Thoughts of the week
Your outer life is your reputation with people, but your inner life is your reputation with God.
It can be easy to compromise one's inner life in hopes of maintaining a good outer life. While there is certainly nothing wrong with a good outer life, we can't allow our reputation with others to become more important than our reputation with God -- He desires to be the most important thing in every person's life.
King David knew the importance of putting God first in order to maintain a good inner life. In Psalm 27:4, he wrote,
"One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life." David made God -- and spending time in God's presence -- the one thing he wanted. For David, his inner life was more important than his outer life.
1 Peter 3:4 says that your beauty should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.
While it is by no means wrong to have a good outer life and to look good outwardly, God values inner beauty much more. That's because your outer life is your reputation with people, but your inner life is your reputation with God.
Thankfulness depends on what is in your heart, not what is in your hand.
Most people have no trouble finding things to complain about: traffic is slow, gas is too expensive, the weather is bad, prices are too high. Yet in every single situation, that same person also has a lot to be thankful for: he can drive, has a car, has a shelter to be protected from the weather, and has the money to purchase necessary items.
Your circumstances may not be all that great, but wherever you are it is God's will that you give thanks in everything (1 Thessalonians 5:18). As a Christian, that is possible because no matter what your circumstances are, you can always thank God for deliverance through Christ (see 2 Corinthians 2:14; Romans 7:24-25).
Indeed, the Israelites knew that thanksgiving was so important that part of the official duty of the tribe of Levi was to thank God: They were also to stand every morning to thank and praise the Lord (1 Chronicles 23:30). They had heart of thankfulness and were instructed to be thankful regardless of what happened that day.
The psalmist wrote: Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name (Psalm 100:4). Notice that we can't even enter God's gates unless we're thankful.
It certainly is possible to live giving thanks to God the Father for everything (Ephesians 5:20), because thankfulness depends on what is in your heart, not what is in your hand.