Sunday, September 22, 2013

Change From the Inside Out

Many times we get a revelation from God or ask Him into our hearts initially and we immediately want to see changes. This need for instant gratification is a human response -- God knows that true change takes time.

Perhaps you decide to try to actively grow closer to God. So you sign up to greet at church and to work in the preschool ministry and to give food to sick and for other needs. All the time you expect to get closer to God. Sound familiar? It is exactly what I did.

However, what happens? If you haven't experiences this disappointment and time of being completely overwhelmed and exhausted, I will tell you from experience, it does not get you any closer to God. All it does is wear you out physically and mentally and stretch you too thin. All the while, God still feels distant.

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You see, we tend to try to earn God's love and His time by doing things we think will please Him, like working in ministries. But, our Bible is still dusty and unopened, perhaps only a prop which you bring to church and open when the pastor calls for it - now where is Hebrews in the Bible again?

If you are like me, you know in your head that you can't earn God's love, but my actions prove otherwise. We want to get close to God so we do something, but there is something more important to do first.

Psalms 46:10 -- "He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” [emphasis mine]

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When we want to change, we tend to start on the outside -- the part that people see. We subconsciously, maybe even consciously, want others to know, to see, that we are changing to make us feel better about ourselves. But this is superficial. It's like putting on perfume instead of taking a shower, or painting over holes in the wall instead of filling them in -- the truth comes out eventually. If you don't get to the heart of the matter, it will never truly change.

Matthew 15:18 -- "But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them."

I did this fairly recently with an issue of confidence. I put on (figuratively) a painted war mask so no one saw my worry or fear. I would approach people with bravery, even though I was shaking inside. I thought if I could just prove I looked courageous, I would feel courageous. The opposite happened. I began to feel weaker and less in control because my outside no longer matched my inside. I tried to put a band-aid on my problem, on my fears, instead of going to God, instead of receiving a true fix.

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I would love to say that the end of that story was that I realized my mistake, went to God and found my confidence in everything I did. That is not how the story goes, at least so far. I realized my mistake and went to God. Then He reminded me of how the enemy works and how He only want to steal, kill and destroy. However, God want us to have a fulfilled and joyful life.

John 10:10 -- "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

God doesn't want us to feel insecure or unloved or depressed, but we do. And when I was challenged about my confidence issues again I would love to say that I talked the enemy down and rose victorious in the name of Jesus. Again, I failed. I broke down and cried asking God why people are so cruel. His response to me was to remind me that he is in control of everything, even the evil. And that through Him we have the strength to overcome any evil.

Philippians 4:13 -- " I can do all this through him who gives me strength."

If your curiosity is peaked, or if you are going through something similar, I wrote more about this situation and what I learned in a previous post called Overcoming Naysayers and Strongholds.

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No matter how much we want to change, no matter what we try to do, if we don't take the time to communicate with God it is only superficial change and will not last. Even when we are communicating with God through prayer, quiet time and spending time in God's Word, it still takes time to truly change.

James 1:2-3 -- "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance."

God does not expect us to change overnight, and neither should we. We must take the time, make the sacrifice, and endure the trials to really see change. James says to "consider it pure joy" when we face struggles because it is only at the other end of them that we can look at ourselves and see change. This is how we gain a stronger connection with God. Change happens from the inside out.

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Dear Lord,
I know I am a mess, but please turn me into a message. I am going through a test, please help me endure to create a testimony. I cannot change in a day, but Lord please guard and guide my thoughts and actions to stay aligned with your will. I know things, but Lord help me to keep your perspective and enter into those avenues with a humble heart. Help me to reach out to others and advance Your Kingdom, not just so people can see what I am doing. Help me to get to know you more and walk with Your light shinning in the darkness around me. Help me to change from the inside out. Amen.

 Tales From A Mother - Daily Devotionals 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for sharing your story of change with us today at #828Blessings Amanda. I am guilty as well of trying to make changes from the outside in and forgetting that unless I go to God and start with myself first whatever I am doing for the benefit of people will be fruitless. I hope to see you again with us... Be Blessed :)