The Real Battle is Internal not External – Dusty Small
Currently we are witnessing an enormous amount of social and civil unrest in our nation. Political differences have created a chasm between people; daily racial tensions are elevating; and major cities are experiencing rioting, looting, and protests. The battles raging in society seem to be external problems that require an external solution. We talk of controlling the dysfunction rather than getting to the root of the issue.
Consider, the influence of the world is like gravity; its unceasing consistency numbs us or desensitizes us to its constant presence around us. It takes moments of extreme change or outlandish behavior to grab our attention. For instance, we are comfortable flying in a plane as long as our altitude remains consistent. However, the moment the plane drastically drops we immediately scream, grab the arm rests, take a deep breath, and hope the pilot brings the plane back under control.
The influence of the world is very similar. The day-to-day pressure to engage in ungodly behavior is consistent and generally overlooked due to its normal presence around us. However, the moment we witness an extreme act of violence or a significant breach of our moral code an alarm goes off within. Immediately we have an acute awareness to the evil and violence around us. In the same way that we have no control over the pilot regaining control of the plane so we have no control over the behavior of others.
The presence of gravity and influence of the world will always exist. While it is true that we cannot control the external pressure to conform to the standard of the world we can control how we respond to the pressure.
I would like to suggest that the unrest we are witnessing in our world today is not an external battle but an internal battle. In the gospel of Luke Jesus states, “A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart (Luke 6:45 NLT).”
Our mouth and behavior will always tell on our heart. If it’s in our heart, we will eventually say it or do it. It might take stubbing our toe, getting cut off in traffic, or disagreeing with the results of the presidential election but it will come out if it is in there. The unrest in our society is a manifestation of the internal unrest of our souls. It is the unbridled control of our emotions and thoughts and cannot be overcome by simply adjusting things to our liking. While we attempt to control the externals the internal is still waiting for the right moment to explode.
Condemning hate by being hateful only reveals the hate in our own hearts. While we are quick to point the finger at others we are slow to look in the mirror. In my opinion, our nation is not changing because people refuse to change. We want everything around us to change but refuse to deal with the internal nature of our heart. We demand external changes. We have become overly concerned with the speck in the eye of others while ignoring the plank in our own eye.
Our greatest responsibility is to focus on dealing with our own issues. If we change, then we actually make the world a better place. Sometimes it’s the smallest things that have the greatest impact. Start with the man or woman you see in the mirror, that’s the only person you can actually change. The real battle is internal not external.
Pray this prayer, “Lord Jesus, may the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer (Psalm 19:14 (NLT).” Help me to focus my efforts on changing my internal nature so that my external behavior would change. Give me the grace I need to lead the kind of change that will truly make this world a better place. Amen.