Christianity 201

September 2, 2013

Cultivating The Inner Life

Where we live, Labor Day weekend marks the kickoff of the school year, and therefore, the official beginning of a new season in educational, personal, business, and church life. This blog post seemed most appropriate. Jim Williams has not been writing consistently, so this appeared back in February at his blog The Journey, under the title Better Every Day. I think it’s equally important for this time of year.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Cor 4:16-18 (NIV)

‘Outwardly we are wasting away.’

One look in the mirror exemplifies this truth. Physical beauty fades and youthful vitality wanes.

‘Inwardly we are being renewed every day.

Inwardly we are getting better every day. Renewal of spirit and inward refreshing are experienced by those who embrace Christ-like living.

The choice is ours …

a) We can live focused on the ‘outward life’ but the Bible warns us that this only leads to despair and destruction.

b) We can live focused on the ‘inner life’. The scriptures tell us that when we do this we can live a better life every day. This is in spite of any natural decay of our outward life. The inner life can get better, fresher, newer every day.

It starts with spiritual renewal and rebirth.

John 3 recounts the incident when a religious leader named Nicodemus visited secretly with Jesus in the middle of the night. Jesus told him that to experience the kingdom of God one must be ‘born again’. He wasn’t speaking of a physical rebirth but of a spiritual rebirth. You and I can experience this new birth by acknowledging our need as sinners, and making Jesus our personal Lord and Saviour.

Sometimes when we feel life is not improving, or things aren’t getting better we get discouraged. This portion of scripture encourages us that when we are tempted to lose heart remember these three things:

1) The inner life is more important than the outer life.

2) Things that are of eternal consequence outweigh things that are temporary.

3) Natural circumstance is temporary but spiritual reality is eternal.

There are many voices that are vying for our attention. The natural, outer life continually tugs us away from the better life in Christ.

It is constant and will not cease until we step into eternity with Jesus. It is something we must deal with daily.

How does one keep themselves focussed on the more important inner life?

The best way I know is to practice ‘Everyday Faith’. The fellowship of which I am part, The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada, is encouraging its members to do just this by combining the following four habits. ( Below is a brief summary:

a) Read every day.

– Hebrews 4:12 “ For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double- edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

– The truth is that when we engage scripture, we engage God. Engaging God renews us internally.

b) Pray every day.

– Phil 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

– Prayer is conversation with God. Conversation with God energizes our spiritual life.

c) Give every day.

– Acts 20:35 Jesus said “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

– Practicing generosity with our finances, time and resources help us to focus on eternal values.

d) Share every day.

– There is something about sharing our faith that brings joy to the one who is sharing.

We are unable to stop the ‘wasting away’ of our outer life. It is happening and it will continue.

We do have the opportunity to embrace the renewal and refreshing of our inner life. We can experience the joy of getting better every day when we embrace life in Christ.

Q: What does it mean to you to have an inner life that gets better every day?