A Life Turned Inside Out

A Life Turned Inside Out

by Pastor Kurt Ebert on March 01, 2024

We find ourselves in the heart of the church season of Lent, a time of reflection and repentance. It is a time that we consider the nature of our being, the nature of our living, and the nature of God’s love for us and His creation.

Martin Luther in his reflections upon the nature of humankind offered this thought, “It is easy…to sense how we seek and love ourselves …, how we are bent in and curved in upon ourselves, if not in what we do, then at least in what we are disposed to do” 1 According to Luther, our sinful nature is one that leaves us “turned in upon ourselves.” It is the natural tendency to allow the unholy Trinity of “ME, MYSELF, AND I” to rule over and above the Holy Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

In his own reflections on the subject, the Apostle Paul urged early Christians to “[do] nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4).

So, how are we doing today in considering others better than ourselves? We live in a hyper “mefocused” society, and too often the lives of those inside the church reflect the lives of those outside the church. We continue to be turned in upon ourselves both individually and congregationally.

We can be more concerned of what is going on inside these walls than what is going on outside these walls in the homes, workplaces, and shared spaces of our congregation and our community. The truth is that when Jesus called us to “take up our cross and follow him,” he desired to change the “shape” of our lives. Rather than a life that is constantly circling back upon itself, Christ desired that we might die to our old sinful nature. He desired that we may be shaped by his cross, so that we may be “turned outward” toward God and our neighbor. As the power of God’s Word speaks into our lives, it cannot help but create a “cruciform” shape to our lives as we look “up” to God for
the full forgiveness and freedom that comes by His grace alone but also looks “out” in love to our neighbor (e.g., spouse, children, parents, fellow church members, friends, co-workers).

But where do we receive this transforming power that turns us “inside-out”? Where can we find a power that can set us free from our circle turned in on ourselves? We find it only in the good news of Jesus Christ. Only as the love and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ pours into our lives are we set free from our old sinful ways. See where Paul directs our attention in his encouragement to the Philippians, “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:5-8). Praise God that there was one who was selfless, one who was truly a servant, one who considered others more than Himself. Thank God for the grace and forgiveness that is not just for us, but for all people. Praise God for Him who is the very power of God at work in our lives. We pray each day that our lives be less about us and more about him. For it is only through Him that we have a forgiveness that knows no bounds, a love that doesn’t quit, and a peace that passes all understanding.

May our Heavenly Father be at work in Your life this Lenten season through His mighty and powerful Word. May He continue to turn your life inside-out and upside-down by the lifechanging gift of Jesus Christ.