Pastors often point out that there should be a difference in what we say and do as a result of a relationship with God. True, but my problem is that my saying and doing naturally LOOK godly.it is the inner chatter–the HEART–that is the problem.
You see, I was born “nice”. I spent my youth pondering the Word of God and making a good show of living up to it in my own strength. I was pathologically nice! I chose the co-dependent road of trying to earn my worth and security by cleaning my room and never needing a spanking and helping around the house and getting good grades. My payoff was not great I was invisible and totally ignored. The way of works never pays well.I came to believe that, when I pleased others and was helpful — then I was nothing and nobody, but if anyone was mad at me –then I was less than nobody and that was worse. My inner thoughts, my heart, was still condemning me no matter how fine I seemed on the outside.
Now, I thank God for grace where I am somebody because God says so and my sombodiness does not need to be maintained.
I realized that I need to focus, not on just doing things God’s way outwardly, but on talking in my heart in a godly way, on the inward chatter. For man looks on the outward but God looks on the HEART.
There are many who just live in sin and deny the truth. Then there are the Pharisees who acknowledge the right way and tell everyone else to shape up but do little themselves. I am talking to the ones who acknowledge and act according to the truth but still are filled with judgement and negative inner chatter.
For as a man thinks,ponders, imagines, ruminates in his heart–so is he!
God looks on my heart not my outside. Do I have the wrong motive, saying ” Lord Lord have I not visited the prisoners and fed the hungry and given drink to the thirsty in your name? So don’t You owe me a seat at Your banquet table?” NO! Depart from me you are working iniquity I don’t know you, Jesus replies. Am I secretly ruminating on the unfairness of everything, and thinking, “why don’t others join in or appreciate as they should, and “can you believe those others, how can they be that way?, what are others thinking about me? How can I make them agree and change.” (I’ve always found that I get most upset when I try to bless others with God’s truth and they refuse to be blessed–pretty crazy huh? No skin off of my back if they don’t change. They are the ones in trouble, I should hurt for them, not be upset at them for not letting me “earn my worth”. After all, God will reward me for trying)”.
Do I need to wait till all my inner chatter is godly before I go obey? NO! It seems to be enough to realize and admit to God that my inner chatter is pretty messed up, then acknowledge what the proper thinking would be and to ask Him to bless my feeble efforts despite my inner mess. The devil suggests that to obey when our HEART is imperfect would be hypocrisy so we should wait and try to fix the inner mess and then obey. That is the ultimate impossible works orientation. Hypocrisy is doing things to look good or gain approval of men or gain worldly advantage without seeing the behavior as godly and right on it’s own. If I admit God’s Ideal reasons, and that mine are imperfect but then obey because it is right–that is righteousness not hypocrisy.
For example, when I talk to a bunch of new people, such as at a church, part of me wants them to appreciated my effort so that I can feel a twinge of self earned worth and significance. However, I know that the right reason is that God wants to impart His healing truths to them through my yielded members. So I say, ” Lord please bless my sharing to the welfare of your people and I freely acknowledge the warring inner chatter and that Your ways are right.”