Joyce Meyer - The Inner Life
I think that we should always have great reverence and respect for the Word of God. And I love what the amplified Bible says several times in Psalms that we should hear the word, receive the word, love the word, and obey the word. So a lot of people hear it but they don't receive it. And then maybe there's some who do receive it but they don't love it enough to actually motivate them to do it.
So let me just say upfront that any time you hear the word, you always need to have already made your mind up that you're gonna receive some kind of instruction that's gonna require some kind of action from you when you leave. You see, just because we underline stuff in the Bible and we color in it with markers, that's not what changes our life. Even hearing it is not what changes your life if we're not motivated to go then and, by the grace of God, do what we've heard. And the Word of God has power in it. I love that. There's inherent power in the word to save our souls, according to James chapter 1. When you're born again, your spirit's in good shape after that. Jesus lives in you. He came and cleaned everything up inside. But it's our soul that we still have a problem with. And our soul is our mind, our will, and our emotions.
And tonight, I'm going to teach on the inner life. I think it's very important to get a fresh awareness that you have two lives. You've got an outer life and you've got an inner life. You have a life that everybody else sees and then you have a life that's very private to you that only you and God see. Although other people may see the results of your inner life, they don't actually see your inner life. Many times, we're not even aware of what's going on in our inner life because we don't pay any attention or we don't really think that it matters. But I have one major goal tonight and so let me just kinda start out by saying, "What are you full of"? For example, are you full of God or are you full of yourself? How much bitterness and resentment have you got rolling around in there? Good attitudes, bad attitudes.
I wanna tell you what, the inner man is a busy place. I mean, it is amazing what all is going on in there. We're gonna talk about that a little bit later. But first, I wanna spend some time establishing actually the reality of the inner life because I think we can go a long time in our life and some people probably never ever, ever, come to the understanding of how important their inner life is. And I just wanna make it very clear tonight that your inner life is much more important than your outer life. Thank you. Wherever you're at, I'll preach to you. Our outer life is our reputation with people. But our inner life is our reputation in heaven. That's our reputation with God.
As I like to say, you can dress it up and take it to church, you can hang jewelry on it, you can put make-up on it, everything can match. You can plaster a smile on it but that does not tell anybody anything about what's going on inside. You know as well as I do that you could look at somebody and say, "Praise the Lord, it's so good to see you," and be thinking, "I can't stand you". And so it's not what I say to them that really matters unless, of course, I'm very sincere. You know, one of the things that Jesus had a real problem with was hypocrites and phonies. Pretenders, the Bible calls 'em. And so we can put on a show for everybody but God knows, amen?
And if you really want to enjoy your life which I'm pretty sure that you do, if you really want to enjoy your life and you wanna have peace and you wanna be healthy and you wanna have energy, then the inner life has to be right. Because I can tell you the truth, many people who are exhausted by the end of the day, they're not tired from what they physically did that day. They're tired from what went on inside all day, amen? And I actually, was a Christian for a long, long time before I really ever became aware that what was going on in me really mattered at all. I think, like a lot of people, I just thought, "Well, as long as nobody knows, or as long as I can control it, then it's not a problem". But we know that Jesus said that, "If a man looks on a woman to lust after her that he has already committed adultery as far as his heart is concerned". So really, our thought life, our attitudes, the things that go on inside of us, really are much, much, much more important than the things that go on around us.
Do you know that if you study the prayers of the apostle Paul and this amazed me when I saw it. And it amazes me every time I talk about it. You can never find one place in the prayers that Paul prayed for the church in Philippians, Colossians, Ephesians, where he prayed for their problems to go away. He never one time prayed that their problems would go away, that they wouldn't have problems, that their trials and tribulations would go away. What Paul always prayed was that they would be able to endure whatever came with good temper. And so let me just suggest this to you. Our attitude toward our problem is much more important than the discomfort we get from the problem. Our attitude toward our problem is much more important than how we feel about the problem. Or let's try another one. How we behave toward somebody who's maybe not treating us all that great is much more important than the discomfort we feel from how they're treating us.
See, you're gonna yell now so I go on to something else. You don't have to hear any more of that. Right? 'Cause see, here's what happens. And the book of James really clarifies this. You know, people always cringe when you start reading James 1, "Be exceedingly joyful in all kinds of trials and tribulations, knowing the trying of your faith brings out patience". Everybody's just, like, "Ughh! Do I have to hear that again"? But really, now listen to me, nothing reveals who we truly are, not the us that we show everybody, but nothing reveals who we truly are like a good season of trials. So therefore, the apostle Peter said, "Why are you amazed at the fiery ordeal that is taking place to test your quality"?
