So which is it for you? When Christ came into your life, did He begin a process of changing you from the inside out or from the outside in? If we understand the concept of spiritual rebirth and new life, we’ll quickly say that changes are being made from the inside out. Now that Christ is our life and the Spirit resides in us, we are changing. But that change is happening on the inside.
So why do most people look for the outside to change first? All the character curriculums, the new lifestyles, the rules and standards—all are outside things. It’s actually easy to change the outside. We can do that ourselves. But we can’t change the inside ourselves.
Jesus called the scribes and Pharisees “whitewashed tombs” in Matthew 23. They fixed up the outside, but the inside was corrupt. It seems fair to say that this describes the legalist version of the Christian life. Respectable on the outside, for the most part, but unchanged on the inside.
The Lord looks on the heart, Samuel was reminded. He cares far less about what you do than about who you are. Trust the Lord to make the changes He wants in your life—from the inside out. Progress may not be as easy to see, certainly not as easy for others to see, but the changes will be substantial and real.