Jan
21

The Inward, Outward, and Upward Journey

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Yesterday I shared with you about how fasting ups our awareness. Today I want to take that a step further.

Life is an inward, outward, and upward journey. Fasting touches all three of those areas.

The inward journey is the one in which we allow God to go inside our hearts and show us what is not pure. He also gives us revelation as to why certain issues are a struggle for us. Maybe he reveals an issue we have with rejection and then takes us even deeper to look at a significant life relationship that this struggle stems from.

In our outward journey, fasting causes us to see others with new eyes. Isaiah 58 is clear about the fact that our fasting ought to result in tangible care for others, whether that care be helping someone with groceries, encouraging someone, ministering to the about Christ’s love, or fixing their car.

The upward journey is the one in which we are taken deeper into the experiential knowledge of the love of God.

I pointed out yesterday that we are triune beings; our body, soul, and spirit are all interconnected and affect one another. In the same way, these three journeys are interconnected and affect one another.

As we allow God to change our hearts, we suddenly find that we care more for others and know God’s heart in new ways. When we reach out to care more for others, God goes inside our hearts and softens them, making us more aware of the needs of humanity. As our upward journey changes what we know and believe about God, we are taken deeper into His truth, resulting  in revelation of our own hearts and eyes to see the needs of others.

In the moments that has defined history and eternity, we see Jesus reflecting all three of these. We see these three overlapping at times. If we look at Jesus on the cross, we see:

Inward: “I thirst.” He was aware of his physical needs.

Inward and upward:  “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” He was in touch with the  inward and upward journey.

Outward: “This day you’ll be with me in paradise.” Reaching out, even in his most difficult moments to care for others.

Outward and upward:” Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing.”

Outward: “John, behold your mother. Mother, behold your son.”

Inward and upward: “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”

“It is finished.” The declaration that we all could truly be reconciled with God, could truly be reconciled with one another and love others as we should, and have peace with our own hearts.  We can be whole in every way because of what Jesus did, whether in our relationship to our own heart and life, our relationship with others, and/or our relationship with God.

Jesus said, “I am come that you might have life and have it in abundance.”

As your fasting during these 21 days does the work it is intended to, look for the evidence in your inward, outward, and upward journey.  Living life in fullness means being aware of what’s going on in us, around us, and in our relationship with God. What is happening in your inward, outward, and upward journey this week?

 

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