The Inner You

I’m sure you’ve heard before that we have to change the inside us so that we can be happy with the outside us. I think I have heard this topic discussed on numerous television talk shows. Plus, who even wants to continue to dwell on something that is so hard to change.

It’s so much easier to change the outside appearance. Think about it…new hair cut, new clothes, dieting and exercise, all these things are quick fixes to spruce up the old you. But, does it really matter if all those things change yet you’re still empty and wondering hopelessly on the inside, searching for meaning and purpose.

Maybe you struggle to love or to be loved. Perhaps your weakness is forgiveness of yourself or maybe forgiveness of others. Whatever element you struggle with on the inside eventually makes it way outside, polluting everything you have worked so hard to achieve for your perfect outward appearance.

Let’s face it, we all have skeletons in our closets and for some reason we like to hold on to all of our old baggage. Go figure. But is this really a healthy way to live? Writing over one hundred years ago, Christian health pioneer Ellen White says in her book Ministry of Healing, page 73: “Many of those who came to Christ for help had brought disease upon themselves, yet He did not refuse to heal them. And when virtue from Him entered into these souls, they were convicted of sin, and many were healed of their spiritual disease as well as of their physical maladies.” So, it seems that some of our disease comes from the sins of our souls and plagues our bodies to become diseased as well. Wow, I don’t know about you, but if that’s the case, I’ve got a lot of work to do!

Where do you think your soul healing needs to begin? What’s your secret struggle? Speaking personally, I find that whatever my weaknesses tend to be spiritually is usually the root of my unhappiness.

One example: I am really bad at forgiving people. Yes, I am one of those people who will hold onto a grudge till I go to my grave. Really bad I know! I always secretly wish I could be like my husband…a slap on the cheek and he will turn his other cheek, plus he still won’t have a problem being your friend. He always says, “Karene, people deserve second chances.” And my reply is usually, “No, they don’t.” I have always felt that once a person has truly proven themselves to me….good or bad…..than that is the judgment I pass. Yeah, it’s a bad approach, but it’s something I’m working on: to forgive even when I haven’t been asked to forgive.

Proverbs 15:30 declares: “A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body; jealousy is like cancer in the bones.” I think the word jealousy could really be replaced with just about anything like greed, envy, hatred, poor self-esteem, fear, etc. Anything that is the opposite of God’s true intentions for us is like having a terminal disease. We ourselves cause our bodies to rot and decay. But, a peaceful heart can lead to health. What a concept! So, now the question is how do we find peace? The world wants us to believe that you can only find peace within. However, the Bible contradicts that in Ephesians 2:14: “For Christ himself has brought peace to us.” In Philippians 4:7 we read: “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

It’s hard living in this world and focus on inward beauty. To take the time to refine our souls into something that is worthy of Christ and that will bring lasting joy in our eternal home can be a daunting task. Mainly because the focus is always taken off God and brought back to us. And the inward beauty the world wants us to achieve is all about self and never about the glorification for God. It really is a sad state in which to live. Thankfully God looks at each of us individually and when the world judges us by our cover we know God’s view is of the hidden part of our souls that no one else can see. The Bible points out: “People judge by the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” 1 Samuel 16:7.

I encourage you this week to begin looking deep into your soul. Ask for forgiveness of your sins and, with God, search out the weaknesses that plaque your heart and mind so you can create a whole new you. Begin with the inner beauty that will help transform the outer beauty for which you’ve always longed!