Good morning! I am so glad you are joining in on our study of 1 John! We are on our last week of the study and it has been amazing to see what God has revealed through His Word. If you are just now joining us, begin your study here. Praying God reveals beautiful truth’s through His powerful Word.
Reading: 1 John 5:1-5
Before each test in college, I would have all sorts of dreams about sleeping past my alarm, showing up with my clothes inside-out (or maybe even no pants at all!), or of completely failing my assignment. My imagination has always been a wild one. These dreams would unsettle and unnerve me each time. Have you ever woken up from a dream that made you feel funny all day? Like you need to go back to bed and start again on a good note? Deep down, I used to fear living inside-out. One who lives life inside-out finds their core in Christ and every action is first fanned into flame by a deep love for Him. Even in my tests, I feared failure because I didn’t believe in the sovereignty of God. I feared vulnerability because I wasn’t sure how people would respond to my what was deep in my heart. I did all I could in my own strength to keep my “go-getter good girl who seemed to never trip up” reputation going strong. That is, until Satan revealed to me the power of strongholds in college.
My freshman year of college I battled with an eating disorder. It was a deep, dark struggle that I tried to cover up. The issue wasn’t just the lies I was believing about food, exercise and beauty, but that I was living a life that was “outside-in.” My focus was centered on my outward appearance more than my heart. In doing so, my heart suffered a beating by the Enemy’s lies and deceit. I’ll never forget the day God opened my eyes to the vastness and depth of my sin. I felt as if I would never overcome this stronghold. It was a battle of the mind, and in order to overcome, I had to start living life “inside-out.”
1 John 5:1-5 reminds us of the powerful truth that we are “overcomers” with Christ. If you are a believer, then you have ben born of God and are now His child. As His child you are now responsible to “love the children of God…love God and obey his commandments.” In order to live a life that has “overcome” with Christ, we must live a life that is “inside-out” rather than “outside-in.” As fallen human beings, we like to work on the outside more than the inside. The outside is more mechanical. We eat, drink, exercise, put on make-up, buy the newest fashions and smile even when our heart is broken. Most women today are walking around with a facade of happiness but a heart of heaviness. Living life “outside-in” is exhausting.
As God began to heal me from my eating disorder (read more about this story here), He began with the renewal of my mind before my body. My underweight body couldn’t be whole until my mind was washed clean and covered with truth. I desperately needed the power of Christ to “overcome” the struggle for me. Have you ever been deep in the trenches of mind warfare, where Satan attacks your thoughts each day with lies contrary to God’s truth? It is a battle. The blows seem hard, but the beauty is that we overcome through believing in Jesus.
I didn’t overcome my eating disorder through my own strength. It was an “inside-out” process of tearing down the idols I had set up and setting my eyes back on the cross of Christ who had already conquered my sin. The truth is, whether you are currently in the trenches, have been or will be in the trenches, this truth remains the same: your faith in Christ has overcome the struggle. Faith is the conviction that Jesus is the Son of God and that through believing in Him you have died to your old self and live to Him. This faith in Christ overcomes insecurities, fear, death, worry, obstacles, impossibilities, hate, doubt, discouragement and anything else you can add to the list. Faith overcomes.
Following Jesus is “inside-out” compared to this world. It means finding greater worth in the Kingdom of God than in building your own “kingdom” on earth. It means putting greater value on the commandments of God verses the ways of this world. It means uncovering the mire in your heart and allowing God to clean it with the blood of Christ. Inside-out living is vulnerable, freeing and overcoming.
Have you been living a life that is “outside-in”, focusing on the temporal and how you appear to others? Does your reputation of “perfection” hold greater worth than dying to yourself each day? Do you fear others seeing your struggles? Do you full your days with busyness and long to-do lists but spend little time in the presence of God? We tend to live backwards when our schedules fill up.
Take time today evaluating the inside. You have been born of God and are His child, therefore you have “overcome the world.” Through Christ, I was able to overcome my eating disorder. Through Christ, you can overcome your stronghold as well. But, remember, the process of overcoming begins on the inside. It begins with tearing down walls of lies and altars of idols. Victory comes through believing in the Jesus and having your faith strengthened by your struggle. When you get discouraged in the process, read Hebrews 11 and be reminded of all the overcomers before you. They didn’t overcome their obstacles because they were perfect or strong. Rather, they overcame because they believed in the power of God in overcoming their obstacles for them.
- Abel’s legacy overcame murder and death and still speaks to us today (verse 4).
- Noah overcame the condemnation of the world by obeying God and building an ark even when there was no rain (verse 7).
- Abraham overcame the impossibilities of life by obeying God to go to a foreign land and believing God would fulfill his promise to him and Sarah (verse 8-9).
- Sarah overcame childlessness by receiving the power to conceive because “she considered him faithful who had promised” (verse 11).
- (and the list goes on and on!)
Faith in Christ was the reason each person in this chapter overcame. Sister, you are on the winning side. This day, put on the “imperishable” truth of God’s promises. Read 1 Corinthians 15:57 and claim the truth that through the cross of Christ AND His resurrection from the dead, you have overcome. Misty Edwards wrote a song with powerful lyrics, “It’s the inside outside upside down kingdom, where you lose to gain and you to die live.”
Live inside-out today and let the truth of God ways away your strongholds and the love of God fan into flame living a life of obedience for Him. Inside-out living is where abundant life is with Christ. Embrace the process. He is doing a mighty work of overcoming in you.
living inside-out with you,