Have the benefits of your transformed life caused the memories of your previous lifestyle to fade? Do you remember what you once were before Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit entered your life? Can you recall the darkness before you experienced the light? As you see the lost around you, are you aware that apart from God’s grace, you’d be lost too, right there amongst them? Continue reading
Not only do you search God’s Word, but it searches you. Not only do we seek to understand God’s Word, but we need to stand under its authority.
As you read the Bible, you may be tempted to draw back from it soul-searching power. You may argue with its teaching, resent its discipline, or question its assertions. But these reactions simply alert you to the fact that God is searching you heart. At times like these, spiritual renewal comes as you stop and examine not only God’s Word but also your response to it.
Why are you feeling upset when you’re challenged? Why is the Bible affecting you in a particular way? What specific attitudes or behaviors is it addressing? How does the teaching of God’s Word differ from your way of living? Questions like these can move you beyond impulsive reactions to spiritually productive reflection. The psalmist wrote, ‘Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life’ (Psalm 139:23-24). That’s a pretty brave prayer, isn’t it?
When you surrender your resistance, you find the grace of Jesus Christ sustaining you. The very Word that exposes your sin also reveals the remedy for that sin’Jesus, your great High Priest. Through him you find mercy that removes your sin and power that works through your weakness.
All of us have felt the tug of an old habit or former way of life. And I’m sure you’ve known the frustration it creates as you long for the familiar, even though it may be destructive or may lead you outside God’s will. At times, the challenge may seem too hard. Your old life beckons, tempting you with familiar sources of comfort.
Did you know that many Jewish Christians of the first century thought about returning to the Jewish faith? Some of Jesus’ teachings didn’t seem to line up with the teachings of the Jewish rabbis. Was Jesus really the Messiah? Did following him mean they had to give up their old, familiar forms of worship? Would it be wrong to go back to their old beliefs and traditions? Did it make sense to follow this new way when it led to harsh persecution?
The writer of the book of Hebrews addressed these concerns of the Jewish Christians. In this book, they are encouraged to hold onto their faith, to encourage one another and to look forward to Jesus’ return.
What old habits are haunting you? Addiction? Lust? Anger? Spiritual renewal requires that you seek God, surrender your life to Jesus Christ, and follow his ways. From time to time, you will almost certainly feel a temptation to return to your former ways of life. But God is more than able to help you overcome and empower you to grow.