Looking Inside

Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith. 
2 Corinthians ‭13:5‬ ‭NLT‬‬

One of our favorite family movies is “The Lion King”. Now, our grands can enjoy the re-release. At one part, Simba struggles with responsibilities that are before him . . . is he strong enough? Is he able to be all that is required of him? Can he do what he is tasked to do? Mufasa’s image comes to Simba and says, “Look inside yourself, you are more than what you have become.”

At different times in our lives, we may experience comfort and ease or chaos and economic struggle. In each of these times, at every turn and at every intersection of doubt and destiny, we need to look inside to see what God is doing and how He is working in our hearts.

We are challenged to examine ourselves . . . or look inside . . . on a regular basis. Eugene Peterson in his paraphrased work, The Message, reminds us of Paul’s thoughts, “Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others.” (Gal 6:4 MSG)

As we look inside, we are reminded that as God touches us, we touch others. As we look in, we begin living out. Here are some thoughts on looking inside and living outside . . .

We Bless Others Because We Have Been Blessed. In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul reminds us that we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus (Eph 1:3). When we look inside at all the ways God has blessed us, we are able to be a blessing to others. Wise King Solomon reminds us, “Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.” (Proverbs 11:25)

We Love Others Because We Have Been Loved. Jesus deliverers and demonstrates love . . . He is love. We are told that we love, only because we have been first loved by God. (1 John 4:19) As we walk in this life, opportunities come before us each and every day to show love and to share the love of God. The disciple John reminds us that there is no fear in love (1 John 4:18). If fear is present, love is absent. And, if love is experienced, fear has exited. Our healing can be another’s hope. Steve Maraboli writes, “A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.”

We Give Because We Have Been Given. John reminds us, “If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person? Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.” (I John 3:17-18 NLT) We give . . . following the example of God. The beloved disciples writes, “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.”(John 3:16 MSG) He loves . . . He gives!  We love . . . we give. If we are not giving, we are not loving.

We Serve Because We Have Been Served. The heart of a believer, of a Christ-follower is seen in one who serves. Jesus says, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45 NLT). He did not come to be served . . . but to serve . . . and He has given us that example to follow.

Inspirational writer and speaker, Israelmore Ayivor writes, “The only way to make a damaged machine work again is to break it down, work on its inner system and fix it again. Screw out the bolts of your life, examine and work on yourself, fix your life again and get going.”

Peterson gives some insight, “Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don’t drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular checkups. You need firsthand evidence, not mere hearsay, that Jesus Christ is in you. Test it out.” (2 Cor 13:5 MSG)

Give yourself a checkup. Take a look on the inside . . . Blessings . . . Loving . . . Giving . . . Serving. Through Christ, you are more than what you have become . . . test it out.

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