Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: The Inner Person (09/09/10)
TITLE: A Toast To Ihe Inner Man
By Melanie Kerr
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Keith Whillis was gifted an inner man when the Lord Almighty breathed on him. He was entrusted with a treasure within when he called on Jesus to save him – a treasure that had the potential to pervade his thoughts and transform his actions.
Many of us knew and admired Keith for his consistent church attendance. We all recognized that outer shell, so meticulously presented – the smart suits, the sombre ties and well polished shoes. We have all felt the firm grasp of his handshake, and returned the smile that beamed from his face.
The seed of Keith’s faith, however, was never rooted in anything deeper than a few inches of soil. His heart was never really broken. He glanced but rarely gazed upon the beauty of the Lord, and never perceived the glory of God in the face of Christ. His conscience was lightly touched but rarely troubled and his inner man never really had a chance to fully develop.
We have to perhaps acknowledge that responsibility for the death of Keith’s inner man was not wholly his responsibility. A preacher must move beyond a lecture-like presentation that focuses on the meaning of the text but rarely engages the attention of the inner man. Keith was an informed listener, but he was never challenged to change. Never was his inner man brought to his knees by the word he encountered.
Keith’s inner man was fed on duty and obligation. He mastered a code of behaviour and shouldered the burden of obedience. He never knew the joy of an easy yoke and a light burden. He never really knew God’s grace, but lived beneath the hammer of the law.
The one desire of Keith’s inner man was to know the love of Christ. He longed for the likeness of the Saviour to be seen in him and for Christ to be first in his heart. Other things mattered to Keith. He cared about the opinions of others and measured success in bank notes and possessions. Pleasing his boss at work came before pleasing God. Christ was sidelined and marginalised.
Oh that Keith might have listened to his inner man, nurtured him even. His eyes would have been opened and he would have been able to behold the wondrous things God was doing around him. In those times of turmoil and stress, he would have known an anchor that held him steady. He would have known his infirmities and fell before the throne of grace.
The outward man, Keith, decayed and his inner man who should have been renewed day by day, but Keith’s spirit failed to flourish. Truths that should have been breathed into life were allowed to die.
The life of an inner man was wasted. And yet, despite those empty decades, during those last few weeks, when Keith Whillis could only lay still and listen, his inner man spoke. The outer shell fragile and failing allowed the inner man to break through. Keith heard words of peace, spoke words of repentance and sang songs of worship.
Friends, let us raise our glasses and toast the inner man of Keith Whillis, and in doing so commit ourselves to nourishing the inner man within each of us.
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