Show me the Way

“Most men, indeed, play at religion as they play at games, religion itself being of all games the one most universally played.” – A.W. Tozer

For me personally, most of my life I was one of those believers being “religious.” Even though I was saved, I was still playing the game of religion! I was double-minded because my outer life did not match my inner life. I may have appeared to be following Jesus, but it was a lie. It was fairly easy to act. I knew the right things to say and do to look the part in my outer life. But inside my Christian life felt futile, faithless and powerless. I had not taken on my new identity. I was not truly representing the person I claimed to believe and follow. Very little had changed in me internally – in my inner-life. I was not being transformed on the inside. I was not living out the resurrection life I had received through Christ. Most importantly, I was not discerning the still small voice of God within me, so I couldn’t respond to the drawing of the Holy Spirit.

We don’t always realize how God speaks to us… But most of the time God speaks to us in “a gentle whisper” or “the still small voice” (1 Kings 19:12). We feel an inner impression, a prompting in our heart… something that we suddenly know we’re supposed to do. That’s not random; that’s God speaking to you. Six times in the Gospels, Jesus says, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” (Mark 4:9), and eight times in the book of Revelation, He adds, “what the Spirit is saying.” He’s talking about your inner ears. He’s saying, “Are you sensitive to the whispers? Are you paying attention to what you’re feeling in your spirit?” It’s easy to ignore it, push it down. But if you start obeying the promptings… the gentle whispers, God will lead you down the best path for your life.” – Joel Osteen

Preachers, other Christian mentors, and teachers with the right intentions will often leave people unprepared to step into an authentic life of following Jesus because they’re minimizing this inner-life process of discerning the prompting of God and responding to it. They will teach and preach some or all of the following Biblical outcomes or effects that should occur in your life of a believer, like the sample below from a website we found:

  • Bring God into all aspects of your life.
  • Avoid temptation and sin.
  • Go to church.
  • Be obedient when God calls on you.
  • Do good works and ministry.

Inner cause, outer effect

Although these are all vital Scriptural outcomes for Christians, they won’t authentically develop in believers that have not yet learned to become receptive and responsive to the drawing of the Holy Spirit. Many of our preachers and Bible teachers are over-emphasizing these “outer-life” effects perhaps because they’re so eager to see these outcomes in believers. While doing this, they’re actually minimizing the critical “inner-life” causes which are your inner responses by faith in your deepening relationship with Christ over time. These responses to the Spirit of Christ in the secret place of your inner life should be emphasized, encouraged and fostered by anyone in church ministry and leadership. The simple fact is that without a genuine inner-life change of your will, there will be no genuine Christlike outer effects, no matter how hard you try.

Let’s not go back to that old way of living, playing the game of religion. Others might be pleased, but God is not until all that you and I do is flowing from a will, heart, faith and life that is being actively transformed by the Spirit of Christ within us. It’s why God always emphasizes, examines and tests the inner-life (the heart and mind) before the outer-life works of His followers. As you read your Bible, you’ll find this is true, cover-to-cover.

God will use many ways and means to draw and prompt believers. He will use communication with other believers or followers, or an inner sense through passages in scripture that you’re reading, or through the words of a pastor, or during times of worship and praise. There are many other ways, and countless examples in scripture of people responding to the prompting of God. These internal responses are the distinction between a believer that is truly seeking to follow Christ and one who is simply “playing the game of religion.”

In the next section of articles, “Traits of a Christ Follower,” you’ll spend a significant amount of time and study to identify many of these examples of inner-life responses found in scripture. This will be a powerful exercise as you begin to “walk the walk” as a genuine student of the Master Teacher, Jesus.

“Prove me, O Lord, and try me; test my heart and my mind.” – Psalm 26:2 (ESV)

Key takeaways:
1. The way of Jesus is an inner-life response of faith to the truth of the Word, to receive and reveal the life of Christ in you.
2. The difference between “acting” and “being” is the difference between a believer that is presenting an external false impression of following Jesus, and one that is by faith genuinely and internally following Him.
3. The inner-life responses to Christ are the causes of the outer-life behaviors which are the effects.
4. The transformation occurs in the inner life, which is naturally revealed in the outer life.

< The secret placeTraits of a Christ follower >

Photo by Stefan Kunze

Proudly powered by WordPress

G2H holds copyright on this material.