The infamous story of Noah’s ark reveals a powerful, but simple truth. Noah was commanded to pitch the ark, within and without, with pitch. The sustaining power of this pitch would ultimately protect the vessel from outside influences. The winds would blow and the storms would roll; yet the elements couldn’t penetrate this powerful barrier.
This pitch was a sticky substance. It was thick. It was organic. And it was applied from the inside to the outside.
The word pitch in the Hebrew literally means atonement. Or a person could call it at-one-ment.
Mark 12: 30 – And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
These are red-letter instructions from the mouth of Jesus. Proper relationship with Jesus is paramount to our discipleship process. And these instructions are the key to developing a deeper relationship with the Lord.
Notice that the first three elements of our relationship deal with the internal aspects of our person. The fourth factor is strength. Strength is an outward expression of our lives.
Just like the pitch, the internal aspects of our walk solidify our personal relationship with Jesus. Heart. Soul. Mind. If these three are given over to Jesus with reckless abandonment, it will produce a sticky spirituality. Daily feeding of the inner man produces strength in the outer man.
If we focus on the outward first, we have religious strength void of relationship. It will be a façade void of real faith. It will probably make man happy, but not God. Ultimately, it will produce whited sepulchers without any resident substance.
The bible plan to fulfill the 1st commandment calls for inner growth to occur first. This growth, aided by the word and prayer, will take place organically. Each individual, with their distinctive life experience, will grow at different rates. Allow for this process to proceed at each individual’s unique pace. As long as there is growth, God is pleased.
Eventually the invisible, inward relationship, will give way to outside changes. Through the convicted conscience of man: man begins to change. The attitude adjustments, personal convictions, and fruits of the Spirit, begin to bring noticeable alterations to the outward man.
Strength flows from the sticky inner substance of a surrendered heart, soul, and mind. And the process continues. And strength continues to manifest. All because we focus on the inside, knowing that it will produce changes on the outside. What makes a person stick with Jesus are not the protocols put in place by rules and regulation. Rather, it’s the application of atonement on their being that brings forth a disciple in the process of becoming like Jesus.