“How can a young man keep his way pure”(Psalm 119:9)? That’s the question of this generation. What advice do we give our young people on keeping themselves pure? What methods do we encourage them to practice as they navigate through this impure world all the while striving to remain pure? I’ll ask you veteran Christian. How do you keep yourself pure? These questions are extremely relevant and pertinent for us today, because our world is not only impure but is also promoting all impurity.
Fortunately for us the Psalmist answers his on question in that same verse. “By guarding it according to your word”(Psalm 119:9). Every Christian on the planet, young and old, male and female must guard their way by using God’s Word. The Bible isn’t simply a tool that is to be used on Sunday in Bible class and worship. The Bible is God’s tool used to guard and shape our way in this life. If we will study God’s Word and put it into practice, we will keep ourselves pure even in the midst of an impure world. The knowledge of God’s Holy Scriptures gives us the wisdom and strength to keep our way pure.
“I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you”(Psalm 119:11).
Being faithful matters. Faithfulness is what we expect when we get married. In fact, faithfulness is what we expect from nearly every relationship we have in this life. In the same way, God expects faithfulness from His children. We can’t be perfect, we still fail and sin even after becoming a Christian, but we can be faithful. For years I’ve watched people fall into sin or discouragement and walk away from God. It’s shocking how they turn away from the very One who can help them the most.
Faithfulness to God doesn’t require us to never sin again. Faithfulness to God says that I will not give up on God no matter what. Faithfulness to God says that I will never stop pursuing Him and striving to grow the relationship that I have with Him. The apostle Paul wrote, “God is faithful”(I Cor.10:13). Since God is so faithful to me, I can’t help but require myself to be faithful to Him. Life is hard and we go through many trials in this life and we have an enemy that so wants to convince each of us that the answer is turning away from God. No matter how bad things get for you, I assure you that turning your back on God will only make your situation worse. We all need God every single day and God doesn’t demand perfection of us. He expects faithfulness.
“Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Rev.2:10).
Being a Christian is not about being perfect or living a perfect life. The thought of having to be perfect is enough to overwhelm and intimidate anyone. God doesn’t expect us to live perfect lives, He expects us to live different. “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy”(I Pet.1:14-16). Holy means different. So, God calls us to be different and live different.
When one becomes a Christian their entire life should be different. Christians are to be different from the world. The faithful child of God’s life should never blend in or look like those of the world. The Christian’s passions and desires should be different than what they were before coming to Christ. The things we do in our Christian life are far different than the things we did in our pre-Christian life. When God calls His children to holiness He is calling them to be different and live different. When obedient children of God live different lives they not only honor God but also lead others to Him as well. Embrace God’s call in your life to live different.
I’ll never sing on stage at the Grand Ole Opry. I’ll never dress out and play in a major league baseball game. I’ll never win an Oscar or an Academy Award. There are just some things I don’t have the ability to do. Believe me, I’m at peace with that because there are other things I can do and there is one specific thing that we can all do. No matter your age or talent, no matter where you’re from or where you live now, no matter how much you have or don’t have, I’m convinced that we can all be kind. That’s it, one thing we can all do is be kind.
Paul even encourages us to “be kind to one another”(Eph.4:32). This isn’t teaching us to only be kind to those who are kind to us. We are to be kind. Think about the difference it would make in the world if everyone made it a point to be kind every day. I realize we all have bad days, but it’s not difficult to be kind to someone. A simple smile, a hello or a good morning. I can do those things even when I’m not in a good mood and you can too.
Maybe our goal to be kind to others every day will become contagious. Maybe this will grow from kind words and simple pleasantries to kind acts toward others. When we are doing kind acts for others we are not focusing on ourselves. When we are doing random acts of kindness we are serving the Lord. I know without a doubt the one thing we can all do is be kind. Let’s do it!
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law”(Gal.5:22-23).
I’m sure we all have a limit. I’m not convinced that we all know precisely where that limit is, but I’m sure we all have one. You’ve heard people say and maybe you’ve even said, “I’ve reached my limit and can’t handle anymore.” Sometimes it’s the physical trials of this life that push people to their limit. It could also be the constant struggle with temptation. Temptations are the internal desires of the flesh to do what is contrary to the will of God. It seems that there is some kind of temptation knocking on the door of our lives every day.
Just acknowledging that reality may be enough to push some to their limit. The good news for us is that God is in control and knows us even better than we do. God knows exactly what we can and cannot handle and assures us that He will not allow us tempted beyond our ability. “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it”(I Cor.10:13). With each temptation we face, God will not allow us to be overcome and He is faithful to always provide us an escape. We may feel at times that we are fast approaching our limit, but it is comforting to know that God knows our limit and will faithfully see us through.
