The Missing Ingredient In Your Battle Against Sin

You can do everything right and still not defeat a sin. You can read the Bible every day. You can pray. You can have a group of friends around you who’ll speak the truth in love to you on a regular basis.

And you can still be trapped in habitual sin.

At the end of the day, you can’t depend upon yourself and what you can do to defeat sin. You need the Holy Spirit’s power. The Holy Spirit enables believers to do what they can’t do and fulfill God’s desire for our lives.

You can have all the right equipment to defeat habitual sin in your life, but it won’t matter without the Holy Spirit. Imagine you were walking on the beach and saw a dead seagull that had died less than a minute earlier. If you pick it up, it won’t be much different than its live counterparts. It’ll still be warm. It’ll have the same muscles, bones, feathers, and wings. But if you toss it up in the sky, it’ll drop right back down to the ground.

Why? The seagull has no life left. The life isn’t in the feathers, wings, or bones. It’s in the life God puts in it. Without a spirit, the bird won’t fly, even if it has all the right equipment.

You can have all the right equipment to live a successful, victorious life, but without the Spirit’s empowering, you can’t live that kind of life.

It’s like throwing a dead bird into the air.

You can’t live the victorious life of Christ on your own. It’s impossible. Your best intentions and your too-easily-broken promises won’t enable you to live the Christian life. The Holy Spirit has to live through you.

This devotional © 2014 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Willpower Won’t Solve Your Problem

You have a war inside of you that will rage for your entire life between who you used to be and who you’ve become in Jesus Christ. Paul, the most decorated missionary in the history of Christianity and the author of most of the New Testament, battled with it.

I hate to tell you this, but you’ll always have this battle. You’ll never outgrow it. You can’t read enough Scripture to make the temptations go away. You can’t hide from them.

Until you get to Heaven, you’re stuck with an all-out battle between your two natures. I’ve been a believer for a long time, but my old nature is still there. My old nature wants me to be prideful, lustful, self-centered, deceptive, and just downright sinful sometimes.

The question is, what are you going to do about it?

Willpower won’t solve the problem. Just because you want to change and put everything into making that change doesn’t mean you’ll make the change. It may work for a bit, but you’ll get tired and stop the effort.

In your spiritual walk, you want to choose to follow your new nature, meaning you choose not to follow your old nature. For instance, if you’re tempted with lust but you immediately remove yourself from the temptation, you’ll starve the old self. If, when you’re tempted with pride, you remember your dependence upon God, your old nature can’t last long.

This devotional © 2014 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

A tried Faith

Our Defense against Worry
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7 NKJV)

We live in such a stress-filled society today. We could write these words on the tombstones of many Americans: Hurried, worried, buried. We’re constantly in motion, going from one thing to another, from one worry to another. We can get so stressed out that we’re almost immobilized. Sometimes worry can absolutely paralyze a person’s life.

But as my friend Max Lucado has said, “Your anxiety decreases as your understanding of your Father increases.” That is really the heart of the matter.

On July 24, 2008, my wife and I heard the news that no parent ever wants to hear. We found out that our son had suddenly left us for Heaven. Anxiety, panic, worry, and fear all crashed in at the same time. And as I bent beneath the weight of it, I honestly wondered if I could survive such a thing. As a pastor, I had spoken with people over the years who had lost children, but when it happened to me, I honestly wondered if I could handle it.

But God was there for me. And one of the reasons I have continued to preach since that day is because of that, because God was there. If the Lord had not come through for me on that day, I would have given up preaching. But He did come through for me.

I’m not saying it has been easy. We still miss our son, of course, and we still feel deep pain. But we have found the truth of Philippians 4:6–7: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (NKJV).

Apply this truth, and turn your worries into prayers.

Copyright © 2017 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved.

A Reason Not To Fear

People are born for trouble as readily as sparks fly up from a fire. (Job 5:7 NLT)

In the months following September 11, 2001, as many as 400,000 New Yorkers suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder or depression. Drug use, both legal and illegal, and alcohol use went up dramatically after that horrific day. It’s because people were afraid. And they had good reason to be.

John 14 tells us of a time when the disciples were afraid. Jesus had dropped a bombshell on them. He said something that turned their world, as they knew it, upside down.

Then He went on to share some words to bring calm to their troubled hearts: “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me” (John 14:1 NLT). He didn’t say, “Mull over your problems.” Rather, He said, “Don’t be troubled.”

Life is filled with trouble. It seems as though once you have one problem resolved, three more take its place. As Job 5:7 says, “People are born for trouble as readily as sparks fly up from a fire” (NLT). From the moment we come into this life, there are all kinds of troubles.

While there are reasons to be troubled, there is a greater reason not to be: We know Jesus. He said to His disciples, “Trust in God, and trust also in me” (John 14:1 NLT). In other words, “I haven’t brought you this far to abandon you now. I know what I’m doing. Believe.”

There are times in our lives when things happen that we just don’t understand. When I don’t understand something about God, I try to always fall back on what I do understand: I do understand that God loves me. I do understand that He is looking out for me with my best interests in mind. And I do understand that no matter what happens, He will get me through.

Copyright © 2017 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved.