Living With Your Inner Man: Getting Real About the Real You
If you’ve ever felt misunderstood, misjudged or completely misinterpreted, this post is for you. If your inner life drives you crazy despite your calm and collected countenance, this post is for you. If you are doing the right things for the wrong reason, this post is for you. And if you’re wondering what conviction is all about, this post is for you.
God deals with us according to our inner man – not merely our behavior. You can do the right thing – and your heart is not necessarily in it at all. In fact, everything in you rejects it. Whatever that may be, God is after your heart. God is the LOVER of our souls. He’s not interested in your behavior – He’s interested in your heart.
How many times have you had a bad day, yet because your countenance was dim people misjudged you? How many times have you done something with the right heart when every bone in your body ached and you could hardly keep your eyes open? How many times have you said something meaning one thing, but it came across wrong to the individual who heard you? Ooops.
We all have idiosyncracies. We all have our personalities. Sometimes our hearts just don’t shine through the way they need to. God is not looking merely at our behavior. He’s looking at our heart. The truth is – regardless of what others may see or fail to see, we all have motives, intentions, and attitudes that only God knows, sees, and is able to rightly judge.
IT TAKES TIME TO GET TO KNOW PEOPLE.
In this post we’re going to talk about living with your inner man. We’re going to get real. Because what is coming out may not at all be an accurate portrayal of what is in your heart. On the flip side, you can be doing all the right things with a bright countenance – and if people could read the “bubbles” above your head you’d be outright ashamed.
It goes both ways.
Personality vs. Character
I, for one, have been misjudged and misunderstood my whole life. As a female, I can tell you that I have an extraordinarily bold and tenacious personality, yet I am also extraordinarily tender-hearted. God has intricately woven me of both. As I’ve grown and matured through life, it took time for me to get comfortable in my own skin. I had to get to know myself, allowing God to both define and refine me. I’m a complex personality. Now that I’m grown, I fully understand who I am and why God created me as He has. I’m a unique design for a unique purpose – just as every one of you who are reading this. We are all unique creatures created for a distinct purpose. Part of your gift is your own personality.
When people who don’t know us misjudge us, it can be very difficult. It’s painful. It has the potential to destroy or malign our reputation, and that kind of ungodly behavior is very destructive. The scriptures teach us to prove others. It takes time to do that, hence the difference between personality and character.
I want to encourage all of you to allow God to reveal who you are in Him, why He’s created you as He has, and show you His purpose in doing so. When people don’t “get you”, that’s okay. Immature people don’t take time to get to know others. They often form opinions prematurely. The foundation of their judgments are faulty. You don’t owe anyone an explanation for why you are the way you are. God knows. Sometimes it takes years to grow into who He’s created you to be. And for goodness sake, we all have our good and bad days. God forbid that someone judges us when we have a bad day.
By the same token, I encourage you to take the time to get to know people. Let them prove themselves. The scriptures teach us to prove all things – that includes individuals.
People can often have a wonderful personality, and yet lack godly character. They hold themselves in high esteem while every one else is under constant scrutiny. They have a “divine gift of judgment”. They fail to understand the concept of humility, mercy, grace, and brotherly love. Their behavior is often cynical and critical of others, which instigates division. Yet they never take a moment to judge themselves, or allow God to penetrate their hearts and weigh them in His holy balance.
I encourage you to always take the necessary time to get to know others. Give people some room. Give them some grace. Love mercy. Allow others some time to prove themselves. I have learned to never – NEVER – make hasty judgments about any individual. Personalities can be very deceiving. I’ve known people who are warm, friendly, and bubbly – only to find that their character was sorely lacking. What a disappointment! They gossip. They’re critical. They’re self-centered. And they’re judgmental. Likewise, I’ve known others who may not have the most gregarious personality, and they may even be boring. They’re more serious. Perhaps they are more introverted. They may even be one of those personalities that bristle you. They may appear harsh. But their character shines brightly of integrity, honor, trust, and respect. They are people I could trust with my very life. They’re not the most fun in the world – but my goodness are they “spot on” in the LORD! These are often refined individuals who live above the opinion of man, hence their appearance of being more aloof or disconnected. They’re not after the praises or approval of men. They care nothing for it whatsoever. They are entirely consumed with the opinion of the LORD, desiring to please Him alone.
Nothing offends men
like a mature individual who gives no credence to their personal opinion of him.
I encourage you to become such an individual. It matters not what men think of you. You will be misunderstood, misjudged, and misinterpreted – even as Christ was. You will even be hated. That’s okay. The opinion of the LORD is what matters. Live your life so as to please Him – and not man.
