Grace For The Journey
Thursday of last week we began a four-part study on how the Gospel leads us to change our lives, or more specifically, the principles we can learn and live by that will lead to real, substantial, and God-glorifying change. We began with the realization that . . .
Knowing what changes to make is not enough.
We also need to know how to make them.
Change does not come easily. The Bible provides all the truth and guidance and the Holy Spirit provides all the power we need to live as God wants us to. On Thursday we looked at the first three principles: (1) Change Your Purpose In Line; (2) Believe You Can Change With Gods Help; and (3) Study The Bible about Your Habit. On Friday we look at three more principles: (4) Repent of your sin; (5) Develop a Plan of Action; and (6) Pray Regularly. On Monday we saw Principles, (7) Seek Help From Other Christians; (8) Diligently Do What Is Right; and (9) Substitute Good Habits For Bad Ones. Today we will deal with the last three (3) specific, practical truths the Bible teaches us about that will lead to real, substantial, and God-glorifying change. God’s Word is the best source of guidance for living as we ought.
For today, let’s look at principles 10 – 12:
Principle 10: Avoid Temptation.
The Bible says in Matthew 6:13 that we should pray, “lead us not into temptation.” If we pray this, surely we obligate ourselves to avoid people, places, and situations that tempt us (Romans 13:14).
The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 15:33 that evil company corrupts good habits. Note the phrase: “Do not be deceived.” Many people think they can return to bad company without returning to bad habits. They are deceived!
Many habits – such as drinking, smoking, drug abuse, gambling, and sexual promiscuity – are begun and continued because of “peer pressure.” Breaking such habits by themselves is hard enough, but it is far more difficult when “friends” urge us to continue them (Exodus 23:2; Proverbs 13:20; 1 Peter 4:3,4).
The Bible says in Psalm 26:5 that we should hate the congregation of evildoers. Too often people say, “I won’t drink (or dance or gamble, etc.). I’ll just go to the tavern (or dance hall or casino) to be with my friends.” When people have gathered together for the purpose of practicing sin, Christians belong somewhere else! (Cf. 2 Corinthians 6:14-18; Ephesians 5:11.)
You cannot change a bad habit while continuing to run with the “crowd” that caused the habit. Changing the habit will require changing your friends because the “friends” are part of the habit!
Principle 11: Face One Day at a Time.
The Bible says in Matthew 6:33,34 that we are not to worry about tomorrow. Today’s temptations will be enough to handle today. Handle tomorrow’s temptations tomorrow – if tomorrow comes.
Often people quit trying to serve God because they are overwhelmed by the sacrifices required to live the rest of their lives for God. But ask yourself this: “Can I practice what is right today – just today?” Of course, you can. So, when you get up each morning, promise yourself and God, “I will live today for God and His glory.” Don’t worry about handling tomorrow. If it comes, you can handle it the same way you will handle today – through God’s power.
Two men were climbing a steep path up a tall mountain. One looked to the top and asked, “How will we ever make it?” The other replied, “One step at a time.” And that is the only way for you to change your life for God’s glory.
Principle 12: Be Patient.
The Bible says in Romans 2:7 that we will receive eternal life if we continue patiently in well doing. This does not mean that we work for our salvation … another way the Bible puts it is in Philippians 2:13, “For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” We must be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the Lord’s work (1 Corinthians 15:58).
The Bible says in Galatians 6:9 that we are not to grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Your habits did not develop overnight and will not likely disappear overnight. It will take time. If you fall, repent, and ask God’s forgiveness. But get up and go on in His power. Do not give up. (1 John 1:8-2:2)
The Bible says in 2 Peter 3:18 that becoming a mature Christian is a process of growth. You are born again as a baby and gradually grow up in Christ. You may look at mature Christians and think, “Why can’t I be like them?” But they probably took years to mature. Do not be impatient with yourself.
As a child grows, you may notice small changes from day to day. But look at pictures from years ago and you will see amazing differences. So, you may not see much change in your service to God today compared to yesterday. But if you diligently apply the steps taught in God’s word, after a period of 5, 10, or 20 years you will see significant changes compared to where you began.
By using the means God provides, you can change to be what He wants. He gives motivation, guidance, and encouragement. All that is left is for you to determine to follow His will and then diligently act on that decision. He provides the tools. You must use them. What choice will you make?
This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey
Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!
Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”
Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”