I don't know about you but when I buy something I wanna know what I'm getting. Nobody here has probably ever bought a mattress without laying on it. Are you one of those people like me that you go to the mattress store and you lay down fully clothed on all the beds and just lay there? Have you ever bought a chair without sitting in it? Or bought a couch without sitting in it? No, we wanna kinda know what we're getting. And even though God knows everything, he walks with us through time as if he didn't. And he wants to, so to speak, test our quality to see if we're gonna hold up under that next level of promotion that we've been begging for. Because, you see, every new level presents a new devil so if you're not doing well on this level and you wanna be promoted to a higher level, if you're not dealing with the devils here, you're not gonna deal with the ones up here any better. You ever wonder why you pray for blessings and get trouble? The blessings will come but the test probably will come first. You're still smiling, I hope?
Alright, now I have probably 35 scriptures up here which we're obviously not gonna be able to get all through them. But I do want us to look at quite a few scriptures tonight if you're okay with a good old-fashioned Bible study, okay? Because here's what I think. I think when we put them on the screens and you look at them or you open up in your Bible and you look at them, it's great for me to quote them to you and I do them a lot, but it even has a different impact if you see it with your own eyes. So, 2 Corinthians chapter 4, verse 16, "Therefore we do not become discouraged (utterly spiritless, exhausted, and wearied out through fear). Though our outer man is progressively decaying and wasting away, yet our inner self is being progressively renewed day after day". So Paul apparently said, "Hey, I'm going through a lot of stuff. It's hard. I look at myself in the mirror. I can see that I'm aging. But you know what, I'm getting younger and younger on the inside every day".
And let me just tell you a secret about the number of years that you've lived. Age is really a lot more than a combination of years. It's a lot more about attitude. And I can tell you that just because you get what the world would call old, that doesn't mean that you're useless and can't do anything. It doesn't mean that you're too old to start something new because, honestly, you are never too old to start something new. If God puts something new on your heart, it's not too late for you. It's never too late to begin again. And I can tell you that if you keep a new attitude, if you keep a fresh vision, if you have something that you really wanna live for and something you really wanna put yourself into, you're not gonna go around being so aware of how old you are.
I mean, I honestly feel like that I'm younger now than I was when I was in my 40s and it's because I have been constantly renewed through the word. I have a better attitude now than when I was 40. My thoughts are a lot better now than when I was 40. I've got a lot, a lot more peace now than I did when I was 40. Therefore, my body's gotten older but my heart has gotten younger and so I actually feel better now than I did then. I have a goal tonight. I want you to leave here tonight knowing how important your inner life is. I think we need to dedicate our inner life to God. We're always dedicating, you know, I dedicate myself to you. Well, what part of you are you dedicating, you know? How about dedicating attitudes and thoughts and keeping a clean conscience before God? That would be a great thing to dedicate. And you know what?
I mean, you can have a guilty conscience and have a heavy heart all the time and people may not know that, they know something's right, not right. But they don't really know what it is. How many of you think it's really good to take some time to just talk about our inner life and what's going on in there? You know, I talk all the time about you can have a bumper sticker on your car and a cross hanging around your neck, carry your Bible to work, and really that, I mean, that doesn't mean anything. I mean, it honestly really doesn't mean anything. The Bible says, "You will know them by their fruit". So it's what comes out of us. It's what in us that comes out of us under pressure. And isn't it amazing how much different we can act at home sometimes than what we do when we're around somebody we want to impress? Oh, not you. You don't do that, okay, well, Joyce I'll preach to these people that aren't back here then.
Okay, now, Habakkuk tells us that when we're going through the most difficult times that we're actually, growing spiritually. That they're really good times for us. So Habakkuk 3:17 through 19, "Though the fig tree does not blossom and there's no fruit on the vine, though the product of the olive fails and the field yields no food," and you know, we don't necessarily relate to all these things because it's not our culture today but you can certainly translate this into your own situations. "Though the flock is cut off from the fold and there's no cattle in the stalls", maybe we could say, like, you know, "Though I got laid off from my job and my kid brought home his report card and it had four f's on it and three d's, though the principal calls me once a week telling me that my child is unruly in school, and you know, though I broke my toe and," you know, whatever, you know. "Yet I will rejoice: I will exult".
