Mastering the inner game – Godward thoughts

By Dave Henning / July 18, 2018

“[The apostle] Paul had mastered the inner game.  His thoughts and desires ran constantly Godward.  And he found himself as an old man in prison more alive than he had ever been.”- John Ortberg

“Therefore we do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.”- 2 Corinthians 4:16 (NIV)

In Chapter 4 (“Master the Inner Game”) of When the Game is Over, John Ortberg notes that two parts comprise every game.  Whether it’s an athletic game or life itself, there’s an outer game and an inner game.

Outer Game

  • played against an external opponent to overcome external obstacles and to reach an external goal
  • mastered as the player learns to swing a racquet, club, or bat
  • what people see; what they admire, disdain, or ignore

Inner Game

  • played against nervousness, doubt, and self-condemnation
  • requires the offering of the will and the focus of the mind
  • victories provide the source of all true joy and growth

Furthermore, Pastor Ortberg notes, other people or forces possess the ability to coerce the outer you.  However, the inner you possesses freedom of choice.  Also, while the outer you is temporary, the inner you is eternal.

Most noteworthy, John states, throughout the process of life, your inward character (spirit) becomes either something unbelievably good or something unimaginably dark.  And your inward character represents the main thing God sees when He looks at you.  It’s what matters most to Him.

As 1 Samuel; 16:7 reminds us – “The LORD does not look at the things man looks at.  Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

In conclusion, Pastor Ortberg adds, although we live and die in time, we look forward to eternal glory.

Today’s question: What Bible verses help you in mastering the inner game?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “The visible condition of our souls”

About the author

Dave Henning

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