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Outer Man Versus Inner Man: What Does God Look At?

Written By Jennifer Workman

“People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart (I Samuel 16:7, NLT).”

What do you see when you see yourself in the mirror? Do you like what you see? I do, although I am constantly, as a woman, inundated with images in the media of beauty and what traits, characteristics and physical attributes makes a woman beautiful and although the majority of the time I am in disagreement with the media, that is how the world system functions. But if we were to look at the truth and not a lie, the Bible is very clear that although we as people have a tendency to judge each other based on “outward appearance” (I Samuel 16:7, NLT) and tangible things, God has a very different view of mankind.

Take for instance in the Bible when Saul lost his place as King. Samuel went to Jesse to choose one of his son’s as the next king in Saul’s place. When Samuel came and saw one of the son’s, he responded as many of us respond towards each other based on outward appearance i.e. “Samuel took one look at Eliab and thought, “Surely this is the Lord’s anointed (I Samuel 16:6, NLT)!” But, it wasn’t until he went through all the brothers except for the last son David, that it became evident that David was chosen of God and would be the next king. I am so glad that God doesn’t “see as we see.” God states emphatically in his word that “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts, says the Lord. And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine (Isaiah 55: 8, NLT).”

I am very thankful for that! Why? Because many of us would have been neglected and over looked if God’s selection of his people were based on the outer self. But as we see clearly highlighted in scripture that God is not so much concerned about a person’s outward appearance but what is on the inside. For example, in scripture when the Pharisees tried to make it (appear) as if they were deeply religious God rebuked them with this statement “For you are like whitewashed tombs-beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity (Matthew 23:27, NLT).” In other words, any person can wear the mask and act as if they have it “all together” but God knows the true motives of a person’s heart and these man had no depth nor substance inwardly and was unclean and contaminated in the eyes of God.

Furthermore, Jesus addresses this in the Book of Revelation “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth (Revelation 3:15, 16, NLT)!” God wants our obedience and surrender to his will and purpose for our lives not our dead works. He doesn’t want us consuming our time trying to make our outward selves look good and inwardly we are a mess. Our lives must be a true and holy representation of the Lord otherwise, “If we are salt that has lost its flavor, then we are useless and will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless (Matthew 5: 13, NLT).”

I know we as people put a lot of effort into making ourselves look good physically and correlate that to who we are as people but we are so much more than the way we look. Even when choosing mates women and men have their idea of the way their mates should look but the “Bible tells us not to be overly “concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. But, that we should clothes ourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious to the Lord (I Peter 3:3, 4, NLT).”

And, the Bible also tells us that “the human heart is the most deceitful of all things and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9, NLT).” I have seen many good looking men and women but they were very arrogant, prideful and mean-spirited towards people. So, focusing on the outer man leads us all down a path of disappointment and destruction when we make it our focus as opposed to the inner man and making sure we are being made into the image of God and operating according to his purpose and plan for our lives because in actuality, that is the true epitome of beauty and wholeness, a life surrendered and obedient to God! I desire for God to work on my inner self that I will be more like him and serve him faithfully and it is my prayer that God will transform you inwardly as well to “be holy as he is holy” (Leviticus 19:2, NLT) and live life faithfully for him as well.
When we look at the Inner Man Verses the Outer Man, there are many characteristics that needs to be highlighted for learning:

Outer Man:

• Extreme concern with the things of the world. Worldly Focus. (I John 3:15, 16, NLT), (Galatians 5:19-21, NLT)
• Fleshly Motivated (I Peter 4:3, NLT)
• In Enmity and Rebellion against God (Romans 8:7, Ephesians 2:15,16, James 4:4, I Samuel 15:23, Proverbs 17:11, Hebrews 3:8 and Jude 11)
• Influenced by Satan (II Corinthians 11:3, Genesis 3:13, II Corinthians 11:13-15, Acts 5:3)
• Leading a Destructive lifestyle (Romans 6:23) (I Peter 4:3, NLT)
• Recompense: Hell and Damnation (Luke 13:24-28, Proverbs 27:20, Matthew 5:22, 18:9)
Inner Man:
• God Focused (Leviticus 19:2)
• Holy and Righteous Lifestyle ((Galatians 5:22-25)
• Close Relationship and Connection with God (Romans 12:12, Acts 6:4, Ephesian 6:11)
• Influenced by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:8)
• Leading a Productive Lifestyle (Galatians 5:22) (I Thessalonians 4:1-11)
• Reward: Eternity with God (John 3:16, I Thessalonians 3:16-17, NLT)

As you look at the different functions of the Inner Man Verses the Outer Man, you fall into either category. Although that may be the case, my prayer is that if you are currently on the side of the (Outer Man), that you will pray and seek the Lord to save you and transform your life and enable you through the work of the Holy Spirit to disassociate from the Outer Man (“old man”) and operate according to the Inner Man (“new man”). Don’t be fooled by Satan and people because things are not always what they appear! Let your focus and motivation for what you do in life and who you desire to be, be in alignment with the will of God for your life.

The outer man perishes day by day and no one is promised eternity on earth. Everyone has their “appointed time to die and then the judgment (Hebrews 9:27, NLT).” Don’t wait too late to make “your election and calling sure (II Peter 1:10, NKJV).” Jesus loves you and desires for you “not to perish but have eternal life found only through him (II Peter 3:9, NLT).” Even now as I am concluding this article, God is waiting for you to come to him but the decision is ultimately yours. Don’t reject God but give your life to him because he has suffered, bled and died for your benefit. I am glad for my relationship with God and although I am imperfect and a continual work in progress, God is imperfect, my refuge, my strength and my shield and I wouldn’t exchange my relationship with him for anything that this world has to offer for he is unequivocally number one above all things in my life!

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