Sometimes we are so concerned and worried and put so much emphasis on the outward man – which is our body, our life, the things we do for entertainment etc., – and we spend a lot of time and effort and work so hard to make the outward man look good, presentable, and of good reputation, but somehow the inner man gets neglected. Sometimes we even go to church for a few hours on Sunday and think that will help our inner man to grow.
From the time we’re born we are influenced by fashion and making the outer man so important, and so much placed on the outer man. You may grow up in a Christian church and the outer man is even promoted there – if you get a promotion, more money coming in. We’re brought up with and made an example of the outward man.
So it’s very hard to let go of the investment in the outer man and put more into the investment of the inner man. We are so conditioned by our education, our jobs, our career and everything else that goes with it. But the Lord is more concerned that we strengthen the inner man, and God’s Word, of course, is directly connected to the inner man, and it’s very clear how much and where God wants us to put the importance on.
But we spend so much time trying to fix up the outer man, even to the extreme sometimes of going to doctors and fixing ourselves up with plastic surgery just to look so good on the outward appearance; when the inward man can even be kind of depressed, still sad, still jealous, still looking for satisfaction in life. That’s because the outward man itself is not going to satisfy you and I don’t have to find proof because we all know that. The more we try to invest in the outer man and not the inner man, the more we get miserable and unhappy and even our relationships get affected.
So, let’s go to 2 Cor. 4:16 For which cause we faint not for though our outward man perish, our inward man is renewed day by day. Sometimes our outward man perishes, like you don’t have enough money to get the outer man established, or you’re sick so the outer man can pull the inner man down. For example, I was sick before coming to Africa and my doctor told me I wouldn’t make it and should not go, and I knew my outer man was looking a bit fragile but the Lord was strengthening my inner man and told me to go ahead by faith and now I’ve been here five months and I’m doing great. The Lord is strengthening my inner man. So that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take medicine, etc–your body IS important. Just that sometimes even though your outward man is not doing that well, if your inner man is being renewed day by day it can keep your spirit happy and inspired and your body will respond to that and you can even be a blessing to others.
So if you feel your outward man is not doing that good or you don’t have enough money to patch it up, you have to know that when you go to the Lord and read His word, His Spirit can renew our inner man day by day. And by that our outer man will start reflecting healthily, and things will flow much easier in our lives if we take time to spend with Christ and renew our inner man.
People ask me: How do I strengthen my inner man?
For me the most important thing is going to God’s Word, ‘The entrance of My Word gives light, it gives understanding to the simple’. So going to the Word of God renews my inner man, and builds a relationship with Jesus. Sometimes we read the word without having a good relationship with Christ and so then that in itself will not do it, but spending time with Jesus, not just in prayer but communicating with Him. Sometimes I just sit down and sing songs to Him like a lover does to his lover and that helps me to have a vacuum for the Word otherwise we are just reading the Word out of duty, which helps to some extent but it doesn’t really go deep into your heart and make it grow and bring forth the fruit you want. So the thing is to go to the word and with prayer just start letting the word change us, and then you’ll see the inner man start blossoming. The Lord changes you from within – building your close relationship with Him. You can do that every single day wherever you are.
So, let’s look at John 6:63, It is the spirit that quickens, the flesh profits nothing. The words I speak unto you they are spirit and they are life. So if we want the inner man to be quickened the easiest way is to go to the words that Jesus spoke. “The flesh profits nothing”, so ALL the investment we put into the flesh; a house, a car, a fancy whatever, it will not profit – sooner or later we have to leave it all behind and the only thing we can take is the inner man that is being strengthened every day.
But sometimes we are accomplishing so much, maybe two or three houses, successful businesses and career, but then we die and what do we take with us? Jesus said, ‘Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven’, not on the earth. So there is an ultimatum. You need to lay up your treasure in heaven.
So how do we do that?
Again, it comes back to that, are we feeding the inner man, are we helping to feed others’ inner man, strengthening them? You know, there are so many programs that will promote the outer man, but the inner man is not happy.
Many people out there, pastors and Christians are helping people’s inner man, which is investing in eternal dividends. What happens if we put too much emphasis in the flesh then automatically our spirits are not quickened – that means not alive.
