Thursday, October 22, 2009

The inside-out dress code

Have you experienced the embarrassing moment when your friend told you that you wore your T-shirt inside-out? A number of years ago, the inside-out looking dress was in fashion. I think if I were to wear my T shirt inside-out today, most people will not even realise it. It is becoming a norm.

In the spiritual realm, the inside-out dress code is coming back to fashion and is going to be the norm. The religious Pharisees were primarily concerned with externalities of the law. Jesus called them white-washed tombstones, nice looking on the outside but rotten inside (Matthew 23:27). Jesus told them to wash the inside of the cup and dish first and then the outside would be clean (Matthew 23:25). The internal look is more important to Jesus.

In the Sermon of the Mount, Jesus was telling the Pharisees that the inside-out dress code was more important, for example: –angry (internal intention) with his brother is now subject to judgement just like murder (external act); lustful look (internal intention) at a woman is now considered committing adultery (external act). The Pharisees prided themselves that they follow the law externally, but Jesus’ standard was beyond the external adherence of the law – Jesus was more interested in their internal intentions.

God knew that nobody could follow the law, not even the Ten commandments according to His standard. The law was given to show the futility of man so that man can come to the point of surrendering himself to God. God provided a way for us the inside-out life by sending Jesus to die for our sins and to give us the Spirit, the divine enablement. His Spirit now inscribes the laws of God in our hearts, no longer on tablets of stone (2 Corinthians 3:3).

We are now led by the Spirit. The law of Christ is now in our hearts and the Spirit enables us to love God (relationship with God) and to love man (relationship with man), which is the crux of the Ten commandments. God is love and it is His love that empowers us to love others and to love Him.

His divine enablement through the Spirit also allows us to bear fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22): love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. This fruit of nine flavours allow us to relate to and love our neigbours. This is the internal work of the Spirit – the inside-out behaviour modification. On the other hand, anger management for example, is a surficial and external behaviour modification method (outside modification) but does not tackle the root cause (internal).

Furthermore, as God is love and He dwells in us, His love (1 Corinthians 13: 4-7) will eventually manifest from the inside-out as: love is patient, kind; does not boast, not proud, rude, self-seeking or easily angered; keeps no record of wrongs; does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth; always protects, trusts, hopes and perseveres.

In (Luke 6:43-45) : “…..the good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks”. God wants us to wear the inside- out dress code.

(Matthew 7:15-20) “Watch out for false prophets…..a good tree cannot bear bad fruit and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit……Thus, by their fruit you will recognise them”
By observing the fruit, we can discern what is false and what is the truth. The inside-out will tell

In our Christian walk, we are judged by the inside-out dress code! The new covenant is in the Spirit and is about addressing the internal, so that the inside-our dress code looks beautiful. The old covenant is about the flesh and is about addressing the external, and the inside-out dress code looks embarasssing and out of fashion in the era of the new covenant which we are now in.

The new covenant living will become the norm for it is the Spirit that will enable us to have that beautiful inside-out dress, that fragrant fruit of love that will become the main attraction to unbelievers to the Gospel. Rejoice

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