Bible Reading: Psalm 32:3-7
I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide them. Psalm 32:5
SUPPOSE THAT three months ago you chose to live totally for God. You pulled away from negative friendships and since that day have lived for Jesus in a no-compromise way. Then, after a basketball game, you drop in on a party you should have passed up. You throw down a cold one. One brewski leads to another and-boom!-you find yourself beyond buzzed.
By the time you get home, you feel rotten-not just from the beer but also from the Holy Spirit’s kind yet no-kidding conviction. The moment you realize you’ve blown it, you confess your disobedience to God. Once you confess your sin-check out Psalm 32:3-5 and 1 John 1:9 to see how-you know that everything is right between you and God.
But that’s the easy part. Monday morning at school is far harder. How you acted made a big joke of Christ and his followers. The only way to slow down the slander is to admit to your friends-Christian and non -Christian-that what you did was wrong. Tell them you’re sorry. Ask them to forgive you.
And if you do that, congratulations. You’ve accomplished one of the hardest things you’ll ever do in your entire life. It might also be one of the most stunning sermons your friends will ever hear. When they see a Christian blow it and admit it, they realize that Jesus really does have control of your life.
Now what do you do about changing your behavior? You won’t make believers out of people by getting buzzed again, and it takes more than a resolution to break a bad habit. First, think through how you will respond when temptation hits again. Second, find someone to hold you accountable-to ask you daily or weekly, whichever works best, how the habit is doing. Third, replace the old negative habit with a new positive one.
But these practical steps are useless if you try to bust old habits through brute willpower. Spiritual power comes from the Holy Spirit, and to overcome your sinful tendencies you need the Spirit’s help. Galatians 5:16 says, “Live according to your new life in the Holy Spirit. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.” You walk by the Spirit when you listen up for what Christ wants, decide to do what he’s shown you to do, and trust him to enable you to do it.
The Holy Spirit has power to alter every area of your life. Don’t exclude anything. He can help you control your thoughts, your feelings, even the desire for alcohol, drugs, or sex outside God’s boundaries. Ask him to do it, then let him!
REFLECT: Are there some patterns of behavior you need to talk to God about?
PRAY: Invite the Holy Spirit today to remake every area of your life.