Skip to main content

Facing Life’s Mountains

Anytime believers face overwhelming problems, they can rely on the Holy Spirit for the help they need.

Zechariah 4:1-10

Are you facing what seems like an insurmountable obstacle? It might be a problem too complex to solve, a task beyond your ability, a sin too tempting to overcome, or a situation over which you have no control. Facing such things can make us feel weak, helpless, and vulnerable. But always remember that we have an almighty God, and nothing is too difficult for Him.

Zerubbabel was a Jewish leader who, together with 50,000 of his countrymen, returned to Jerusalem from Babylonian captivity. They set about rebuilding the temple, but the obstacles were daunting. The people became disheartened, so God gave His prophet Zechariah a vision to encourage them. The message reminded Zerubbabel that progress is made “not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit” (Zech. 4:6).

This same truth applies to us today. Your obstacles may seem like mountains too big to move, and in your own strength, they certainly are. But as a believer, you have the power of the Holy Spirit within you. Although your circumstances may not change, He’ll give you His comfort, joy, peace, patience, and strength to go through it. The Spirit is God’s promise of continual help to His weary people.


The Gifts of the Spirit

Are you using your gifts to serve others? To be effective, the church needs the participation of every believer.

1 Corinthians 12:1-13

God has prepared work for us to do, and He’s equipped us with spiritual gifts to do it. Spiritual gifts are special abilities the Lord gives us to serve others in the body of Christ.

These gifts are given to us, but they’re for the benefit of others. Though they come in several varieties, can be used in various ministries, and have a wide range of effects in the church, they all originate from the Holy Spirit. He’s the One who chooses which gift each believer will receive. When all church members serve the body using their particular gifts, everyone benefits spiritually.

The Lord has a specific purpose in mind for each of us, and He’s gifted us accordingly (Ephesians 2:10). Without our individual contribution, the local church will lack something. Part of living in the power of the Holy Spirit involves employing our divine endowments as God directs. By operating in our area of giftedness, we’ll have the motivation, ability, and confidence needed for effective service. If you don’t know what gift you have, start by volunteering at something of interest, and eventually you’ll discover it.  


Caution Regarding Spiritual Gifts

God wants us to appreciate the unique gifting of every member in His church.

1 Corinthians 12:14-30

Paul’s first epistle to the Corinthians addressed several problems in the church, including the misuse of spiritual gifts. The people in that fellowship valued only certain gifts—believers with the “better” ones were elevated above others, while those without the preferred abilities were considered less important.

In teaching about spiritual gifts, Paul warned church members not to think more highly of themselves than they ought (Romans 12:3). The gifts are not given to exalt certain individuals but to benefit the congregation, and no gift is more important than any other. God considers them all necessary for the health of a local church. Each believer receives at least one gift in accordance with the Spirit’s purposes and choosing. It’s God’s business to decide who has which ability.

We must be careful not to assign undue value to certain gifts. Nor should we place unwarranted emphasis on giftedness as a way to assess one’s spiritual maturity or importance in the church. Let’s release any preconceived ideas about the value of spiritual abilities and instead celebrate how God builds each local body of believers. Our omniscient Father places His children where they can minister through their gifts and also be blessed by others doing likewise.


Glorifying Christ at All Times

Sometimes we shine brightest for Christ in our darkest moments.

Psalm 34:1-3

Today’s psalm calls us to continually exalt and magnify the Lord, regardless of the situation. As we gaze at God through His Word, our understanding of Him becomes greater, as if we’re looking through a magnifying glass. We see the wonders of His nature and deeds more clearly and can’t help but respond in praise.

To grasp this concept of magnifying the Lord, consider how Paul responded to being imprisoned in Rome (Philippians 1:12-14). Instead of complaining about the situation, he accepted it with grace, knowing that this was God’s path for him. Through it all, he kept praising and exalting Christ. Even though Paul couldn’t preach or start churches as he once did, the Lord opened up a new way to serve—prison ministry and written correspondence that eventually ended up in the New Testament.

Whatever is happening in your life—good or bad, long-term or short—you have the opportunity to magnify the Lord through it. This not only benefits you with a greater appreciation of Him, but it also encourages others who see your witness. When a believer passes through trials peacefully and praises the Lord, even unbelievers notice.


Lessons From My Grandfather

God will provide all that is needed for you to do His will.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Every society depends on its elders to pass down those things that help preserve its history and moral center. For this reason, parents and grandparents have the awesome responsibility of passing down biblical truths and principles.

When I was 17, I decided to visit my granddad. I had an entire week to spend at his home, and all I wanted to do was listen to him. One of the most impactful things he said to me was, “Charles, obey God. If He tells you to run through a brick wall, head for the wall. And when you get there, God will make a hole for you.”

He shared that his youthful passion had been to preach, but this dream was blocked by his lack of education. With no schooling, he didn’t see how he could ever be a pastor. But he did learn to preach—by crying out to God for help and reading his Bible.

From that humble beginning, he started to minister, and as the Lord opened opportunities, my grandfather eventually established numerous churches. He taught me that when we really want to do God’s will, our heavenly Father will move heaven and earth to show us the way.


When Faith Falters

When our focus is on God rather than our problems, our faith grows stronger.

