I was visiting one of my favorite fast-food restaurants the other day for lunch and I couldn't help but notice the person in line in front of me. I'm not sure if this person knew what they had done, or if they were trying to make some type of fashion statement, but he had his shirt on inside-out. In thinking about it a little more, I really think he knew he had put his shirt on backwards. He was a younger, teen-aged person, hanging out with some of his other friends so I imagine that he was dressing this way intentionally.
There were certainly no secrets at that point. You could see the seams in his shirt. You could see all the lose threads that normally wouldn't show. You could see the tag on the collar. In fact, if you stood behind him, you immediately new what size shirt he wore and what material the shirt was made from.
The interesting thing was that he didn't appear ashamed of how he was dressed. He didn't seemed concerned that others might be staring at him. He didn't seem the least bit worried that others might think he was dressed "weird." For whatever reason, he decided that this was how he was going to dress this particular day and the rest didn't matter. He was certainly sincere in his beliefs about how he wanted to dress.
The encounter with this young person reminded me of a time in my Christian Life. It was a time I'm not particularly proud of, but a time when I was more concerned that others thought I was a Christian, rather than actually living the true life of a Christian. I looked the part. I said all the right things. I prayed all the right prayers. I did all the things you would expect in order to give others the impression I was a Christian. Don't get me wrong, I had accepted Christ as a teen-ager, but at this time in my life I was just going through the motions. I didn't have an intimate relationship with Christ. I was more concerned with the "outer" perception of being a Christian. After a while, I became tired of "playing the Christian role" and realized there was something missing in my life. I finally realized that I was not looking at God as a relationship from my heart, from the "inside out."
I began to study more; to pray more; to reach out more. Before too long, I felt closer to God than I had ever felt. For the first time in a long time, I felt my relationship with the Lord from the "inside out" and not from the "outside." It was personal now. It wasn't just for show. I didn't care who knew it. In fact, I wanted everyone to know it. I wanted others to have this relationship that I now had.
I don't know if you've ever felt this way in your Christian Life? Or, maybe, you're feeling this way right now?
Let me challenge you to begin looking at your personal relationship with Christ from the "inside out." Begin looking at your own heart. Begin looking at what an awesome God we serve, and how little we really are. Begin looking at the majesty and greatness of our Savior and you'll soon realize (like me) that we are nothing without HIM. We can accomplish nothing without his strength and guidance.
You'll soon see that your testimony will be a glowing example to others. You'll see that others will want what you have. Others will see the "realness" and sincerity of your Life because it comes from the "inside out."