Sitting in a church sanctuary, I was listening to a nationally known Christian leader speak to a group of leaders about the importance of godly character. After his well-crafted presentation, we were given an opportunity to ask questions. And so I did.
My question was essentially this: “For decades, I have heard this message about character preached, and yet we still see moral failure after moral failure among Christian leaders. Why is that?”
The man answered the best that he could while also admitting that he didn’t really have a good answer. I appreciated his honesty.
Why We Ignore Our Inner Lives
I don’t think the problem lies with Christian leaders seeing character as unimportant. It’s just that there are so many other important things to vie for our attention. This is especially true when we are moved by a God-given vision to make a difference in this lost and dying world.
There is work to be done. Souls need to be saved. Messages require preparation. Finances must be raised. And of course, in working with people, we can expect crises to attend to. The list goes on and on and on . . . .
And so the work of the ministry continues . . . until a long-simmering undercurrent suddenly takes center stage.
At that moment, the importance of character becomes painfully clear, but rearview-mirror vision is powerless to fix all the damage done by those character breakdowns. It is in those moments of pain and confusion that we discover why the inner life matters so much.
The writer of Proverbs gave some especially wise advice to his readers:
Watch over your heart with all diligence for from it flow the springs of life.Proverbs 4:23 (NASB)
From the heart flow the very springs of life! Understanding this truth illuminates the vision of Search for Me Ministries.
Our books and resources focus heavily on our inner lives because it is from our hearts that the springs of life flow.
Why the Inner Life Matters
Of course, we care about the unsaved and about the overall mission of the church. But we also understand how the state of our hearts affects our ability to fulfill that very mission.
Service to God is not just about the good works that we do, it is also about the quality of the waters that flow from our hearts. Our inner lives either purify, refresh, and strengthen others, or they pollute and contaminate the very ones we are trying to help.
No one is perfect. But purification of motives is a vital process nonetheless.
How much lead does it take to turn a water supply toxic? The U.S. Government threshold is only 15 parts per billion.
What goes on inside of us has a huge influence on what goes on around us.
If we can learn to align our inner lives with the dynamics of God’s truth, we will abide in His grace. Everything else will then follow in its season. But if we fail to align our inner lives, all our grand and noble endeavors will eventually fail in their season.
“Watch over your heart with all diligence for from it flow the springs of life.” Such wisdom for the ages!