Saturday, January 7, 2012

From the Inside Out

Hello and welcome to The Warming House! You might want to turn down the music on my playlist at the bottom of this post before playing this video. :)

In my first post in this series, I shared that there are people rejecting Christianity because of the hypocrisy and lack of transformation they see in the lives of professing Christians. When we live "from the outside in", we allow the culture to determine our attitudes, thoughts, and behavior. I can tell you for certain that when I lived predominantly from the outside in I was pretty miserable. I didn't realize God wanted a personal, moment-by-moment relationship with me. I kept a tight grip of control on my life, tried to find significance in the world's eyes, and went down a path making choices I deeply regret. In many ways, I was "lost" as a Christian.

Living from the inside out . . .

There's a key scripture from a letter Paul (a follower/apostle of Jesus Christ) wrote to the Christians living in Philippi. It encapsulates what it means to live from the inside out.

Paul told them - 

"So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you; both to will and to work for His good pleasure." Philippians 2:12-13

Don't misinterpret this scripture. It isn't telling us to work for our salvation. It's saying that:

~When we receive salvation as we surrender to Jesus Christ, God begins to work inside us. 

~As he lives and reigns at the center of who we are - He changes us by His power.

" . . . for it is God who is at work in you . . ." 

~God's purpose is to work in us to make us look like Jesus (Romans 8:28-29). It's a lifelong process.

~The changes God works inside of us are meant to work their way out to our behavior, conduct, and lifestyle. God wants us to put into practice in our daily living the changes he is working within us.

This is living from the inside out.

So if God's power is at work in Christians, why is there a lack of transformation in so many? From my own life and mistakes, I believe the problem is a lack of surrender. Too many of us want to maintain control of our own lives. We're afraid to give God control and hold him at arm's length so there's no way he can work freely in us. 

Let me tell you that when we let him in and give him control, everything dramatically changes. There is intimacy with God that we never thought possible.  In that intimacy, we experience the astounding greatness of who he is. And I do mean greatness. He is so immense in his goodness, sweet love, power, constant faithfulness, unending mercy, extravagant grace, infinite knowledge, and life-saving compassion that it is impossible to find words to describe him adequately. We want more of him. There is nothing else that satisfies us like he does. My life is so very different since I've surrendered and given him complete control. I will NEVER go back to the way things were before. He is my healer, protector, defender, strength, hope, joy, peace, rescuer, comforter and great love of my life.

God is the only one who has power to bring true change in our lives. Letting him reign at the center of who we are is the answer for true life change, fulfillment, peace, power for living, authentic joy, freedom, and the ability to accurately reflect his heart in the world.

Imagine what the world would look like if Christians were to bow their knees to our awesome God and begin living from the inside out? How would our culture change? How would our churches change? How would our lives change? Would people be attracted to the beauty of Christ in us? It all begins with you and me. Will you give God control and begin living from the inside out?

Bowing my knees . . .


Series on living from the inside out will continue . . .