Traditionally, we believe that change is an inside-out job. But this is no longer the prevailing view.
An article entitled: “Change: From the Inside Out or the Outside In?” argues for the popular trend – the idea that outward changes, like a makeover or better posture can be an easy way to change how we feel on the inside – and even change our lives. The concept is referred to as “Power Posing”. The assumption is that people can feel and behave assertively, simply by posing in powerful and expansive ways. It encourages people to fake it till they make it. It is an appealing concept – who would not want change to be as easy as a simple makeover?
Unfortunately, this is not our experience in real life, especially when we deal with deeply ingrained habits. In this case, something more; in fact, someone is needed. Our Christian faith teaches us that change is an inside-out operation, resulting from the work of the Holy Spirit. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit resides in us, breath into us by God at creation (Genesis 2:7). We cannot live without the Holy Spirit residing in us (Psalm 104:29).
However, our reality constantly challenges this truth. Living in an age of anxiety and depression, most of us are searching for wholeness, as they continue to battle with internal forces, like poor self-image and external forces, like the stress of life and the hunger for approval. It is difficult to accept that the Holy Spirit resides in each of us. Yet, we have the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, we have the freedom to listen to the Holy Spirit’s prompting or to ignore him. St. Paul knew that we could ignore the Holy Spirit that is why he warned us, in Ephesians 4:30, not to grief the Holy Spirit.
A sure way of living in relationship with the Holy Spirit is to embrace his mission. The Holy Spirit consecrates us, for service. He gives us gifts for the common good and not for our personal benefits. When we try to use the Holy Spirit for our own personal aggrandizement, we experience a fracture in our relationship with him. Vulnerability and the willingness to serve are pathways to reconnecting with the Holy spirit. We come to him in our weakness, we allow him to fill us, melt us, mould us, shape us, and use us for the glory of God. We receive the Holy Spirit for service and not for pleasure.
True transformation is possible when we respond to the Holy Spirit, who is already in our lives.
Max Lucado, playing on the lines from Wizard of Oz, stated: “The wizard of Oz says look inside yourself and find self. God says look inside yourself and find the Holy Spirit. The first will get you to Kansas. The latter will get you to heaven. Take your pick.”
When we listen to the Holy Spirit, he works on our weaknesses, transforms us and gives us the capacity to transform the world.