Is God being reflected on the outside AND inside of your life?
While I was washing dishes one day, I was talking to God and I was asking him to speak to me…and he did! He was like a teacher explaining things to me, and I want to share it with anyone who will read, because my hope is that it will help someone as it did to me.
So there I was washing dishes, scrubbing everything inside and out. (Not a fan of dishwashers here??.) And it occurred to me, when God is transforming and renewing us, he also cleanses us from the inside FIRST, and then on to the outside. Because one sided cleanliness is not cleanliness. We know that our perfect God is not just going to work on us from one side, and leave us half done, that’s just not God, he is the actual perfect one. As imitators of our savior Christ, we are to reflect him as much on the outside as we are on the inside. In fact, it is important that our outside reflect him, because this is the first part of each other we all see…and let’s be honest, sometimes we be judgin’ by what we see. By our everyday actions and attitudes our lives should demonstrate God’s love towards everyone.
Many people put in hours praying and reading the Word of God, but you wouldn’t know it unless you witnessed them in action. People like this will believe they are taking care of their heart and feeding their soul. The problem is they are really just concerned with keeping up their appearance. Maybe physically as well, but that’s not the appearance i’m referring to here. I’m talking about that pride for appearances that says “I know more about the Bible than you. I am a better Christian than you.” That mentality right there shows to God and others, there’s something stained on your inside…and it’s leaking to the outside. There are some people that have been going to church a substantial amount of time in their lives and they think there is nothing new they can learn, yet by their attitude, they seem like they don’t know God is love. Have you met people like this? Are you like this? I pray that this may not be said about any of us.
How could we be able call ourselves followers of Christ and be the same person since having first decided to follow him. That’s like saying you’ve been working out for a year now, but your physical appearance still looks the same, no change at all on the outside…what’s the point in working out then? Doesn’t matter if you’re trying to lose weight or gain muscle, it’s impossible to not have a physical change from working out, because that is the point. Well, it’s the same way with our spiritual life. When we’re actually feeding our souls to grow in Christ, we will see growth. God will work with our hearts and minds, and our outward actions will reflect this change that has happened inside of us.
Have you ever known a grumpy old person in church? (*Raises hand!) I just don’t get it. It’s something that I’m just at a loss with. How can someone who’s been to church most their life, and now being of old age just be so grumpy? The Bible tells us in Proverbs 16:31- Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained by living a Godly life. It also tells us- I will be your God throughout your lifetime—until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you (Isaiah 46:4). Well I just always figure that the more I age as a Christian, the more joyful I will be. Just as someone who consumes any type of worldly knowledge gets smarter on the subject with time, we too must grow to become more like the Lord with our time spent following him. It is something that should automatically take place in our lives when we are on his path. The only one that can stop that spiritual growth is ourselves. We decide what we feed ourselves, and depending on that, we either bear good or bad fruit, and God don’t like bad fruit!
See, we can soak up a lot of Godly knowledge and store it inside our hearts and minds, but if no action or living proof comes forth on the outside, what is the point of reading the Word, or going to church? We can pretend in front of others like we’re living a Godly life, but if in secret we are watching bad things, listening to bad music…etc, what is the point of pretending to love God? A heart truly after God reflects an obvious Christ filled life. People love to say about themselves, “I’m different…I’m unique…There’s no one else like me…blah blah” I mean that’s obvious, we’re all born different. Normal is being different, and being different is normal. We are called to reflect Christ, and I want to be Christlike. That’s the word we should use to describe ourselves, or at the very least to describe who we’re trying to be like. Why such a need to point out we’re different, such a vague word, why not instead point out “I’m trying to be Christlike.”? Why can’t that be written in our bio’s on social media? Is it maybe because at that point, we give ourselves accountability? Responsibility? Whoa, we don’t want that. That’s too much pressure. At this point, we just want to be kinda “different.”
Luke 3:8- Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.’ That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones.
Picture someone asking you this, “If you were accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?”
As Christians, we need to have continual growth in spiritual maturity. In Ephesians 4:15-16 we read that growing spiritually is automatic when we live the Word (Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.) It’s not simply reading the Bible that gives us growth. If we don’t have a desire to please God, we don’t truly love him like we say we do. We can’t reflect him if we don’t love him. To love him, the change has to start inside of us.
The order of change happens from the inside out. Proverbs 4:23 tells us everything about us starts within our hearts, (Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.) Also in Matthew 15:18-But the words you speak come from the heart—that’s what defiles you. Another example is found in Psalm 16:9- No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety. Here David is saying that the joy he feels stems from his heart first, and as a result, his flesh is also glad. The order is clear…from the inside then out. If our outside has a blemish, we can be certain that it is leaking out from the inside, from our hearts.
So if you don’t feel joy in your heart, pray for it. When there is no desire to go to church or learn more of God, ask God for the desire. God is faithful to give when we ask him according to his will. And it is most certainly his will that we desire him. He wants to sweep us off our feet, we just have to let him. It won’t happen from one Sunday to another. But as long as we are faithfully obedient to him whether we feel like it or not, spiritual growth is a sure thing. As a matter of fact, especially when we do as he desires us to do in spite of our feelings, that right there is spiritual growth itself, that is nailing our sinful nature and desires, to do the will of God. We have to soak up the Word, which is our living God, and live it daily. We should be doing our honest best to be like Jesus, because if that’s not what we’re trying to do, why bother claiming to be a Christian. Let us remember that the King of Kings and Lord of Lords is the one who invites us to be with him. We have been given a personal invitation by the King.
This is my prayer,
My Father, thank you for seeing the best in me. Consume me from the inside out Lord. You are the water we can drink from and we’ll never be thirsty again because you are forever. Teach me how to keep your word in my heart, that I may not sin against you. That your living Word may overflow from within me and come pouring out for all to see you in me. Guard my heart Father, and seal it for you alone. Keep drawing me closer to you, because I want you close to me. Thank you for your unfailing love and for pursuing me always. I want to choose you everyday over and over again. I want people to know you, through me. This I pray in your name Jesus, Amen.
Proverbs 16:31 (NLT)
Isaiah 46:4 (NLT)
Luke 3:8 (NLT)
Ephesians 4:15-16 (NLT)
Proverbs 4:23 (NLT)
Matthew 15:18 (NLT)
Psalm 16:9 (NLT)
—(KJV) Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.