Jesus said outward qualities are only an expression of the inner person. That it is from the heart either love or hatred comes forth. What externally enters a person (such as food) has no value to change the inner. You can read it here.
I decided this week to try and eat more healthily and lose some weight. This was a decision to actively work towards better physical health, yet I know it doesn’t matter how lean I am, true beauty comes from how I love the people in my life…
I believe it’s natural to look for external things to fulfil us and give us joy. We all enjoy new exciting things and feeling special. However it’s actually altruistic day-to-day giving that truly makes life so much richer, and more meaningful.
The character Anne of Green Gables when declaring her love for Gilbert in the series, declares this so eloquently;
“I went looking for my ideals outside of myself and discovered it’s not what the world holds for you, it’s what you bring to it. The dreams dearest to my heart are right here…”
What good is it then if we’re super lean and fit, and/or mega wealthy and a horrible person? How rich is our life if we’re super popular and well known, yet awfully alone for lack of a true friend? How good really is our life if people can’t honestly write a decent obituary for us when we die? Is it really okay for young people to get great grades at school, or know all the answers at youth group, yet at home disobey and disrespect their parents?
Does any of this even matter? I think yes.
So as I look from an external perspective at my body and work towards the shortish goal of becoming physically more healthier, I’m also forced to look at my heart, as I struggle with very real physical challenges that come with this goal, such as cravings and tiredness.
The Lord challenged His people in the Old Testament (Isaiah 58:3-20) when he declared they only fast to quarrel and fight. He told them this would not profit them any favour with Him.
The saying, ‘the means sometimes justifies the end’ is not true. Life is a journey and we need to have personal integrity in all situations and emotions we may experience along the way.
Scripture says it perfectly, “we are but a vapour” (James 4:14; Psalm 103:15 and 1 Peter 1:24). Yes, our life here is incredibly short. We could be gone tomorrow or Jesus could return.
Yet honestly even though I know all these truths in my mind, I still struggle for I am in my human skin. It’s only by sticking close to Jesus and Jesus alone that I can be an authentic loving person, even when no one is watching.
I can relate to ‘Anne of Green Gables’ for the dreams dearest to my own heart are here with me, and therefore how I treat them and myself matters.
I do believe it’s natural to look for external things to fulfill us and give us joy, as we all enjoy new exciting things and feeling special. However it is altruistic day-to-day giving that truly makes life so much richer, and more meaningful and I’ve found Jesus is the One who makes it possible to live this way, while we remain embodied in selfish and demanding, human flesh.
Instead of facing a difficult problem and later praying, “Jesus, I’ve done it again, please forgive me...” Perhaps we should pray, “Keep me from temptation by changing my heart to be like yours…”
Then the inner will change the outer.
We will make good choices that honour The Lord, ourselves and others. We will be beautiful and healthy from the inside out. This doesn’t mean we won’t ever stumble or struggle, but we will be much healthier people because we will look much deeper at our hearts and need for Jesus to be within us. When we keep our eyes upon Him who sees all, we will be able to live more altruistically and find meaning, for this life is but a vapour and we need to be ready to meet Him.
In love, Melanie.