2 Peter 1:5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness;
(We ought to seek the goodness of God more than our own.)
The kingdom of God is available within us
Matthew 12:28 But if I by the Spirit of God cast out demons, then God’s Kingdom has come upon you. WEB
Mark 1:15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and God’s Kingdom is at hand! Repent, and believe in the Good News.” WEB
Luke 9:27 But I tell you the truth: There are some of those who stand here, who will in no way taste of death, until they see God’s Kingdom.” WEB
He also said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.28 But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first, and said, ‘Son, go work today in my vineyard.’ 29 He answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind, and went. 30 He came to the second, and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but he didn’t go. 31 Which of the two did the will of his father?”
They said to him, “The first.”
Jesus said to them, “Most certainly I tell you that the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering into God’s Kingdom before you. 32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you didn’t believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. When you saw it, you didn’t even repent afterward, that you might believe him. WEB
So much to learn about ourselves, the Holy Spirt, Jesus, and God.
It's a Daily Development Activity.
Our Inward Authority
Inward Authority is focused on providing opportunities to develop a deeper spiritual understanding of God and the bible. Traditionally most church organizations educate its congregates using passive learning methods which can be a helpful introductory method for learning basic ideas, language, customs etc. Yet for application purposes, an active learning approach is far more productive to enrich understanding, experience, and ability. Inward Authority describes how to engage in active learning to develop spiritual experiences to the deepest levels possible for the best possible understanding, wisdom, and awareness.
Inward Authority offers supportive information for others to engage their mind, heart, and Holy Spirit. Yet each of us must choose to seek it out. This site offers readings with direction which can point the heart, mind, and soul toward the Holy Spirit within us (our teacher). Sincere and honest participation with the Holy Spirit can bring wisdom, fruit of the spirit, healing, grace, and salvation. It requires truth, self-discipline, tolerance of discomfort (change), willingness, effort, and humility. This process is biblical and in agreement with psychological and educational theories. It involves similar activity 12 step programs have used for 75 years to reach millions. Experiencing this can in the beginning feel awkward, confusing, challenging, and may evoke uncomfortable feelings. We must be careful not to seek comfort nor to fear discomfort. Neither comfort nor discomfort has to do with God. Sometimes discomfort is the path to a more efficient and healthier way of life. God, which is right and good, can involve suffering that brings strength, faith, forgiveness, love, joy, and peace. So we act on principles that may involve Godly suffering trusting that such Godly activity will improve our spiritual condition.
1 Peter 4:16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter. NKJV
Our current beliefs, ideas, and expectations may need to be re-evaluated comparing them directly with the bible for correction being careful of our biases. Our identity and purpose may transform as we seek to align more closely with God, letting go little by little our sinful ways, and clinging more and more to Godly principles. Change means different. If we are willing and ready to be different, different toward God, this may be a good and right path for you.
The Holy Spirit lives within us guiding, teaching, urging, whispering, and counseling; but we must seek, listen, and obey, in order to learn, grow, and be spiritually improved.
Romans 5:3 Not only this, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope: 5 and hope doesn’t disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. WEB
Romans 8:9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if it is so that the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if any man doesn’t have the Spirit of Christ, he is not his. WEB
Colossians 3:10 and have put on the new man, who is being renewed in knowledge after the image of his Creator, WEB
Ephesians 4:23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, WEB
2 Corinthians 3:3 3 being revealed that you are a letter of Christ, served by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tablets of stone, but in tablets that are hearts of flesh. WEB
Galatians 5:24 Those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let’s also walk by the Spirit. 26 Let’s not become conceited, provoking one another, and envying one another. WEB
2 Timothy 1:14 14 That good thing which was committed to you, guard through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. WEB
James 4:5 Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who lives in us yearns jealously”? WEB
1 Peter 3:18 Because Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring you to God; being put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; WEB
1 John 3:24 He who keeps his commandments remains in him, and he in him. By this we know that he remains in us, by the Spirit which he gave us. WEB
1 John 4:13 By this we know that we remain in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. WEB
It is in our mind and heart
Jeremiah 31:33 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says Yahweh: I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people: WEB
Hebrews 8:10 “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel.