Please notice, there's two "I wills" in a very short sentence. He didn't say, "I feel like rejoicing: I feel like praising". He said, "I will rejoice: I will exult in the victorious God of my salvation"! I will, I will, I will. Have to use the free will that God gave you to choose to do things that you know will be good for you even though you don't feel like doing them. And that deserves being said again, so here it comes. God has given us free will. It's one of the greatest gifts we have but one of the biggest responsibilities we have. Every choice produces some kind of an effect in our life and we need to use our free will to choose to do things that we know are right but that we don't necessarily want to do. You cannot live by feelings and ever have victory in your life. You just can't. And it's not that God doesn't understand our feelings and he'll sympathize with our feelings sometimes. Feelings can be very strong. But we think they're also very fickle. You can be one way one day and another way the next day.
And so I love all the places in the Bible where it says, "I will, I will, I will". "This is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad". And let me just throw in here that the more that we use our free will to choose the things that God would have us choose, the easier it gets to do it. Now let's back to this scripture. So this guy's got every kind of problem that he could possibly have and he said, "Yet I will rejoice". "The Lord is my strength, my personal bravery, my invincible army: he makes my feet like hinds' feet and he will make me to walk not to stand still in terror". And if you don't know what the animal called the hind is, it's a certain kind of mountain goat that can jump on its back legs, like, unbelievable heights and so you'll have a mountain going straight up that you think, "How can anybody climb that"? But this particular animal can jump on its hind legs and just go pa-poop, pa-poop. And that's the way we need to be, not afraid of the mountains, able to climb them.
Now watch this. "He makes my feet like hinds' feet and will make me to walk not to stand still in terror, but to walk and make spiritual progress upon my high places of trouble, suffering, and responsibility"! Now if I was to say to any believer, "What are your highest places in life"? I certainly wouldn't get the answer, "Trouble, suffering, and responsibility". That would not be the answer that I would get. People would, you know, "When I get my way, when I feel wonderful, when the presence of God is all over me". But what he's saying here is not that God loves us having trouble. He doesn't, but when we have difficulty which how many of you have difficulty from time to time? Okay, all right.
So you know, I kind of found out that everybody does so we might as well talk about it. There's really not much point in acting like if you have enough faith you're never gonna have a problem, because that is just absolutely not true. Jesus said, "In the world you will have tribulation. Cheer up. I have overcome the world. I have deprived it of the power to harm you". See, we can go through things and come out actually better than we were when we went in because God will do that. Our trials work differently than trials in the world. If I keep a good attitude, and it only works if you keep a good attitude, if I keep a good attitude, I will actually grow spiritually during that hard time.
And you know what happens when you grow spiritually? You could maybe have the same thing happen to you 2 months later and you wouldn't even hardly notice it because now you're stronger than you were when you went through it the first time. C'mon, I want you to get this tonight. Just like you can condition your muscles, God conditions us, so to speak, to be able to get out in the world and actually face off with the devil and say, "I'm not gonna be defeated by anything you come up with". And it's, you know, it sounds hard but it's not so hard the stronger your faith becomes. How many of you go through things right now that used to just wipe you out, put you in a fit of depression for a week, and now it doesn't bother you at all? That's what growing is, people, amen? That is just what growing is. Revelation 3:17 says people can think they're rich and yet be poor. So, says, "For you say, I'm rich: I've prospered and grown wealthy, and I'm in need of nothing".
Now how many people in the world are like that? They've got money, they've got a nice job. They're climbing the ladder of success. They've got the right car. They live in the right neighborhood. They've got the right friends. And, boy, they think they don't need God. "I'm, you know, I don't need anything. People that need that religion, that's just a crutch. I've got everything I need". And he says, "But you don't realize, you don't understand that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked". Wow. I don't know about you but I'm glad I know Jesus, amen? And the good thing about God is if you put him first and you'll put your relationship with him first, the Bible says you seek first the kingdom and he'll add the things. It's nice to have the kingdom and some nice things but it's terrible to have the things and be totally lost and not get to spend eternity with God, amen? But the point is, no matter what else you have.
I'm saying this a lot for just our people watching by TV. No matter what else you have, you are pitiable, poor, blind, wretched, and naked if you don't have Christ in your life. And then revelation 2:9 is another completely different look at it. It says, "There are people that can look poor and yet be rich". So how good is that? Now, you know, 1 Peter, chapter 3, verses 3 and 4, the Bible says that, from Jesus, "'Let not yours be merely the adorning with the elaborate interweaving and knotting of hair, the wearing of jewelry, and the changes of clothes.'" And he's not saying, it's, you know, some people have taken that, "Well, you can't wear jewelry". Well, if you can't wear jewelry then you can't wear clothes. So, let's just don't pick out stuff to be legalistic. Amen? He said, don't let it be merely that stuff, "'but let it be the inward adorning and the beauty of the hidden person of the heart...'" amen?
