Inside out

Jesus taught us that what a man is on the inside is God’s primary focus.  This is the fundamental difference between religion and Christianity.  Religion is always the performance of external rituals, the conformity to external codes, and the meeting of external requirements.  Many have turned their Christian experience into a religion by substituting the meeting of man made requirements for genuine transformation by the Holy Spirit.  If you really want to examine your walk with the Lord, you must somehow search your heart.  This is not quite as easy as it sounds.   Our sinful nature quickly masters the art of self justification.  You must set aside time to pray for God’s own perspective on your soul.  You must honestly ask yourself how you measure up to the teachings of God’s Word.  A good exercise for this is to slowly read Matthew 5 through 7 as a prayer guide.  As the Spirit speaks to you about a sin or shortcoming stop and confess it.  Ask God’s forgiveness.  Ask also His help in correcting wrong attitudes or actions.  Take your time in doing this.  It is noteworthy that this “Sermon on the Mount” in these chapters begins with matters of the heart.  In fact it is a soul searching sermon all the way through.  Believers who thoroughly examine their hearts can be more effective than those tirelessly busy with church work who are filled with all manner of corruption.  In fact, even lost people can easily identify those professing Christians that are all about appearance, but are unchanged on the inside.  They readily and rightly conclude that such people are no better than themselves.  Even the eternal destiny of those who operate solely by external appearances is in question.  “These people honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.”  (Isaiah 29:13)  There is no more devastating deceit than to be self deceived.

Dan Wooldridge

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