Mark 9:14-29

Do you sometimes doubt that all things are possible with God? It’s likely most of us have felt this way at one time or another—probably when something we asked of the Lord failed to happen. Faith is not a means to coerce God into doing what we want; it’s simply believing that He will do what He’s said.

Doubts come when we use human wisdom and logic instead of relying on God’s Word. Then fear and uncertainty about the outcome interfere with trusting biblical truth. It may seem as if we’re going out on a limb, but in reality, trusting the Lord is a firmer foundation than relying on ourselves and human reason. When we focus on God instead of on the situation, our faith grows stronger.

In many ways, we’re like the father in today’s story—we believe in Jesus but sometimes struggle to trust that He’ll help in our time of need. That’s when we should cry out to Him the way the desperate father did: “I do believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24). Then we should also read and meditate on His Word. As our knowledge of God grows, so will our trust in Him.


Understanding Guilt

Conviction leads us to repentance so that we can experience God's forgiveness and joy.

Psalm 32:1-11

Guilt over doing something that violates the conscience is good. The Lord designed feelings of culpability and regret to serve as a reminder that we’ve done wrong and need to repent. In fact, without a sense of guilt, we’d never recognize that we’re sinners in need of a Savior. And after salvation, guilt is the way the Lord shows us we’re on the wrong path so we can turn back to Him in obedience.

Many in our culture claim that all guilt is bad, but that’s not the case. When you feel its pangs, you probably know exactly what you did to set off your conscience. The proper response is to come to the Lord in repentance, as David did. Delay would likely mean feeling God’s heavy hand upon you. But with confession, your sins are forgiven, your guilt is gone, and the joy of your salvation returns. (See 1 John 1:9.)

An amazing side effect of confronting guilt in this way is a willingness to be open about your struggles and failures. Through your experience, you can show others who are burdened with shame how they, too, can be set free and experience God’s peace and joy.


Overcoming Guilt

Are you burdened by your past? By pouring out your heart to God, you can find peace and freedom.

1 John 2:12-14

When we come to Christ in repentance and faith, all our sins are forgiven. They will never be held against us because Jesus took our sin and guilt to the cross and bore the penalty of God’s wrath on our behalf. When we’re quick to confess and repent of our sins, there’s no reason to hold onto guilt or live in shame. Yet sometimes we’re bound by self-reproach long after the feeling should have been resolved.

Satan always looks for opportunities to accuse us. Sometimes his accusations are about transgressions we’ve already confessed. In such cases, God has fully forgiven us. But we must also forgive ourselves—otherwise we remain vulnerable to the torment of guilt as well as to Satan’s condemnation.

So how can we tell where a feeling of guilt comes from?  God-given conviction focuses on a specific sinful action or attitude, whereas the enemy’s accusations are usually generalized and directed at us and our worth. Remember, his purpose is to degrade us so we’ll live in shame and uncertainty about God’s love.

Whether your sense of remorse is true or false, it needs to be dealt with quickly—the feeling won’t just go away. So stop running, and face the source of your guilt. It’s time to end your captivity and start walking in the joy of God’s forgiveness.


Know What You Believe

The Bible is our protection against deception.

2 Timothy 1:12-14

All people have a belief system, whether they realize it or not. Even those who claim there is no God have faith that He does not exist. Some base their convictions on what fits their lifestyle, reasoning, and desires. Jesus’ followers, however, are called to base their lives on the authority of God’s Word.

Any time we add other philosophies or ideas to Scripture or pick and choose which parts of the Bible to believe, we create our own version of faith based on personal reasoning. God’s Word is a true and reliable foundation for belief because it contains the recorded thoughts of an eternal, all-knowing God. Any other concept must be measured against God’s Word to determine its validity.

Knowing what the Bible says is essential for developing a sound system of beliefs founded on the truth and wisdom of the Lord. This world will offer you a variety of philosophies, but a faith anchored in the Bible is your protection against deception.

Each time you face a problem or decision, search the Scriptures for help in coming up with the answer. Begin your day by reading the Word, and ask God to help you understand what He is saying. He loves communicating with you, and He will make Himself known.


Defending the Faith

Believers should be careful to share the good news of Christ with gentleness and respect.

1 Peter 3:13-16

God doesn’t want his children merely to know God’s Word for themselves. Rather, He wants all believers to share His good news with others. 1 Peter 3:15 says to be “ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you.”

The term “defense” has to do with answering for oneself.  In other words, believers should be ready to give an explanation of their hope in Christ. Many Christians have never taken the time to really think through the reasons for their beliefs. Then, when someone challenges them, they feel a sense of panic.

Giving an account for our faith must be accompanied by a gentle, respectful delivery. Dumping a load of truth on a questioning person rarely leads him or her to the Lord, but a gentle answer opens hearts as well as ears. What’s more, all that we profess must be backed up with a life of integrity. It’s important to remember that a hypocritical lifestyle can damage our testimony for Christ.

Peter’s verses were not written to scholars; they were intended for ordinary people with jobs and families. The Lord will help you think through your defense, but it requires your intentional participation.


How Grace Changes Everything

Jesus breaks the power of sin and offers hope to all who trust Him.

1 Timothy 1:12-17

Our lives are hopeless without God. We are born with a fleshly nature, and we continue to sin throughout life. The penalty for sin is death and eternal separation from God. No one is exempt from this biblical truth, and there’s nothing that we can do to change the situation. