Sitting in church Sunday, I glanced at my husband and was dismayed to notice that his shirt was inside out. Surprised, but not too ruffled, he exited out the side door right by him and made the switch. That was actually the second time my dear husband has been an inside out shirt trend setter at church. The first time I noticed it after we returned to our seats from the alter where we had stood, back to congregation, and prayed for our youngest son on Graduation Sunday, while sporting “Faded Glory” washing instructions across his back for anyone with a keen eye. While laughing at work the next day about our mishap, a sweet boss told me that it is the sign of a lucky man to find his shirt on inside out. I don’t know, but I was thinking about the inside out business of being a Christian.
When life seems overwhelming, I run to the Rock that is higher then I, and (sometimes after kicking and screaming inside first), I usually find this inside out truth – that His strength is made perfect in my weakness. I make it my goal to…” take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, catastrophes, persecutions, and in pressures because of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor. 12:9-10 HCSB) When I forgive others with the same grace I’ve received, knowing the ground is equal at the foot of the cross, and when I trust God to turn a situation around for the good, He is then willing to go to work on my behalf.
He picks up right where my weakness and faith invite Him in to take over. Nothing is impossible with Him.
Most everybody knows worry is a bad thing even in the most upsetting of circumstances. It might take me a little while to get to a place of peace. But the most inside out thing of all is to give thanks for my upsets and tragedies. Not that I am glad for tragedies, but that God can be glorified through them. For that I can give thanks with His help.
Here’s another inside out principle….storing up and coveting more and better without thought for the poor (and that is not necessarily defined by government) can make a selfish and hardened heart, yet generous sharing enriches a soul. God warns not to live in selfish luxury and indulgence. Giving, especially sacrificial giving, definitely softens the heart and just plain feels good. In another inside out twist, God has actually chosen the poor who love Him to be rich in faith.
I have been on both ends of rudeness and mistreatment before, (whether intentional or not) as likely anyone whose honest has. It happens, though the persecutions spoken of here are more serious and horrific around the globe, and on the increase even in our country. But the inside out perspective is this. There’s a reward waiting when I leave it in God’s hands and refuse bitterness.
The cool thing about being a child of God is the enemy can’t win. He’s already lost. Even when I’m down. God rushes to rescue (soul first and foremost) and uses it all. When I rally in my own strength this promise does not apply.
With God, the way up is down...bowed down in prayer that is. Praying His promises, believing He will fulfill them because I have died to self and live for Him. Just as a flower dies to drop it’s seed before renewal, so I have to leave my vision in His hands to fulfill or not, according to His best plan.
Here’s a great inside out truth. I look at what can’t be seen. But actually, in my faith, it can be seen and I hold onto it through His promises. Because of this I can let go and worship while still in the storm. I can “see” with my faith vision, and because of His love for me that I know so well, I know that I know that He is at work.
In my prayers, I go to war with the most powerful weapons not generally known to man. They are mighty weapons that demolish “invisible”, but very real, strongholds. They are the weapons of the name of Jesus, my faith in Him, and the Scripture promises that I stand on! There is nothing on this earth so effective as a devoted child of God praying with “clean hands” and a pure heart (because of Christ) and childlike trust. It’s here that often dismal circumstances turn with God’s miraculous touch, but whether or not, I definitely abide in His presence and know His love. No matter how my life is going here, where I am just a stranger, I long for the day I am with Him in eternity and these present sufferings behind me. I know it’s just ahead and I keep my eye on the prize.
That seems to be the ultimate inside out deal. Faithful unto death, gets the crown of life. Whether it’s death to a thousand little selfish things, or choosing death over denying Christ for eternity’s sake, this is the ultimate call. So next time you find your shirt on inside out, consider yourself “lucky” to be reminded that we live inside out. What have you worn inside out or turned around? Please tell me it’s not just at our house. What “lucky” application fits?