|One thing’s for sure: we know the talk. We expound the importance of Bible reading and prayer. We nod in hearty agreement when the director of the inner-city shelter stands behind the church pulpit, extolling God’s love for marginalized people, whether homeless or handicapped. We read books, listen to tapes, and check out videos from our church library, on everything from witnessing to Scripture memorization. But for all the talk, for all the show, for how nicely we conform ourselves on the outside, I sometimes wonder if we’re not like those mentioned in 2 Timothy 3:5, “having a form of godliness but denying its power.”
I don’t intend to lay a guilt trip, but take a moment and think of all the spiritual disciplines you talk about: prayer and fasting, witnessing and worshiping, memorizing and meditating. Now stop and go back over the list. How many of these disciplines do you practice—not hit-and-miss but on a regular basis?
The kingdom of God is not a matter of talk (which we are so good at) but of power, as our verse says. A form of godliness will soon show cracks and wear. The talk will ring hollow and empty. As Jesus said, “the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21), and our spiritual lives can only be lived—really lived—from the inside out.
You can start today. It begins by asking God to energize you from the inside out. You can’t shape your godliness, but you can let godliness shape you. And God’s power then will affect everything you say and do. Live from the inside out “so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power” (1 Cor. 2:5).
Lord, help me to guard my tongue if I start blabbing on about spiritual disciplines without really living them. And then help me to live in your power from the inside out.