Let me say that again. No matter how much you dress it up and take it to church, I mean, I work on this. A while. I mean, it's tough, you know, I gotta get the hair colored every two weeks now, because I don't know what color it is anymore, and I don't wanna find out. I have no interest in knowing what color it is. I workout with weights three times a week. I walk everyday. I mean, it's just like... This is hard. You gotta get the fingernails done, you gotta get the skin worked on, it's like... So, here I am, whoa. But you see, here's the point, honestly, none of that really tells you what kind of person I am. None of that tells you what kind of person I am. And that's where we need to be careful that we don't get impressed.
We should be much more concerned with our inner life than we are with our outer life. Don't be overly impressed by outward things. And don't judge people by their appearance, either good or bad. Boy, the Bible warns us against that. 1 Samuel 16:6-7. When God had instructed for a new king to be anointed, it says, "When they had come, he looked on Eliab". So, all the sons of Jesse were brought in for a new king to be anointed. And there were some good looking guys there, you know. And they didn't even bother to ask David to come in, so I don't know what it was they thought of him, but it wasn't too highly. But God knew him.
So, I guess the question is, do you want a bunch of people to know you and admire you, or you want God to know you and admire you? Which is the most important? And so, it says, "When they had come in, he looked on Eliab the eldest son, and said, 'well, surely this is the Lord's anointed.'" Wonder what made him think that. He must have looked good, maybe he was tall, maybe he was tan from working out in the sun. "'Surely this is the Lord's anointed.' But the Lord said to Samuel, 'Look not on his appearance, nor at the height of his stature, for the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.'" That's why God will use some people, and you just cannot figure out why in the world God would use them. Or especially like when somebody tells you their little dream and vision they've got from God, and you're like, "Yeah, well, you got a vivid imagination, but that ain't gonna happen".
I'll never forget the group of my so-called, "Friends," when God first called me, and I was so excited. You know, when God speaks to somebody, what makes sense to them doesn't make sense to you. Because when God speaks to you, he gives you a gift of faith to believe something. But the people that you want to encourage you, they don't get it because they don't have that same faith that God gave you. So, when you feel like God wants to use you to do something, don't expect everybody around you to encourage you because they don't get it. And they're gonna see you the way you've always been, not the way you can be. Amen? And I'll never forget when a girl told me. She said, "Well, you know, we heard that you said that you think you're going to have this huge, worldwide ministry". And I said, "Yeah, I really believe that God told me that". She said, "Well, we were talking last night".
Well, that's trouble right there. "We were talking last night, and to be honest, we don't think you've got the right personality". Well, the thing was is they were right. Didn't have, maybe still don't, I don't know. But the point is, is when God anoints you, I mean, he used a donkey to speak to a prophet. Amen? John 7:24, "Be honest in your judgment, and do not decide at a glance". Wow. We're looking at people and deciding at a glance, and we don't know anything at all about them, at all. You know, Jesus is a king, and a king should get to rule over his kingdom. And you know, even his own disciples were always saying, "Well, when are you going to establish your kingdom? Is it going to be in Jerusalem? Is it going to be here? Is it going to be there"? And we're not going to take the time to turn there, but in Luke chapter 17, they were asking that question. He said, "The Kingdom of God is within you". It's in you. It's in us, in the church, but it's in us individually. We are here tonight in the Kingdom of God, but the Kingdom of God is in you. Just give yourself a little pat.
See, the kingdom is in you, it's in your heart. That's where he lives, he lives in you. You're the home of God. Your heart is his home by faith. To me, that's an awe-inspiring statement. But what a great responsibility that is, to have king Jesus living in us. But we need to be much more concerned about our reputation with God and our reputation in heaven. We have to come to the point where we would much rather have a good reputation in heaven than to have a good reputation here. I don't know about you, but I think we worry way too much about reputation and what people think. And some people can get so caught up in it, it totally steals their walk with God. And even the apostle Paul said, and it's recorded in Galatians 1:10, "If I were trying to be popular with people, I would not right now be an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ".