After those days,” says the Lord;
“I will put my laws into their mind,
I will also write them on their heart.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
11 They will not teach every man his fellow citizen,[c]
and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’
for all will know me,
from their least to their greatest. WEB
How we feel and what we think are extremely important to God. We are to align our thoughts and feelings with God. This alignment process involves thought adjustment, confession, self-examination, cleansing, purifying, and repentance to better align our activity with God's agenda. Our life agenda ought to match up with God's.
We seek out who God is: Love, Mercy, Forgiveness, Compassion, Justice, Peace, Kind, Gentle, Patient, Persevering, and Righteous. We develop these attributes of God into our thoughts and actions which stimulate better aligned emotional feelings. We learn to recognize Righteousness and the Spirit's guidance while praying for relief from temptation. We slowly increase our relationship with God by getting to know God through experiencing God's character.
New life means a different life... different identity
Welcome to a new way of life through continuous biblical training and inward development. This is an opportunity for spiritual freedom and healing from anxieties, anger, addictions, loneliness, and emptiness. The price we pay comes through personal sacrifice of our inward selves to trust and develop more of God's character while relying less upon our ungodly character. Effort, commitment, diligence, and self-discipline can grow with practice, focus, attention, awareness, and faith. The work to be done is simple to understand yet difficult to accept and endure. It is easy to physically perform yet a struggle to convince ourselves to do it when our minds set us elsewhere. Redirection of our minds and refocusing of our attitudes will be necessary. This distraction of purpose has been man’s stumbling block ever since Adam ate from the tree of knowledge. We simply fail in making healthy and Godly choices due to our misbeliefs (lies), fears, frustrations, pride, selfishness, misunderstandings, and lack of faith. Self deception sneaks into our consciousness taking our thoughts away from God frequently. We are in a constant spiritual battle and if we are not battling than we have already lost.
If we are to be about God then we ought to structure our activity to increase our attention to what God would have us do. And with most of us we will need a schedule which outlines such activity. Most of us wake up with our minds set on whatever they have been accustomed or trained to do through previous practice and experience. We now need new practice and experience. To wake up and try to think of what to do might be a bit much for most of us. Setting up a simple plan ahead of time to wake up and get into can help the process. Each night we can plan for our morning prayer, study, journaling, etc. This way it will be all ready for us and require less effort or work. There are many ways to create new structure, but this is a simple beginning.
Whatever our beliefs, if we have room to grow with God, then our beliefs need to improve toward God. If our thinking, understanding, and beliefs don't change then neither will we. Our minds ought to be soft formable clay while our participation and agreement with God's character is the forming hands. As we explore and investigate the spiritual experience of our participation with God's character we can better understand the goodness within it and God's Grace. Such wisdom can help shape our beliefs and faith.
Different and new relationships
Most of us learn social skills which teach us how to behave around other people. We compare our behavior choices with how other people behave. The world tells us we are supposed to get along and be nice. Making people happy, comfortable, and being in agreement is important for our social well being. False flattery and sarcasm are commonplace within many social arenas. Yet they are not God's ways.
We ought to have some close relationships with people who challenge us to grow with God. We can benefit greatly from others pointing us toward God's Character. Meeting with such people can be part of a good structure to help us focus more on how we can grow with God.
Different effort & action
Our effort, diligence, and perseverance is paramount toward our righteous development which can set us free through truth, grace, peace, and love. This journey involves a constant struggle into readjusting our belief system. Suffering which produces righteousness is important for us to embrace. This requires a serious shift within our thinking and attitude. This has everything to do with our Faith. Our faith is already constructed and set in place, yet inaccurately. Since no one is perfect, then everyone has imperfect faith. Our neural networks are hard wired and adapted to a way of life which guides us contrary to God’s will. We are all uniquely different in this manner. Changing neural networks means new regular learning and frequent practice. Doing the same thing over and over does not produce new results. In order to change we need to think and behave differently. This is a struggle toward God's goodness and righteousness.
