Many of us struggle with living each day as authentic followers of Christ. We don’t understand why we seem to do okay for a week after hearing an inspirational message, but then fall back into old patterns of behavior before we know it. We keep trying to fix our behavior, promising wholeheartedly that we won’t shout at the kids again, be rude to our spouses, react in traffic, lie, cheat, steal, gossip, or gamble.
But invariably, we find ourselves unable to sustain our resolve—and we fail to control our actions (again!). That’s what happens when we try to live our Christian lives from the outside in instead of from the inside out. The tension between our inner worlds and outer worlds cannot be sustained long-term and will inevitably have a detrimental effect on our lives.
All too often we compartmentalize our lives and divide them into segments. We become actors, taking on the role of who we think we’re supposed to be––depending on our audience or our circumstances. For example, at church, we’re supposed to be a Christian, so we act like one (some of us could win an Oscar for our performances). Around our Christian friends we’re supposed to be a Christian, so we act like one. At work, we try to act like a Christian because we’re supposed to be one, but there we don’t have to play the role too well because our coworkers are not quite as familiar with the Christian “script.” When we go home, we act like our real selves, because we believe that our secret is safe with our family. Then the doorbell rings. It’s amazing how quickly we can shift and play the part of the perfect family even if moments before our houses were more like the perfect storm.
This is not how God wants us to live.
He doesn’t want us to simply act like Christians. He wants us to authentically be Christians. But the only way for this to occur is by allowing him to work on us from the inside out. God is not satisfied with merely having visitation rights every Sunday or Wednesday at a church service or two. God wants always to be at the core of who we are and what we’re becoming.
Point to Ponder
Are you ready to live an authentic Christian life? If you are, forget about putting on a show for others, doing all the right things on the outside. Give God permission to begin his work inside you. And don’t worry; he won’t be surprised by anything he finds in there.
*Devotions by Christine Caine