In one of my favorite stories, a little girl named Susie refused to sit down at her school desk. Her teacher pleaded, “Susie, please sit down!” Susie defiantly said, “No!” The teacher came right back and said, “Susie! I said, sit down!” Again, “No.” The teacher moved closer and said “Susie, SIT DOWN!” taking her by the shoulders she firmly sat her down at her desk. Then she heard Susie mutter, “I may be sitting on the outside, but I’m standing on the inside!”
Like Susie, what we see on the outside may not be the same as what’s on the inside. Rules can make us obedient on the outside, but it doesn’t necessarily follow that we are obedient on the inside. We can obey rules and still rebel against God in our hearts.
Paul tells us that the old way of identifying who was God’s own had no way of affecting the heart. But Jesus changes us from the inside out. Paul likens it to the old person dying, “being buried with him in baptism,” and being given a new life, “raised with him through your faith in the power of God.”
A Christian is a person changed on the inside.
Father, continue to do your work of changing me from the inside out. Amen.