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It's The Inside, Stupid
by Martin Wiles
05/03/11
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Ephesians 4:22-24
(excerpt from Morning Meditations by Martin Wiles)
Ephesians 4:24 You must display a new nature because you are a new person. (NLT)
I know. Iím not supposed to use the s----- word, but Iím really saying it to myself so itís permissible. A similar phrase was used in former president Bill Clintonís presidential run against George H. W. Bush in 1992. Then it was, ďItís the economy, stupid.Ē It had to do with focus and priority.
Otis was the town drunk on the Andy Griffith series. One episode depicts him as a deputy-a position Andy suggested and Barney reluctantly agreed to. Otisí family was coming for a visit which put Otis in a predicament since he had told them he was a deputy. The entire plot was hatched because Otis had been classed as the black sheep of the family.
A dilemma remained. Putting on the uniform didnít take away Otisí desire to drink. The temptation remained, but he agreed to reframe as long as he was in uniform. It was only after he discovered his brother was a town drunk also that he looked in the mirror and discovered his real problem was inside.
Paul has the order correct. We display different attitudes, actions and thoughts because we are new persons on the inside. He says a similar thing in another epistle; The old life is gone. A new life has begun. (II Corinthians 5:17)
Changing the outside doesnít alter the inside, but this seems to be the prevailing mindset. The week has been pretty rough, so a new outfit should make me feel better. I feel guilty for earning so much this year, so Iíll make a sizable donation to my charity of choice-and after all, it will be a tax write off. Makeup, manicures, pedicures, jewelry, tanning salons, hair salons, and exercise shops are part of the outside is more important philosophy. Donít misunderstand. Iím glad we tend to the outside, and we should look our best as long as we remember the motives behind the madness are more important.
Prayer: Lord, when Iím tempted to focus on the outside at the expense of the inside, remind me You see both.

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