Take the necessary time to get to know people. Let them prove themselves.
The Real You
This is where sanctification truly takes place. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. God is not into “behavioral modification”. God is not merely looking at our behavior. God is looking at our hearts. He inspects our motives. He weighs us in His holy balance.
Granted, we all miss it and have bad days. Just remember, what God is looking for is a pure heart.
I’ve known many people who have done right things, only to find that they had in fact done something wrong. They wept. It broke their heart. Why? Because their hearts were pure in the act. Their intentions were completely good, wholesome and just. When your heart is in something that is good and you find out that it’s wrong – it’s devastating. That is a pure heart at work, which God honors. Despite our deeds, that is what God looks upon. He’s not merely looking at what we do – He is looking at why we do it. In like manner, I’ve known people to do good things purely for show, and for reasons that are entirely ungodly. Their motives were deceptive, selfish and proud. That is a corrupt heart at work, which God cannot and will not honor.
I want to talk about your heart. Because you may be doing all the right things, but if your thoughts and intentions are not pure, God is not pleased. None of us are exempt from God’s refinement if we’re going to walk with the LORD. One of the outgrowths of a truly intimate relationship with Christ is the sanctification of your soul. That inner purification and refinement is happening every moment of every day as the LORD deals with you in every thought, every motive, and every intention. You can’t escape Him or His conviction. This is a lifestyle. It’s a process. It’s a lifelong journey.
When holy conviction for ourselves is replaced by the criticism of others,
we heap condemnation upon our own heads.
Every single one of us are at different places in our journey of sanctification. What man sees versus what is truly happening inside us may be vastly different. We can all control our behavior. But what is going on inside? Is it pleasing the LORD?
We are all called to judge the deeds of men in dividing good from evil; right from wrong; and truth from error. But the heart of man by which those deeds are committed is subject to the judgment of God alone.
Your Private Bubbles
I call this the bubble test. We all have our bubbles. For those of you who have no idea what I’m referring to, remember the cartoons with the bubbles where the thoughts and words of each individual are depicted? Yeah. That’s you. God reads our bubbles. You live with your bubbles all day, every day.
Do your bubbles glorify God?
What if people could suddenly hear or see your bubbles? What would your reputation be like then? Would God be pleased?
If God were to expose your heart, what would others see?
God does not define us by our physical body. He looks at our soul: our mind, will, and emotions. He judges the thoughts and attitudes of our heart. Let’s be very careful before we judge people. Let’s take the time to get to know them. Let’s give them room for error, extending the same grace and mercy we need ourselves. Let’s cut them some slack. Let’s not be hasty in our conclusions or judgments. In fact, let’s be very, very careful about judging others at all. Let’s keep it simple: If you don’t have peace about someone, or you don’t personally like them – then don’t keep company with them. That doesn’t give you permission to destroy their reputation.
Finally, let’s not draw bubbles for other people. Let’s not assume anything upon anyone at any time. The LORD made it very clear that you will know them by their fruit. People do not have to be warm and fuzzy to be godly. By the same token, people who are warm and fuzzy can be evil. Some of the best people I’ve ever known in my life have been almost “cold”. It took me a very long time to get to know them. Their personalities were often introverted. And their motives were not set out to please men. In fact, they often offended men because they followed Christ so intimately that others did not understand them at all.
I caution you to make hasty judgments of anyone. Get to know people. And if time is not afforded you, take them for who they are, extending the grace and mercy you need for yourself. Always extend grace. We’re all very unique individuals.
In closing, let’s focus on ourselves instead of others. Let’s begin to get real about our real self. What’s is going on inside you? Are you ready to allow God to intimately examine you? What are your bubbles saying? Are you consumed with pleasing men or God? What opinion motivates you?
Just remember: What you see in others may not be an accurate reflection of what’s inside. I pray you take that truth to heart as you come before the LORD. Because He alone is our Judge.
For those who are being sanctified, God pops every bubble.
May you encounter Him in every thought; every emotion; every motive; and every intention – becoming more and more like Christ, being transformed into His image. May your heart be wholly purified. May your inner man be the very reflection of Jesus Christ, Himself. But know this: that does not mean people will love you. Quite the contrary. Prepare to be hated for His name’s sake.
CHRIST OFFENDED MANY.
He still offends many.
When you’re no longer afraid to offend people, you will offend them.
They will be offended that their opinion of you no longer matters.
If you’re going to be misunderstood and misjudged – let it be for the right reason. And if you’re going to live a sanctified life unto the LORD, it’s time to invite Him into the depths.
Cheers & Shalom,
For more on sanctification, see my bible study Effectual Repentance