If you have appendicitis, you can’t be cured by eating more, or wearing nice clothes, or having a bath. You can’t be cured from the outside-in. You need an operation. You need to be healed from the inside-out.
Most of us live our lives the wrong way around. We try to fill our lives from the outside in, with nice clothes, nice houses, and appearances.
But Jesus taught us that we are filled from the inside out. He said,
Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them (John 7:37-38, NIV).
Jesus is inviting all who are thirsty to come to him and drink. But the strange thing about this is that those who do that won’t be filled from the outside in, but from the inside out. The water that Jesus provides doesn’t flow from outside us, but instead, when we believe in him, the water will flow from within us.
How many rivers would you need to quench an everyday thirst? We wouldn’t really even need a river would we? Just a few glasses of water.
But look at how much water will be provided for the one who believes in Jesus? Not one river, but multiple “rivers” – plural. That’s an overwhelming amount of supply. And it’s not normal water either, it’s living water. It’s water that gives life – real life, the best life, eternal life.
What Jesus is telling us here is that if you believe in Christ, his life will be flowing from within you to such an extent that it will overflow around you everywhere, into your family and your community.
If you want to be filled, you need to focus more on your inner life than on external things.
In our culture, we focus so much on the externals of our lives: how we dress, how we look, the material things with which we accessorise our lives, and how we come across to other people. However, the Bible repeatedly reminds us that we must live our lives from the inside out. What is inside us is what is of true value. God must do a work inside us so that we can truly begin to live. He says,
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26).
The apostle Paul writes,
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith… (Ephesians 3:16-17, NIV).
Do you have Christ dwelling in your heart through faith? If you nurture your inner life properly, your external life will take care of itself.
Here is the secret to having a full life: the more you have on the inside, the less you will need on the outside. And what truly fills and satisfies is Jesus.
This tells us that if you want to be filled, you need to focus more on your inner life than on external things. These can be external things like money and possessions, or it can be external things like external community and even religious requirements. Even memorising Scripture can become a mere external issue that never penetrates the soul, if you don’t focus and meditate deeply on its meaning, and if you don’t really know its Author.
Article supplied with thanks to Dr Eliezer Gonzalez, is the Senior Pastor of Good News Unlimited and the presenter of the Unlimited radio spots, and The Big Question.