I wonder how many people trade their God-given destiny for popularity with people? But the Bible says that Jesus made himself of no earthly reputation. I like that. He just followed the Holy Spirit and did some stuff that people thought were just looney tunes. They didn't understand him at all. His own family didn't understand him. He was judged and criticized. But he had a good reputation in heaven. Amen, and he was able to help a lot of people. Our outer life is our reputation with people, but our inner life is our reputation with God. So, what's going on inside you? Well, the inner dimension is a very busy place.
My gosh. You know, I really wouldn't even want everybody's thoughts right now to be turned inside out so I would be able to see what you think of me. Wouldn't that be scary if, every time you're with a crowd of people, their thoughts were turned inside out and you could see what they really think? See, I'm just going to pretend like you all just think only good things. The inner dimension is a very busy place. And it's like the Holy Spirit lives in there, and he's a traffic light saying "Stop, go, wait, not yet, no, not now, proceed with caution". There's imaginations in there, opinions, decisions, discernment, attitudes, motives, purposes.
And boy, motives, motives, motives. We could stop right now and just do another whole hour just on motives. I mean, I read something last week, and I teach on motives quite a bit, and boy, if you wanna hear a roomful of people get quiet, because see, we're just so busy doing, doing, doing, doing, doing, doing. And half the time, we don't even know why we're doing what we're doing. Why are we doing it? To impress somebody, because somebody else thinks we should, because we don't want to be left out of the group. I don't know how many things that I did in my life way back, thankfully I don't do it now, but way back in my life, I did it just because I was nosy and didn't want to be left out of stuff. What kind of a ridiculous motivation is that?
And you know, the Bible teaches us that we have a foundation of Jesus Christ in our life. And we can build on that foundation with gold, or wood, or hay, or stubble, or straw. And it's how we build that's important. We build. And the scripture goes on to say, this is found in 1 Corinthians chapter 3, that if anything that we've built, any work of ours, if it's gonna survive the judgment of God must be a pure work. Because if our motives were impure, then even though we're saved, all the reward of that work gets burned up in the fire. So, in other words, it's totally useless to spin our wheels, and put out our efforts and energy doing things with wrong motives because when it comes to the end of our life, which comes a lot sooner than we think, amen? When it comes to that, what if it's all burned up? I'm just gonna tell ya, if you wanna have any outer power, you gotta have inner purity. Amen?
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God". I don't necessarily think that means see him with their natural eyes, although it may mean when you see him face to face, but I think that it also means that the pure in heart will easily hear from God. You can easily be led by the Holy Spirit if you're pure in heart. Inner turmoil, wow. Worry, anxiety, fear, "What do people think of me? How do I look"? Well, the Bible says in Psalm 37:1, "Fret not yourself because of the evildoers. For in the end, they will soon be cut down like the grass". You know, one of the big questions that everybody asks today is, "Well, what do you think's going to happen in the world"? I don't know. And I know there's people that have, you know, a bent toward prophecy and people that are gifted in that area, but I don't know what's gonna happen. I don't know. But I'm okay with it because I'm not worried about it. Because I already know where I'm going to go whatever happens, amen? And I would like to encourage you not to worry about it excessively. Be prepared, be wise, but don't be worried about it all the time.
"Fret not yourself because of the evildoer, for in the end they shall soon be cut down like the grass. But the meek in the end will inherit the earth". What does it say? "Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in him, and he will bring it to pass". Okay, you know what happens to people? And this part of this message is something that I really want you to get here. Some people at the end of every day are just absolutely exhausted. And some of them may be laying on the couch all day. It's not necessarily physical labor that wears us out. It's how we go about that physical labor.
Let's just say that you go to your job, and you're worried all day what will people think of you. Or in addition to being concerned about what they think of you, you're also jealous of the people who have, I don't know, maybe their desk is by a window, and yours isn't. I mean, you just have to manage a few hundred people to understand the stuff that people can get bothered about. But here's what happens if we don't calm down inside. Jesus said, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and let me give you rest. I will ease, relieve, and refresh your souls".
Let's have some peace in the house. How many of you have ever said to one of your kids, "Can't we have any peace in here"? Well, Jesus lives in you, and he's saying that tonight, "Can I have a little peace in here"? Is anybody understanding how important this is? I may not know what you're thinking, but God knows what you're thinking. My goodness, I remember, and you've heard me tell this, but I learned so much from this.
I remember when Dave and I used to fight all the way to church. I mean, if the devil can start a fight, honey, it's gonna be when you're on the way to church. Amen? And we would argue and fight, and Dave would be swatting at the kids in the backseat. But the first, you know, we were in one of those churches that was growing like crazy, so you had to have people out in the parking lot directing traffic and, you know, all this stuff. And the first, "Church person," we saw... "Praise the Lord. Glory to God, we're so... Oh yes, it's a great day in the Lord. Amen, hallelujah". And I can remember being so mad at Dave, standing there mouthing the words on the overhead, and thinking.