At the end of The Good Samaritan story, Jesus says, "go and do likewise." But how can we do that some may ask. Really though we ought to be convinced ‘why’ instead of 'how.' It's not 'how' because we know 'how' to care for others. It's more about 'why.' Why should we? Why me? Why today? Why help this person? We have trouble reasoning in our minds the idea of giving things away... even perhaps to help someone who is starving. But what would happen if we did? This can be a very important question. We ought to start investigating why Jesus would say such a thing and what good lies behind loving and caring for others.
What affect does it have to help someone with their needs? What spiritual significance is there to care for others? Souls might be saved through such love, compassion, and mercy. People who are desperate and broken who are hard workers, humble, honest, and trying to do right, often times are too proud to ask for help or support. Yet when someone blesses them with college tuition, car repairs, dental bills, and food, their hearts may be broken with appreciation and tears of joy (just watch an ending to an undercover boss episode). Anyone can get together, cook up a nice meal, go as a group to find someone homeless and give to them. Warm socks and gloves really brighten up their mood in the winter. The giver in this situation can be blessed if their hearts can open up to love and compassion. The face to face giving experience can be priceless keeping in mind we are doing it for and with God.
Back to the point. We have to first choose to do it from a sincere, compassionate, and willing heart, even if it is willing just a tiny bit. Selfishness, hardheartedness, and resentments can often times be a spiritual stumbling block. Serving, obeying, and following God out of a resentment or simply going through the motions "because we are supposed to" could amount to an empty experience. Our hearts must be right to experience God's goodness and Grace.
How we construct our minds has everything to do with how we feel. If we think about the smile on the other persons face we might see the reward and choose to participate. If we think about the loss of our time and money we might see the cost and choose not to participate. Too often we make choices based upon our loss instead of the possible gains. We can get caught up in the material losses instead of spiritual production. We are now operating on a new rational. We are seeking out opportunities to affect others and ourselves inwardly with Godly experiences. We act accordingly each day toward love, compassion, truth, sincerity, forgiveness, mercy, justice, and peace. We look for and think about such things every day.
What develops our faith more, a promotion or having someone look at us like we saved their life? On our death bed, what will fill us more, the love we share or the toys we acquire? What builds families better, compassion or gifts of money? We ought to ponder such questions regularly with each other.
Children love attention. They want validation. Whatever they create they often want to show it to someone and share it. They like to give things away too. They understand a joy shared is doubled and a problem shared is cut in half. Some adults are less interested to show others what they make and many won't show anyone at all out of fear, pride, and selfishness. Often times there is an outward act of not being interested in what others think while inwardly wanting approval. People can present themselves falsely and it can require discerning to read what they really want. Children are often times not like this because they have yet to learn this false and deceptive way of living. They have this honest, sincere, genuineness with an open mind and willingness to listen and learn. It can be good and perhaps spiritual to create in ourselves more with the attitude of a child.
Matthew 18:3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
It is important to God, for us, not to place more dependence upon material and physical things then building Godly character ~ doing God's will. We must not sacrifice our spiritual development in truth, compassion, love, justice, and peace for material things.
If we focus our attention and thinking each day regularly upon God's love, compassion, mercy, forgiveness, peace, joy, generosity, and encouragement, we might find ourselves doing more of it. We will often times convince ourselves toward whatever it is we choose to think about. So let's be strategic about our thinking.
3:24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.