If ever there was ever a time that we needed to wake up and seek God, it’s now. From the reports I’ve seen, the Florida school shooting was our eighteenth this year and we’re not even two months into this new year. Our hearts break for the families and victims. We pray for them and the Florida community affected, then, we get right back to business as usual. My point is nothing really changes. One side screams about gun control and another side screams about increasing security. Eighteen school shootings in less than two months says to me that not only are we not doing something right, but we don’t have a clue what to do.
I understand violence has been around since the beginning, but we never had active shooter classes or drills when I was in school. We didn’t have school shootings when I was a kid. What can and will change the path America is on? Not one single man made law or idea will change anything, or at least it hasn’t yet. We need to seek God first. God needs to become the top priority of our families, communities, states and our country. When parents are faithful Christians and raise their children to be faithful Christians it changes the dynamic of our culture.
I’ve believed for years and still believe today that the biggest problem plaguing our country is the breakdown of the family. We need Christian moms and dads who seek God first and stick together through the difficult times and raise Christian children to do the same. We need to read the Bible and get the Bible and prayer back into school. I’ve never understood why the theory of evolution can be taught in schools but the Bible and creation are banned. That’s nothing short of hypocrisy. If we want to see a positive change in our country, then we need to welcome God back into our lives and our country.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”(Mt.6:33)
We love to feel joy and express that joy. We seem to always be looking for the next reason to feel and express joy. If our team wins we are overcome with joy. When our child succeeds we are quick to shout with joy. Life also brings circumstances that appear to steal our joy. At certain times our joy grows strangely silent. So, where does your joy come from?
Sadly, our joy seems to come and go and not be a constant presence in our lives. You may think that’s normal and the way it is with everyone. That’s not true. It wasn’t true for the apostle Paul whose joy was a consistent and constant presence in his everyday life, no matter what. The secret is, Paul’s joy didn’t come from outward circumstances. When your joy comes from outward circumstances it has a tendency to be up one day and down the next depending on what’s going on at the time. Paul’s joy was consistent and constant everyday no matter his circumstances because his joy came from the Lord.
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice”(Phil.4:4).
“Revenge Is Not For Christians”
The thought of revenge may be natural, but the act of revenge is not for Christians. When we are hurting, the thought of getting even or seeking revenge may seem gratifying and even healing at the time. The truth is, revenge is a premeditated act of ungodliness that requires our thoughts and actions to go to a place of darkness that can’t please God. Revenge is never okay and is the opposite of how God expects His children to act in any situation. Revenge is always a selfish act and never brings the satisfaction and healing one expects. “Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all”(Rom.12:17).
When we seek revenge, we step into the place of God. God will handle the revenge. “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord”(Rom.12:19). So, when someone wrongs you, it requires faith and trust in God not to seek revenge and allow Him to handle it. One of the most vulnerable times in our lives is when we’ve been deceived and wronged by someone. At this very critical time in the Christian’s life is when Satan is more than willing to attack and push his ungodly agenda of revenge. Christians must lean on God and trust Him to heal our hurt and to avenge our offender as He sees fit.
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good”(Rom.12:21).
“Revenge Is Not For Christians”
The thought of revenge may be natural, but the act of revenge is not for Christians. When we are hurting, the thought of getting even or seeking revenge may seem gratifying and even healing at the time. The truth is, revenge is a premeditated act of ungodliness that requires our thoughts and actions to go to place of darkness that can’t please God. Revenge is never okay and is the opposite of how God expects His children to act in any situation. Revenge is always a selfish act and never brings the satisfaction and healing one expects. “Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all”(Rom.12:17).
When we seek revenge, we step into the place of God. God will handle the revenge. “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord”(Rom.12:19). So, when someone wrongs you it requires faith and trust in God not to seek revenge and allow Him to handle it. One of the most vulnerable times in our lives is when we’ve been deceived and wronged by someone. At this very critical time in the Christian’s life is when Satan is more than willing to attack and push his ungodly agenda of revenge. Christians must lean on God and trust Him to heal our hurt and to avenge our offender as He sees fit.
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good”(Rom.12:21).
We’re all too familiar with anger. I’ve been angry and I’m sure you have too. Anger is a very strong emotion that has the ability to bring out the worst in people. Jobs have been lost because of anger. Relationships have been destroyed because of anger. Families have been hurt because of anger. Uncontrolled and unresolved anger can be extremely destructive wreaking havoc on the lives of many.
Even Christians get angry, which is why every Christian must understand two things. First of all, Christians should be men and women of self-control (Gal.5:22-23). Even in the midst of severe anger the Christian must possess and practice self-control. The next thing is Christians must handle their anger the right way. “In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold” (Eph.4:26-27). When anger is not addressed and properly handled with those involved in a timely manner, we give the devil a foothold in our life. The devil wants the sun to go down on our unresolved anger with the hopes that our anger will turn into a full blown ungodly and unforgiving grudge.
“Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret- it leads only to evil” (Psalm 37:8).