Come on, do you know you can sing a worship song and not think about it? Did you know that? "I surrender all". And I'm thinking, "If he thinks I'm cooking him anything to eat today, he's got another thing coming because I am not speaking to him the rest of the day. I mean, it's gonna be war when we get home. I surrender all". Come on, you know exactly what I'm talking about. And I mean, I thought that was on fire, Pentecostal, charismatic religion. You can set your cute little behind in a pew till it's flat... And that doesn't tell anybody that you're spiritual. What shows that we're spiritual is when we're put to the test because you know when you find out what fruit is like when you squeeze it.
One time, I bought this orange. Oh, it was... And I paid a dollar for that thing, and it was back when a dollar for an orange was pretty outrageous, especially my dollar because I didn't have that many of 'em. And I was so hungry, and I took that thing out to the car and broke it open, and it was dry and tasteless. And you know what? We gotta make sure that's not the way we are. And it all starts with having the right thing going on in the inner life. So, the Bible is a combination of, you know, first you know who you are in Christ. And let me tell you something. If you're having a huge problem with envy or jealousy, you can't just fight it on your own. Get up with Jesus, and let him love on you, and fellowship with him, and look at him, and look in the word, and he'll give you the grace and the strength and the power to do the thing that you ought to do.
But we're foolish if we think that we can just go act any way we please and it doesn't matter, because it does matter, it hurts us. When I worry all day, it hurts me. If I'm full of jealousy, it hurts me. It ends up making me sick, it makes me tired. I'm hard to get along with. It makes me age faster. The best anti-aging advice in the world is quit worrying. Amen? Boy, Philippians 4:8 says, "Think on these things, whatever is true and worthy and good and of a good report". And I love the scriptures that tell us that we should go about our business making melody in our heart unto the Lord. Now, I'm not much of a singer, but I can hum. "Hmm hmm hmm hmm, da da da da da da da da da. Na na na na na na na na na". Keep yourself full of that. Even a good Holy Ghost hum will keep you from having too much junky stuff in your thoughts.
I know a girl that I thought of this afternoon, and she just had it rough, man. I mean, she came here from another country. Her husband drinks all the time and he won't work. She's trying to run a business, support her family and her kids, and she has to send money home to take of, she's just had a rough life. And I've noticed with her that she's always, like, humming or making melody in her heart. Now, sometimes she's kinda singing in her original language and I don't understand what she's saying, but I think sometimes, "You know, you got nothing to sing about". But see, we don't have to have a thing to sing about, we've got somebody to sing about. Amen? And so, practice just that keeping a little melody in your heart unto the Lord. And it kinda keeps things in there in better condition. Be very wise about what you let go on inside of you.
Now, Luke 11:39, and I hope you're ready for this. "But the Lord said to him, 'now you pharisees, you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside, you yourselves are full of greed and robbery and extortion and malice and wickedness. You senseless (foolish, stupid) ones acting with reflection or intelligence! Did not he who made the outside make the inside also?'" and here it comes, "But dedicate your inner self and give as donations to the poor of those things which are within of inward righteousness and behold, everything will be purified and clean for you". But I really want to go after that, "But dedicate your inner self".
So, I just want to challenge people tonight and say, would you be ready to do that tonight? Would you be ready to say, "Okay, Jesus, I heard you tonight"? "I, yeah, I...", I don't know about you, but I think this is a good kind of a wake up. How many of you were just kinda, your eyes were opened a little bit tonight to realize how important the things are that go on? And you know, even if you know it, I know it, but I'm enjoying preaching it. I mean, I always tell people if you don't like my message, I'll preach to myself 'cause I like it.
So, let's just do this. I'm gonna pray a prayer. And if you're ready, I want you to pray it with me. I'll do it slow so you can confess after me. But I do want you to keep in mind you probably don't want to say it loosely because I really believe when you give God permission to get into an area of your life, you can't take it back. So, let's just pray this short prayer together.
Jesus, we love you. Thank you for showing me the importance of my inner life. You said I should dedicate my inner life to you. And I choose to do that tonight. I invite you to convict me, to help me see when things are not right inside, and to give me the grace to always follow you. The first thing I ask for is truth and awareness. I dedicate my inner self to you. Thank you in Jesus' name.