Real Change

The basic ideas here came from a book called “Inside Out” written by Larry Crabb.

What are you really like?
What if I asked your friends?
What if I asked God?
What are you like when nobody is watching?

Most of us have looked at ourselves in mirrors. Most of us know what we look like (on the outside).
Most of us take care of our appearance. And we even modify our behavior depending on the company we are in.
But have you ever looked inside?
Have you ever wondered why you do things? Wondered what motivates you?

Most of us do things we are ashamed of. Most of us would like to change that, but we don’t really know how.
Or we have tried a few things, but nothing seems to work.

In Matthew 23 Jesus said “First clean the inside of the cup and dish, then the outside will be clean too”.
He was using the pharisaical tradition of washing the outside of the cup to teach a spiritual truth.
Our problem is our sin nature, not our sins. Our problem is not our behaviour, but it’s what’s going on inside that makes us behave that way that is our problem.

In order to change what’s going on inside, we have to first have a look in there and see what’s going on.
But we know before we look don’t we. We know it’s pretty ugly and dark in there.
And for most of us, that makes us not even want to look inside. Or we have a quick look, slam the lid and just agree, …”Yep, pretty ugly.”
And then we move on. There is no change.

Or worse, we refuse to look inside and just try to change the outside.
That doesn’t work either. It never will. We are still whitewashed tombs of dead mens’ bones.
Until we address the problems inside, any change we make will fade away.

James says, “The man who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.”
That’s what most of us are like when we look inside. We immediately forget what we saw.
God prompts us through his word. We have a quick peek, and then we move on and forget.

Jesus knows what we are like inside. Yet he said, “Come to me all who are weary and I will give you rest.”
He also said, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.”
He didn’t say, you wicked people, why are you weary? Why are you hungry? Why are you thirsty?
He is saying that it’s OK to be weary. It’s OK to be hungry. It’s OK to be thirsty.
Jesus knows that we have needs and desires. It’s OK to have them. That’s normal. That’s human.
But come to Jesus and he will satisfy them. All of them. Completely.
Do you want to be loved? Come to Jesus.
Do you want to be valued? Come to Jesus.
Do you want to feel safe and secure? Come to Jesus.

Our big problem, is that we realise that we have desires, but we figure that we can satisfy them our own way.
God said through Jeremiah, “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.”
We dig our own wells. We find no water. If we do, it doesn’t last. If we do, it is muddy and unsatisfying.

Jesus is offering to let us drink from the well he has dug for us. A well filled with living water. And we prefer the mud.
We want love, but we settle for sex.
We want to be valued, but we settle for conforming to the world.
We want to feel safe and secure, but we settle for having money in the bank.

What we need to do, is take all our desires and let Jesus satisfy them.

When we look inside, it’s pretty ugly. But Jesus says that’s OK. It’s OK to be thirsty.
But he invites us to come to him for living water and not dig our own wells that don’t satisfy our thirst anyway.
Then our life will change, and that change will be real, and it will be lasting.

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