Posted by: Jo | January 12, 2018

Loving From The Inside Out

“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart”

(1 Samuel 16: 7)

Judge01My father was always quoting sayings to us children as we grew up and because he said them so often, many of them have stayed in my memory.  One of his sayings was;

Don’t judge a book by its cover.

The meaning behind this statement completely eluded me as a child until I grew older and more experienced and as I travelled through life I found it to be a very wise warning not about what book to buy, but how to make sure the person who was presenting themselves to me, was the real person they were pertaining to be. Time and time again we read stories of well- known people who the world admires suddenly falling from grace as their true, often quite sordid selves, are revealed.  One of Henry Thoreau’s well, known quotes puts it this way;

There is no odour so bad as that which arises from goodness tainted

We as followers of Christ need to always remember that we represent him and our love for him can never just be a superficial covering hiding any tainted thinking or bad behaviour. We sang a beautiful song at our church service on Sunday morning and one line stayed in my mind long after we left church. This was the line

Loving from the inside out

Judge02True love comes from the heart, not from what we say, not how many times we help at church functions, not how much money we give to good causes, not even if we are working to aid the poor and homeless. The only way we can have the love of Christ flowing from us to others if we seek him with our whole heart. We need to love from the inside!

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29: 13)

The Pharisees in Jesus’ time prided themselves on how well they kept the Jewish rules of behaviour and looked down on those who they believed were inferior to them. Jesus tells the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector to point out that loving God was not keeping a set of rules. I like the way Luke introduces the parable;

“To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable.” (Luke 18: 9)

How do we practice, loving from the inside out?  When the Lord spoke to Jeremiah he said it clearly, if we seek him with our whole heart we will be loving from the heart not just with outside actions. Judge03I love David’s prayer which is a great one to start each day;

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51: 10)

 

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