The Marriage and Family Life Reading Plan, Day 5

Today’s reading is drawn from Daniel 6:4.

The Character of the Committed

If people tried to find grounds for charging you with corruption, would they succeed? Can you be trusted to do what you know is right? Are you reliable? It was said of Daniel, “So the governors and satraps sought to find some charge against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find no charge or fault, because he was faithful; nor was there any error or fault found in him.”

Daniel was a man of character, and character says quietly, yet convincingly, “I do what is right, even when no one is around to see. You can count on me—at any cost!” To get a sense of whether others consider you a person of character, answer the following questions:

  • Do people constantly have to remind you to get things done?
  • Is your word a premium seal that secures the deal?
  • Do you return phone calls?
  • Do your children believe you when you promise to do something?
  • If you promise you’ll be home, do you call if you’re going to be late?

Imagine the impact Christians would have on society if we replaced compromise and unfaithfulness with dependability, consistency and obedience toward God! Perhaps we could raise an army of young Daniels.

Bible Gateway

Sin Actually Starts With Desire, Day 5

Today’s reading is drawn from 2 Peter 3:11-18, 2 Peter 1:4, and Philippians 4:8.

We often think that sin has something that has power over us, but that simply isn’t true. We give power to sin by compounding bad habits and letting temptations into our lives.

The alignment of our will with our thoughts, feelings, and social relationships can seem like a long way off and a long time coming. Thus many of us have developed coping skills to save us from ourselves in the meantime. Changing our situation and circumstances through coping skills is sometimes a good stopgap, a short-term strategy to stay out of sin. But mere coping does not go nearly deep enough. Coping does not get to the level of temptation that is rooted in desire.

We tend to locate temptation in the purring voice on the other end of a phone call. In reality the only voice with power to move us to sin is the voice of desire within: the voice calling us to indulge what we think, feel, or observe. It is a wicked voice.

To be tempted means there is within us a preexisting desire or bent to consent. When that is the case, we are like a cheetah lying in wait for a passing gazelle. When we are living with disordered desires, we are placed and poised in a ready position to pounce on temptation as soon as it presents itself; we may even feel helpless in the face of temptation and believe that we can do nothing different. “Like the cheetah,” we say, “there is nothing we can do about our deep human instincts to hunt for sources that fulfill our desires.”

But that does not have to be the final verdict. We need to know these hopeful and grounding truths: Our sinful thoughts do not have to, automatically, lead to sinful acts. We do not have to pile up sinful acts that then become sinful habits. We do not have to live with sinful habits that in turn misshape our character.

>>BRING IT TO LIFE:

Immersing yourself in God’s Word and permitting his Spirit to guide you will give you the power to identify temptation and overcome sin.

Bible Gateway

We Believe

True Christianity is not religion. True Christianity is faith in Christ alone.

Just because people claim to be Christian does not necessarily mean that they are Christian. Christianity is not something you add to your life. Becoming a Christian means that Jesus Christ comes into your life and takes over. It is a totally new outlook that is not satisfied with anything less than penetration into the furthest corners of the soul and the understanding.

Christianity is not a spectator sport—buying a ticket and sitting on the sidelines. Becoming a Christian means no longer living for yourself but for God in obedience to Him. You must leave the old life behind and step into a new way of living, where Christ makes possible what you think impossible. To say you believe in Him and then continue living as though nothing has changed is to deny the power of God in your new life.

. . . The Bible says, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

How does this happen? Christ indwells His followers by giving the gift of His Holy Spirit. He will not muscle His way in; you must invite Him in, accept His gift, knowing that He will never leave. The Holy Spirit then becomes your constant companion, a lifetime resident, One who will “never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). He gives you the power to begin thinking new thoughts and behaving in ways that please Him—not yourself.

To watch the lyric video for Newsboys’ “We Believe” on YouTube, click: here

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From YouVersion