In his classic devotional book, My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers refers to what he calls “the ministry of the interior.” This ministry is the self work each person must do after receiving Christ in order to become more Christlike. It is the process of sanctification causing us to be conformed to the image of Christ from the inside out. Chambers describes it as a partnership between our inner selves and the Holy Spirit.
Are we ready to “launch out into the priestly work of prayer?” Chambers asks. "The goal is to be free from our Christian self-centered focus and embrace the “robust, simple life of the child of God.”1
The ministry of the interior requires much of us. It requires us to do the deep character work that results in a heart for God and love for others. It is the opposite of superficial actions. The ministry of the interior calls us to be intentional concerning our own spiritual and emotional maturity. We must necessarily grow in Christ rather than remain a baby Christian who continues to need milk feedings rather than being able to receive solid food. (Hebrews 5:12)
The ministry of the interior results in growth and positive change. It results in maturity, discernment, and wisdom. It is a life-long process. It is gradual and incremental. Wisdom understands the difference between good and evil and consistently chooses good. A mature person puts away childish behavior and chooses to take charge of life like an adult. He/she is characterized by righteousness, faithfulness, selflessness and integrity. Such a person is spiritually and emotionally healthy and capable of healthy relationships.
What does the ministry of the interior look like? Here is an action plan:
1. Pray for the friend in need. Pray for the saints. Pray for those in authority. Pray for all men. (I Timothy 2:1-2)
2. Daily study God’s Word.
3. Be characterized by seeking and speaking truth.
4. Be open to feedback and correction. Be teachable.
5. Be accountable.
6. Be responsible for yourself and respectful of others.
7. Be empathetic and compassionate toward others.
8. Be trustworthy. Keep your word. Do what you say you will do.
9. Be repentant and ask for forgiveness. Acknowledge your sin.
10. Be forgiving.
11. Be humble.
12. Be grateful.
13. Be generous.
14. Be patient.
15. Be kind.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22
Celebrating Freedom in Christ,
1 My Utmost For His Highest, Oswald Chambers. Classic Edition, 1927, 1935, 1963. June 21 entry.