Wednesday, September 30, 2009



SECRET #18 is The follower of Jesus lives his life inside out. Jesus teaches this principle on many occasions, but the first time is in Matthew 5:20. He says: "For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven."

As I pointed out in the last secret, Jesus is not saying here to be more showy than the scribes and Pharisees were. He is actually saying that He is looking for you to go beyond or deeper than that external religious show and get back to the heart of the matter-internally.

In the Old Testament and quoted again in the New Testament God says: "I want compassion and not sacrifice." God, Himself set up a most extensive and pervasive sacrificial system, yet wants your heart of compassion. There is a natural tendency toward external religious motions. It's to show to others how religious you really are.

What God wants is a heart relationship and not an external religiosity. The external consists of man-made traditions and commandments. These are usually add-ons that either smother or nullify the essence of what God wants.

There is a theme throughout the teachings of Jesus. It's being before doing. Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks upon and evaluates the heart. This is what it means to live your life inside out. You are living your life before an audience of one-your Creator. Whatever is on the inside (being) will flow out into your actions (doing).

There is also the theme of salt (inner character) and light (external lifestyle). Your inner character of salt is required before your outer expression of light. This, too, is all about living life inside out. Lived out this way your life will be more credible, attractive and effective.

When you live your inside out-salt before light and being before doing, your life will become more and more like a fountain. People love to be around a fountain and enjoy it. People come to the fountain; the fountain is not taken to the people. This is the way you want to live your life-so attractive that people want to see and know more about where the center of your life really is. What makes you tick? What makes you so attractive?

I have often expressed that believers tend to move into a stance that has very little effect in changing their world. Believers tend to talk to themselves about the world or talk to the world about themselves. The favorite pastime of the church is to confess the sins of those outside the church. My favorite line is, "We are judging the world and talking to ourselves, when we ought to be judging ourselves and talking to the world!"

It's so much easier to busy ourselves with causes, but these 'good' causes get in the way of the 'best'-changing our world for good and forever! Bob Briner's book, SEVEN NOBLE CAUSES THAT KEEP CHRISTIANS FROM CHANGING THE WORLD, is right on target here! Check out the external, noble causes he lists: 1. Squabbling over prayer in public schools! 2. Making Jesus a right winger! 3. Thwarting the homosexual agenda! 4. Fighting other Christians over doctrinal purity! 5. Shutting down the abortion clinics! 6. Cleaning up television! 7. Fighting for family values!

These external causes are nothing more than deadly detours away from matters of the heart. It's all about external demonstrations for Jesus, but has little to do with demonstrating Jesus to the world.

We take deadly detours because they make us feel active and engaged. Why? Because it is so difficult to live your life from the inside out. It's so much easier to do something external and not really own it in your heart. To talk the walk is easy; to walk the walk is living like Jesus and that's tough. This is why I often say: "I'm trying to do the toughest thing I've ever tried to do in my life. I'm trying to following the teachings and principles of Jesus." This is why SECRET #18 is key: The follower of Jesus lives his life inside out.