There is a life that Jesus gave us which is a life that He wants us to live. Maybe it’s not a life having tons of money, or maybe it’s not even enough for a high education but it’s a life pull of peace , full of joy, a life that will motivate you to be a blessing to other people. When you feed your inner man and your mind is renewed its automatic that spiritual diseases or sicknesses like depression or jealousy, covetousness, envy, gossip, enviousness, all those things become less and less in your life.
I used to be hot-tempered and get upset very easily, and critical of others I was working with. I tried not to, and read self-help books that would help me but it never made that big a change in my life till I spent more time looking deeper in my heart and spending more time with Jesus and His Word. That was what brought a change in my life. Now I know about ten years back compared to today my inner man has grown and changed and that took care of some of the problems I was having in my life.
Sometimes you go the long way trying to correct the ‘disease’ you have, or the symptoms instead of going back to the root. And here it says “It’s the spirit that quickens, the flesh profits nothing”. So by God’s grace we can all start investing into the inner man, or the spirit, because it’s only the Spirit that can quicken and make alive. And you read this in the whole bible, not just the New Testament.
If you go to 1 Samuel 16:7 this is the story of Samuel going to select one of the next Kings, because the current King Saul wasn’t doing too good – I think his outward man got too much and his inner man was dying out! So God wanted to choose a new king and Samuel went to Jesse who lined up all his sons who were good, tall, heavy, strong, fighters and Samuel was looking at them and God said that, no, there’s somebody else, these were not the ones. So Samuel asked Jesse, “Do you have any other sons?” And he answered more or less that yes, I have another son but he’s not worth looking at. So Samuel said, OK, bring him over, and he was the one. It says about the other brothers,
But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart. 1Sam 16:7
Everything the Lord is trying to do is change us from the inside. He looks at the heart, the inner man, but WE look on the outer appearance. For example, at an interview, sometimes we look so much at the outer man and not so much at what he really has inside, and miss the opportunity of selecting someone with the inner qualities that could be a big blessing to your corporation. Again, I’m not saying you shouldn’t dress well or have a well-groomed appearance, that is needed, but you shouldn’t neglect the inner man.
Look at Eph 3:16, That he would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man;
When you talk about blessings, and I think this is become a habit now in the Christian world, blessings is associated with money, and then when I mention blessing they think of more money or a new house or car.
But this verse says more than all the other riches and blessings that He gives us, not to focus so much on this. So it’s very clear here because Jesus says that the gentiles seek after these things and your Father knows what you need. So in this verse here it’s very clear the riches He’s talking about is to be strengthened with the power through His Spirit in the inner man. God is putting more importance there, than to put on the riches you get from the outside. It’s the riches from the spirit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, protection from the Lord. All these things are what we need to really yearn for and really desire.
Once we have that desire the Lord says, Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these other things will be added to you. But we go ahead our whole life investing into something that Jesus says will not profit us but will perish! We don’t have to spend 24 hours a day, but one hour a day investing into the inner man, really giving our full attention to Him and let the Word change us. And as the inner man changes you will see the outer man also changes in a beautiful way. I know my relationship with Him and others changed so much once I let the Lord change me from within.
Sometimes we can lose the focus putting the wrong investment into the wrong account, so let’s look for the riches that God really wants to give us. Because every day we’re being brainwashed by the advertisements and media that we don’t really need, by the way! And we start desiring these things that we don’t even need and we’re being programmed into buying those things – so much is being spent into trying to convert us into living for the outward man. I believe if God’s children can promote more of the true knowledge that Gods wants us to have and to invest into the inner man, then that is a true blessing.
Lets look at 1 Cor 2:14, But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
The natural man receives not the things of the spirit, so there is a state that Christians can get into which is the natural, and the natural man in this state cannot receive the things of the spirit. But in this natural state we very easily receive the things of the world. Jesus said we are not of this world because He has chosen us out of this world. But ‘the natural man receives not the things of God for they are foolishness unto him’ so even to born-again Christians it’s like “Oh these things are not that important”. It’s because we are in the natural state and we’re trying to understand God’s word in the natural state, while the word says, ‘neither can we know them because they are spiritually discerned’.
So get the spiritual understanding and wisdom that God wants us to grow in, in our inner man. Even now I switch back and forth but the Lord wants us to stay more in the spirit. As long as we are dealing with and accepting and desiring the natural things of this world, the inner man will miss out, and if we just feed him a snack once a week, that inner man is not going to be as strong as God wants us to be.