We see it all the time. We probably do it ourselves. Family, friends, and churches may unknowingly encourage it. We change “outside-in”. We attempt to clean up our behaviors and attitudes by trying harder to be a better person in the eyes of those around us, including God. But that kind of life change isn’t deep and likely won’t last. In order to authentically live our faith, we first have to let God transform us on the INSIDE, and then our OUTSIDE behaviors and life will follow. We should change “INSIDE-OUT”.
How does God begin to transform us? He starts with our “forever” and works backwards.
Miss this first step and you’ll be stuck in the “outside-in” rut for a long time. Here it is: He loves us so much that He wants to spend eternity in heaven with us. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
However, we all do things that oppose God – we sin. In the Bible, Romans 3:23 says that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” He is absolutely perfect and can’t stand sin. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death.” The consequence of our sin is death – spiritual separation from God in a place called hell.
The second part of Romans 6:23 has the solution: “but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” God required a perfect sacrifice to pay for our sins in order to restore a right relationship between Him and us. He sent His Son Jesus as a sacrifice for our sins. Jesus lived a perfect life and had no sin. When He died on the cross, He took on all the sins of the world and died in our place, paying the price required by God the Father on our behalf. (More at AnEternalImpact.com/First-Things-First.)
We don’t have to clean up our lives on the outside before we establish our faith. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Romans 5:8 says: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
After our “forever” is solid, and our relationship with Him through Bible reading and prayer starts to take off, we’ll find that our behaviors and attitudes start to change. Some change will be almost automatic, but other change will take deep soul searching and work with God to change our hearts. The eternal payoff is great: we will be transformed and live our faith, showing and telling others about the greatness of our God.
Faith starts with a relationship with God. He is the one who transforms us from the “INSIDE-OUT”. Once He truly captures our hearts from the INSIDE, we can start truly living our faith on the OUTSIDE.
Image credit: FlowingFaith.com