Touring Germany during our recent sabbatical gave my wife Linda and I some conversation opportunity about an important life principal. Exterior reflects interior. What is on the inside always migrates toward the outside.


The West German city of Augsburg

It was remarkable to note the difference between the areas of what used to be a divided Germany between 1945 and 1990. West and East. Capitalist and Communist. Colorful and Muted. Progressive architecture and straight plain buildings. Industrial and Agrarian.  Individualism and communalism. Much ambition and little ambition. Planned growth and laissez-faire. Religious and agnostic/atheist.

Of course, there are exceptions. I must be careful not to stereotype or pigeon-hole. I’m just speaking of first impressions from spending three weeks traveling, visiting cities and villages, connecting with some locals through our German friends in both the east and west, on both sides of the previous border. The difference was noticeable.


The former East German town of Abendessen

I started thinking about a principle that Jesus taught. Exterior reflects interior. The condition of our heart is mirrored in our behavior. Attitude eventually drifts into action. (See Mark 7: 21 as an example). Jesus reminded us that we shouldn’t be surprised when our inner world leaks out for everyone to see.

I’m sure you too have thought about this truth. I’ve certainly seen it in myself and others. How we take care of our outward appearance tends to echo what is going on inside. Healthy self-esteem leads to a different way of living than an unhealthy view of self. Philosophies and mentalities affect our actions and behaviors. [Tweet “Our internal values shape our external deeds.”]


Colorfully restored historical Wittenberg

While in Germany, it was interesting to observe that some cities that used to be on the East side of the wall have been an exception—they are clean, modern, progressive, brightly painted, ambitious and planning for the future. Wittenberg is such a place. The town of Wittenberg is both looking forward and backward.

Capitalizing on their historical roots as the predominant place of Martin Luther’s reformation efforts, Wittenberg is investing in the future. They have big plans for 2017—celebrating 500 years since Martin Luther nailed his 95 thesis on the door of Castle Church. The church is under major restoration and renovation. The historic streets have been renewed. Signs of life and health are obvious everywhere you turn in Wittenberg. It seems they have an internal focus and mission to highlight and honor the life and work of Martin Luther. True to the principle. The external reflects the internal.


Downtown Wittenberg, Germany

 Are you living with purpose and intentionality? Do you have a clear sense of how your 3 critical “C’s” (core, capacity and context) intersect? Do you understand how your past shapes your future? Are you daily living and operating out of your “sweet spot”? It makes a difference. Your inner world will always seep toward your outer world. [Tweet “Who you are inside today is who you will become on the outside tomorrow.”] Your exterior will mirror your interior.  Have a blessed day!


QUESTION: How have you seen this described principle at work in your life or in others around you?

For additional photos, go to Gingerich PhotoArt and click on the “Sabbatical PhotoJournal” heading.



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