Col 3: 10 says “Put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him.”
Every day we are putting on a new self which is being renewed in the image of Jesus Christ. When you look at the image of Jesus Christ, the Bible says he made Himself of no reputation. So He wasn’t so concerned about what He had or what He ate or where He slept or put on, or if He rode on a donkey or if he walked. His outward things were not so important as His inner man. So if we are being created in His image, what the Bible is saying is that our desires and goals and mission should be more like Him so we can represent Jesus to this world. But sometimes we end up promoting a lot of the worldly things ourselves, instead of being created in that image of Jesus Christ.
So in every Christian who wants to see Jesus there is a process going on which is: being created every day , renewed in the image of Jesus Christ in us. The inner man of Jesus is what its talking about. The Lord wants the same inner man that He had, in us. So that we are not putting so much importance on our reputations.
Our reputation today is so, so important. Christian leaders today are so, so addicted to this image of popularity, and so of course their congregation also follow in the same way, the sum of all these things: how we look, our reputation, the wealth we have, and the education we have. But the more we go into the inner man the less our reputation is the main thing, and we are growing and blossoming inside so that if God gives us riches and a car etc, that will not take the place of Jesus or His Word. It will be something we will use in this life but not something we will crave every day.
Romans 7:22, I delight in the Law of God after the inward man.
It’s amazing how many verses have ‘the inward man’ in it! For a long time I read God’s word out of duty. That was my commitment to God so I’d read it for one hour a day. But I wasn’t delighting in it, I was just reading it so I could finish my one hour with Jesus. But here it says “ I delight”. Delight is what the Lord is looking for, like eating ice cream – you’re not suffering while eating it, you’re delighting in it! And here the only way we can delight in the law of God, Gods word, is in the inner man. The outer man doesn’t desire Gods word. Oh, you can go through the motions but you won’t get any benefit, and sometimes you’ll hear God’s word and if someone asks you what you learnt from the word today you can’t remember, because its going through a formality routine. But are you really delighting in God’s word? It only happens In the inner man, but if the inner man is not centred on Him then you will not crave for God’s word. Romans 8:7, because the carnal mind is enmity against God for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be.
So again the outer man is closely related to the carnal mind. And every day we’re making decisions in the carnal mind and we’re talking with our carnal mind. And all day if I’m carnal minded it says it’s enmity against God, for its not subject to the law of God. And what is the law of God? It is to love God with all your heart and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself. So what happens is that the carnal mind goes against the law of God, which is love. And so the outer man with the carnal mind (which is serving the outward man) is enmity against God. It says, “neither indeed can be”. So again the Lord is constantly reminding us to move from the two dimensional plane to the place in the spirit where the inner man is being strengthened.
As the song goes, “Let Love reign in you”, and that is the surest way to transform your inner man.
I don’t want to come across as just saying don’t worry about the outward man and don’t build houses or get a promotion in your job. No, all those things are important, but to find the right balance investing into the inner man and also investing into the outward man and sometimes the right balance is where we’re missing out. I think every one of us who love Jesus want the inner man to be central. I don’t think anyone just wants the outward man, but just because we’re stuck in this world and the world around us – the office or the school or whatever we’re doing – if its so much promoting the outer man, the only way to stay inoculated against those things is to spend more time in God’s word.
Anyone can enjoy the inner man and grow, whether you’re blind or deaf or have limbs or not, or have some sickness you’re fighting or going through, some lifelong debilitation; none of those things can stop you from growing in the inner man. Its free for anyone who wants it . All the good things God wants to give us , it’s for everyone, it’s not limited by your physical circumstances or your physical whatever, your body or the place you’re working at. It’s not going to limit you. That growth is promised to anybody and actually as the inner man grows, so grows your happiness. So grows your love. And you suddenly find yourself more loving, more sacrificial, more understanding; all those good qualities God is just waiting to give us. I know we, as Christians, we decide those things. The fruits of the spirit may be manifested as we let the inner man be strengthened.
