Jesus and Toenails

For the past 15 weeks, I’ve had to go to physiotherapy to rehabilitate my ruptured Achilles Tendon. Each week I have to soak my leg in a hot bath with jets, for 15 mins. What this means is that I have to take my shoe and sock off and reveal my bare foot to whichever onlooker happens to be around. It also means I have to keep my toenails well maintained; after all, they are on display.

There have been times, however, where I have forgotten to give them a little snip snip. Sometimes there are fuzzies from my socks. Although my toes are never too bad, there are those who have some gnarly looking nails. The kind that make you look away in horror.

It’s really easy to ignore your toenails. After all, when you wear socks and shoes most of the time, you don’t have to look at your feet. When you grow older or are injured, it is especially easy to ignore them, whether ignorance is by intention or not.

Jesus once said to the religious leaders,

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.
“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 the bones of the dead 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 wickedness.

All too often, we focus on the things that people see. When it comes to appearances, it is our clothes, hair, waistline. When it comes to the interpersonal, we smile, be friendly, compliment. There is nothing wrong with any of these until we neglect what we have hidden away, expecting no one to ever see.

We can focus on the perception of others to the detriment of what is happening on the inside. Just as I may look put together, but my hidden toenails are unruly, just as the Pharisee focused on the practices, rituals, and rules while neglecting their integrity and relationship with God. We can focus on the tangible while ignoring the intangible.

We need to set aside appearances and clip the toenails of our lives. Erwin McManus writes in his book Uprising, “If we are committed to being the genuine article, we’d first better look closely at what we’re made of. Authenticity without integrity is lethal.”

In a world crying for authenticity, we need, need, need, to have integrity. That means, dealing with what we have hidden.

I’m sure you have a junk drawer. In my house, we have about four or five… (I don’t want to talk about it). It is easy to stash things away and ignore the mess. However, it isn’t healthy. Ignoring a problem is only a temporary fix.

We must deal with the problem. Not hide it. Whether it be an emotional issue, integrity issue, or relational issue, eventually the sock has to be removed, and the toenails clipped, so to speak.

Pray and ask Jesus to help you. After all the Scriptures tell us,

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

Let’s find ourselves in God. We need to deal with…

Jesus and toenails

Check out the resources used in this post

Erwin McManus Uprising.p.67


The New International Version. (2011). (Mt 23:25–28). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
The New International Version. (2011). (Jn 15:1–4). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

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