Saturday, August 13, 2011

He Works from the Inside Out

Matthew 23:26 (NLT) "You blind Pharisee! First wash the inside of the cup and the dish, and then the outside will become clean, too."

What would happen if you decided to save time and money on dish soap by only washing the outside of your cups and dishes? You would likely get sick, leaving behind germs that are never washed away. The washing of the inside is actually the most important.

This is true of us as well. So often we focus on changing the outward behavior, failing to see that it’s what is within that motivates our behavior. If we continue to neglect the inner man, the outer man will never experience lasting change.

This is why we fail to curb our anger, stop our overeating, kick the smoking habit or whatever else it is that we want to change. Those are just outward behaviors that are influenced by our inner man. There is something much deeper within that causes someone to lose their temper, eat more than they should or light up that cigarette.

In other words, it is the inner man that needs to be washed. But we don’t have the ability to do that…this is the work of the Holy Spirit, cleansing us from the inside out.

This should cause us to breathe a sigh of relief, yet motivate us to reflect. We can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that it’s not in our hands to make those inner changes. But we should reflect on our relationship with the Lord and how much (or how little) we are allowing the Holy Spirit to work in our lives.

The working of the Holy Spirit is something that happens over a period of time. It comes from spending time in the Word, reading and studying it. It comes from seeking God through prayer. It also comes from taking advantage of other opportunities where we gather with other believers such as attending church, Bible studies, prayer groups, Sunday school, life groups, and the like.

But it doesn’t end there. Simply being a student of the Word or gathering with other believers isn’t enough. We have to live it. We have to be obedient. This many times requires stepping out of the boat and leaving our comfort zones. It definitely requires a complete surrendering of your life.

If you have been focusing on making outward changes, perhaps you need to change direction. Allow the Holy Spirit to begin to wash the inner man and then the outside will become clean, too.

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