So yes, we do need money and do need to invest in the outer man too; we have children and other responsibilities, but as we focus and put first things first, the blessings come from Him. The Bible says, before you ask God said He will take care of the outer man. It will come as a blessing from Him. The Bible says even before you ask He knows what you need. It says He is wanting to give it to us.
So sometimes He creates a situation where we are kind of forced to invest into the inner man. Recently, one of my friend’s father had a small accident where his leg had a small fracture and he came to live with my friend who’s a doctor. He had to stay in bed, he was bedridden, and I happened to be there in his house and I spent quite a lot of time sharing God’s written word with him, sharing classes. Sometimes the Lord will see us in a situation with time on our hands and He wants the inner man to be strengthened. Sometimes we are so busy running around doing the business of this world. And it happened to me many times in my service to the Lord. He would take me aside.
(Aside to a friend) How about you Simon? You take time every year for a few days to go to a South Sea Island, not to just enjoy the scenery but to develop your inner man. What do you do there?
Simon: “I just take time with the Lord. I often don’t have enough time with the Lord as I’d like, having a big family and a busy ministry. So I take time to get away and completely disconnect and have nothing else to do but read and pray and meditate and hear from the Lord and listen to devotional music which brings me close to the Lord and have uninterrupted time with Jesus. And I’ve done that for the last 7or 8 years and during that time the Lord has given me direction and I’ve come back very strengthened and He’s been able to lead and guide me and keep us on the right track. “
Maybe some of you can’t all go to the South Sea Islands, but I know God will provide a place if you want to spend a time with Him which he calls a place of quietness. And the Lord just loves that. He’s just waiting for us to do that, to get away from all the busyness of this world and this life and take the time with Him so the inner man can get strengthened and I recommend that. You don’t have to have so much money to just take off, to any quiet place. It can even just be your room, a small room.. but to avail yourself, where the Lord can pour into us and just spend time with Him. And He will add onto you. When He sees you doing that, when you’re putting the inner man as the most important thing that you want to strengthen through Jesus and through His word, then He will open up doors. He will give you ideas for new ventures or new business or whatever you want to do, but that time should be especially just for Him. And the more we practice that and the more time we spend with Him, automatically the inner man is being strengthened.
You know the Lord just loves us so much and its an unending, untiring love. And if you’re in love with someone the thing you most want to do is spend time with them and that’s what the Lord most desires from us, to give Him our time. And that’s the one thing we have that we can give to Him – I mean He owns everything else! – and that’s our time. And if you do that He’ll bless you and you will develop your relationship with Jesus.
It’s not about religion, its not about going to church, its not about obeying a list of do’s and don’ts, it’s about your personal relationship with Jesus. If you have a relationship with Jesus you will strengthen your inner man. And at the end of the day your inner man is all that you’re going to have left, your outer man will perish. Its only the inner man that will go on to live into eternity. So when you invest in your inner man you’re investing in your eternal future; everything else is going to perish. And we can perish at any time, we have no guarantee we’re going to still be alive tomorrow.
If you have not yet received Jesus into your heart and had your inner man born again into the kingdom of God then maybe this is a good time to do it. Jesus made it very simple to receive Him so that even a little child can understand it. You just have to believe in Jesus and desire to enter into relationship with Him, and He will come into your heart, and His spirit will come inside you and be part of you and you will be joined together with Jesus and you will be in a very close relationship with Him as His dear child and He will watch over you. He’ll provide for you and love you more than any earthly Father ever could. Maybe even some of you Christians listening, you go to church and do all the outward shows of being religious, but you never actually gave your heart to Jesus and let Him come in to change your inner man.
We can pray, and those of you who are already Christians, maybe you can just recommit yourselves to prioritizing the feeding, nourishing and strengthening of your inner man. The real being ‘born again’ is being born into that relationship with Jesus. So just repeat this short prayer:
“Dear Jesus, please come into my heart, forgive me for my sins, help me to love you and love others. Please fill me with Your beautiful Spirit of Love and give me the free gift of eternal life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”