Pharisees were living out—dressed up on the outside, but inside they were rotting. Jesus put it this way:
These are harsh, direct and confrontational words. He takes it seriously when His people attempt to behave without belief. To put on some cologne or perfume, to cover up what really is going on inside.
It brings us back to what we’ve been saying in these past few posts: “A fragrant life that reflects the beauty of God’s Kingdom starts with heart transformation.” It doesn’t work the other way around.
Our job is to stay connected to the vine (John 15). God will produce through us fruit of the Spirit.
“The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like … But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:19-23 NIV84).
Pray right now for God to take control of those areas where the sinful nature is having its way, and to take over your inner life by the power of His Holy Spirit.