Out of sight … out of mind (Those who have ears to hear let him hear)
We are aware of what we bring to our conscious attention. If it does not come to our consciousness we remain unaware or blind. To evaluate something we need to pause and sit with it for a while. If we skim or glance at it we really can't understand it unless of course we just want some vague ambiguous understanding. Unfortunately most people live by this kind of understanding... including their understanding of God. It's easily justified because everyone else is doing it.
Each of us have a set of beliefs guiding our conscious activity. These beliefs do not materialize out of genetics, pills, or osmosis. They develop by learning, practice, acceptance, adoption, accommodation, and research. We choose to agree or disagree. Many of us accept information we don't want to hear or don't like. We learn truth about ourselves that is uncomfortable from teachers, loved ones, doctors, dentists, and perhaps our clothes (don't seem to fit anymore).
We often defend our current condition or way of living because we have convinced ourselves it is okay. When truth comes to us that is controversial or suggesting we are wrong we will often react to defend our position. Who likes to be told they are wrong? We can know we our taking a defensive position by checking to see how objective we are thinking with the challenging information.
A good football player will be very aware of all that has to do with football. The best players will think about football constantly. They will pay close attention to what they eat, practice, and observe all the affects of their development. They will schedule their time around learning football, understanding plays, building team relationships, and how to interact with media and fans. If they thought less about football it would certainly impact their performance. Some will get their objectivity sabotaged by pride or fear and their focus will turn from how to improve toward making excuses to avoid the work that brings improvement. We either give into the process that brings about positive change or we don't.
Those of us who wish to be wise about something need to invest our time and effort into it. Our awareness of God can come to us with a desire followed by action to seek God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength. As soon as we set that desire upon something else we begin to lose our focus. To regain that focus we pay attention to 'why' we ought to desire God. The more we understand why we ought to desire God and become convinced of it the more our desire has a chance to grow. If we choose not to think about it then we won't.
God being love, compassion, mercy, and forgiveness requires us to participate in it. If we persist in setting our attention toward other things like finances and self-seeking romances we make those other things more important and diminish God’s saving grace from our heart, mind, and soul. Being with God is a relationship which requires time, effort, and transformation. We are to seek and serve God.
Looking back at the football player’s schedule it would be easy to assume the player invests their heart, mind, and strength into maintaining their condition. The football player undergoes regular and perhaps daily conditioning exercises and practices for hours at a time to enhance their abilities. To improve a human being’s abilities in anything requires investment of time, thought, and effort. God calls us into that effort with the greatest commandment. We are to serve God with similar determination and effort.
4 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! 5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
6 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. ...
2 Peter 1
5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.
10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
So with this awareness of our calling to be diligent and to love God with everything within us … what are we going to do? It’s not complicated, but it is difficult. We are to increase our knowledge about God, but there is something within us that does not want to cooperate. There is something urging us to resist. If we listen to it we will end our productivity in knowing God.
What we require is a steady disciplined focus upon God's will. Our minds are like undisciplined children we carry with us from one activity to another. It chatters all sorts of prompting desires to direct us where to go and what to do. When we are prompted to by our desires we ought to examine the consequences.
The bible instructs us toward focusing our minds and hearts upon God's statutes, commandments, precepts, and law. We ought to be a demonstration of them for others to witness. Jesus does not change this, but instead he highlights it. Jesus points the way toward love and truth with a pure heart into God's peace. We are to apply every effort and build the fruit of the spirit in increasing measure as we seek and live out God's grace. We are to change and that means think differently. Our focus is different. There is inward spiritual, mental, and emotional development with healing to be experienced as we align this inward activity toward God's purposes.
Our personal weekly report card (not to be shown to others, between ourselves and God)
Write the engaging activities we participate in each day using the word in bold. We must remember this is a personal spiritual journey following the spirit God gave us in truth and love which requires our minds and hearts working together in all our activities. We are to attend to the spirit in ourselves and others all day every day.
