The theme of my studies today is being outside and being inside. This concept applies in the physical world, relationships and concepts. Something often looks very different from the outside than it does from the inside.
Looking at Bible passages in different perspectives is very helpful to me.
"Knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation." - 2 Peter 1:20 ESV
We do not impose meaning on the scripture. The scripture will speak to us if we look at it with eyes that see and a heart that desires God and has a connection to God.
So we ask questions like, 'What was inside and what was outside in the prodigal son story?' or 'What was inside and what was outside in the Adam and Eve account in the garden?'
That lens allows us to see a certain isolated spectrum of light. We put the glasses on and look and then we take them off again we begin to notice different things. It is not critical thinking... it is observational.
An artist observes then uses the qualities of a substance or medium to craft something. Then that thing, whatever it is, a sculpture or a photo or a meal coveys an complex set of ideas, concepts or contrasts that affects the audience in some way.
From the outside the Bible convicts us but on the inside the Bible converts us. It changes us on the inside. The change is not cosmetic it is a metamorphosis... like a caterpillar is turned into a butterfly. Observation alone does not have this power. Only the Bible has it because of who sent it to us.
Division is when an outside force makes a single object into multiple objects. Like using a knife to cut an orange into sections. We can look in the Bible and see this dynamic and how it works in relationships from the serpent in Genesis all the way to the White Throne in Revelations.
Conspiracy is when something from the outside is brought in to the whole and used to divide. Inclusiveness is when something is brought inside to include it or make a place for it inside the whole. Do we see this in the world? Can't we even see it in our own heart at times? The Bible exposes the dynamic.
"So Jesus again said to them, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." - John 10:7-10 ESV
Jesus is the way (see John 14:6) and He is also the door into a way of perceiving the world beyond what we ever could have done before. We can see something from inside and then from outside because He has placed us to be forever inside Himself at the moment we believed.
Grace proves to us over and over again that we are included in God's kingdom and can never be excluded. Evil is forever excluded but people are invited to be included.
Well, This is a good mental exercise but how does it work in my life in a practical way?
We can go into the day looking at situations as they are and putting lenses on and off to see things. We can ask what is on the inside and what is on the outside at work and because God is both places at once He can teach us things. The Bible can provide us with many lenses to look through to see the world.
If we will wear them by faith what will we see? We are bound to be surprised.