Changed from the Inside Out and Moving Forward

This morning as I gazed outside my window, I saw a middle-aged lady walking out the HDB complex. It was not too early, about 7.30 AM, but surely she has woken up this morning much earlier than me, because she was already on her way to office when I was just beginning to prepare myself.

I watched her while she walked out and wondered what it feels like to be out so early every morning. I’m lucky I don’t have to go so early. Maybe it’s only my imagination, but I somehow saw the lady walked with heavy steps – does she feel not eager to go? Well, today is only Monday, who can blame her? Who, on this earth (I know, I know there are some who just not as lazy as me) wants to get up early and walk eagerly to office on Monday? But eagerly or not eagerly, she walked out. And it crossed my mind, that she actually moves forward!

Wow! What a revelation for me. Every single person in this earth always moves forward when walking – in literal meaning. Yeah, I know some are trying to break records of walking backward, but in real life, in everyday real life, everyone will move forward. Eager or not eager, Saturday or Monday, in health or sickness, we will keep walking forward, we are moving forward.

So I’m thinking, what about my life? Is that what I do about my life? Every single day, every single minute (except when I’m sitting and sleeping, mind you) I would move my steps forward – in the most factual meaning. But do those steps I made with my leg actually bring me forward? Or I’m against the law of the nature and just love to be in my current condition – my comfort zone, my familiar environment, so I don’t actually move forward in my life. Could it be I’m actually walking in circle right now? Not exactly walking (what is it called in English – jalan di tempat?) Maybe my circle is wide enough, so it looks like I’m moving forward, but actually I’m about walking in the same place and never go out?

And so I learned a new thing today, that just as the nature’s law made us to move forward when we walk, we should live our lives in the same direction – going forward and not to be trapped in our current state. No matter how unwelcoming the future might be, or how much we have to face the risks that have waited for us in front. Every step we make must bring us forward in our personal growth.

So I went to office, moving my steps forward, listening to one of John Piper’s sermon about prayer. He prayed to God to change them (Piper & the whole Betlehem Baptist Chruch – his congregations) from the inside out. And so I think again – this is another law of nature which I’ve been fought in my life.

I haven’t given it a thorough research, but I think that’s what happen in life, in nature, that to change, it has to be done from inside to outside. People (me, to be precise) don’t gain weight because I apply some fat to my skin (ugh, such a gross example). Or I don’t go slimmer because I tear some layers of me from outside – it has to be started from inside of my body. The amount of my intake, the exercise I take, will determine the metabolism of my body, then there it goes – whether I’ll be fleshier (ahaha, what a word!) or would be successful in losing my weight. Or like a ripe mango – we can tell that it’s yellowish-red color show that it’s just a nice time to eat it, but surely its color changed from inside not because somebody applies some yellow paint, right?

And it also goes the same with our spiritual growth, to experience the true sanctification, we must be changed from the inside out, and not the opposite. But is it what is done with me? Am I changed from inside out – do I let God and the power of the Christ and the holy Spirit to change me from within, or am I merely trying to show that yes, I’m changed… by what I say or I write, by trying to improve my attitudes?

When I show people my positive attitude, or talk to them in gentle manner – does it happen because I am a gentle person? When I show them some kindness – was it born out of real love from my heart? When I’m being honest to them – was it because I fear of them, or I fear of God? When I look into their eyes and tell them that I care – do I care just because I feel like I care about them, or because I’ve been bringing God’s love to pass to them?

One day my preacher told me in his sermon (I can’t recall who said this), that the spiritual maturity can be measured from how we live our lives. We are spiritually mature if what we live the same life whether if we’re alone or when we’re in front of others. We are spiritually mature when we don’t have to change our way to talk, to act, to behave, to think, when we meet others. We are spiritually mature when we don’t have to switch our personality – and be sure that what we do when we’re alone and what we present in front of other people is the right deed in accordance to the will of God.

How I long to reach spiritual maturity where God has completely reformed me, changed me from within, so I can be a complete new being in God, can walk my way, can show my love, can speak my words, all in the way that pleasant to Him and glorify His name. I long to the day, when I finish this course, and be changed thoroughly, to be made perfect and holy by God in my imperfectness, so I can serve Him all truthfully with all might.

But I guess, it’s a life-long process right? Only when I meet my Maker then I get my perfectness in Christ. Meanwhile, just like what I learned earlier in the start of my morning, I would move my steps forward, while in the same time giving God all chance to change me from within. And tough tomorrow is full uncertainty and dread, may my God be my only guide so I can welcome everyday with courage and strength to move forward, to do His will, to make Him happy 🙂

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