Meditation about God’s character Reading Bible passages – how they might apply to ourselves
Discussion: talk to others about Godly character Prayer to grow in the fruit of the spirit
Groups: focused on building God’s character Serving others for God from our hearts
Listening to music and instruction about building Godly character with our hearts
1 Timothy 1:5 but the goal of this command is love, out of a pure heart and a good conscience and sincere faith; WEB
Love is the foundation of all the law.
Romans 13:8 Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. WEB
Romans 13:10 Love doesn’t harm a neighbor. Love therefore is the fulfillment of the law. WEB
Galatians 5:14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” WEB
James 2:8 However, if you fulfill the royal law, according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,”[a] you do well. WEB
1 Corinthians 13:2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but don’t have love, I am nothing. WEB
1 Corinthians 13:13 But now faith, hope, and love remain—these three. The greatest of these is love. WEB
Galatians 5:6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision amounts to anything, nor uncircumcision, but faith working through love. WEB
Ephesians 3:17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; to the end that you, being rooted and grounded in love, WEB
1 Timothy 4:12 Let no man despise your youth; but be an example to those who believe, in word, in your way of life, in love, in spirit, in faith, and in purity. WEB
Is that which is important to me important to God?
All our activity within us ought to be for God's purpose which is rooted in truth and love, God's love. We are imperfect sinners desiring to be better through increasing our being in Christ's likeness. We ought to look at ourselves, our actions, our thoughts, our beliefs, and make corrections to be more like God's example in Christ.
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding
To gain an objective understanding about God and how we can better develop our relationship with him; it is imperative to guard our thoughts, beliefs, and reliance against teaching that does not match up with the bible and the word written within our hearts. Many of us have learned to rely upon books for knowledge and guidance. We look outward for direction instead of inward. The bible is certainly essential for direction and guidance. It is the spirit of the bible, the same spirit that lies within us, which instructs us into Godly knowledge. We are called to know that spirit and increase our connection with it. In order to do so we must pay more attention toward spiritual activity and instruction. We must be willing to practice more of the bible's instructions. We ought to act on the word to experience what it describes. It is through experience that we understand love, mercy, forgiveness, suffering, perseverance, patience, peace, confession, repentance, and generosity. We ought move from reading into experiencing God's character daily.
Philippians 4:8 [ Meditate on These Things ] Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these
How do we do it?
2 Corinthians 10:5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
Our thoughts and reasoning based upon our past experience creates our belief. Our belief tells us how to live and guides our choices. Our belief can be influenced by us choosing and having different experiences, which we must do in order to grow. In these different experiences we can gain new knowledge and understanding through examination, reflection, discussion, and meditation. We can change our attitude about life and God if we are open to learning God's Grace and accommodating grace knowledge into our beliefs. We first need to convince ourselves to be open and willing to obedience of God's Grace/Character. We ought to willfully give ourselves into learning who God is and practicing what is written in the biblical passages provided. We live out principles important to God, but first we must choose to think about them as God intended. We keep God's principles in our minds always. No one can tell us how except for God's Spirit within us.
As we increase our awareness of our thought life, we improve our ability to make inward mental adjustments, which effect our mental attitude. We can ask ourselves, "Are we focusing on the negative things in the world, sin, or are we focusing on the beauty in the world, Grace? Are we thinking about the evil in the world or thinking about the good? Is our attitude toward others focused on God's grace or is it stemming from fear, cynicism, and resentment? Can we really understand scripture if we do not love others? Can we understand the power and joy of peace if we are not in it?"
Our actions come from our choices. Our choices come from our awareness of options. We lean toward things we are familiar with and have experienced. We need to gain experience with God to help us with our choices. We ought to engage in God's commands and experience their true meaning from the Holy Spirit within us. Just reading about it is insufficient for significant change. Engagement and practice for knew knowledge is key. We share this experience with others to assist us in understanding it.
Psalm 132:1 Lord, remember David and all his self-denial.
Romans 8:6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.
Which thoughts govern us, the flesh or the spirit? We decide every moment, every day.