“That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith…” Ephesians 3:16-17a
I guess it’s a standard greeting or way we speak to one another, but have you ever noticed how when you ask someone “How are you doing?” they tend to tell you all sorts of outer things? They’ll say something like “Well, I’m tired” or “I’ve been so busy lately.” Sometimes you’ll get the occasional “I’m fine”, but I would venture to say most of the responses are based on how they are doing in the natural or fleshly realm. Very seldom if ever will they respond with “Outwardly I’m wasting away but inwardly I’m being renewed day by day.”
It seems the more I study the scriptures the more I discover God is more concerned with the well being of my inner man than whether or not I’m physically tired or busy. In fact, His word promises me peace even in the midst of the daily rigors of life.
The Bible says, “You will make known to me the path of life; in your presence is fullness of joy; in your right hand there are pleasures forever.” (Psalm 16:11) It doesn’t matter where we are on the map physically what matters is living with the consciousness of his presence. We can be at work, in jail or in the hospital waiting room and be right where he wants us–full of joy. This doesn’t mean we don’t feel uncomfortable or irritated it means even in the midst of the trial we can have joy.
In another familiar passage of the Bible the 23rd Psalm we read. “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies…” Wow! Right there in front of the enemy God provides what we need! The enemy can give us his worst, but if we are living from within, where we are joined to the Lord, we can continue to find sustenance.
I know this may sound a little out there to some, but this is the type of life God wants for us. He wants us to learn to live from the inner man and not be so led around by our outer circumstances. While we have feelings and thoughts we might not like or even feel excruciating at times; he has a way of keeping us in and through it.
A new guy joined us in our small group Bible study at the jail. He told us he had been locked up for two years and he received twenty. He said, “I have to do at least eight before I am considered for parole.” He’s probably in his twenty’s, but you could see there is a light in him and a peace that only Christ can give. He told us when he first went to jail he prayed “God, why am I in jail, if you get me out of jail I promise I’ll …” He said it was almost an audible voice he heard say back to him “How many times have I heard that?” It was at that moment he stopped praying selfish prayers and started praying for his mom and family. Now he is at peace. He is content to stay in jail as long as God sees fit. He told us he’s involved in fifteen Bible studies right now and you could tell by the way he talked and his countenance Christ has taken up residence within him. Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying we all have to be involved in fifteen Bible studies but I think he’s come to realize what is most important in life isn’t what’s going on outside but being strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man.
Written by Louie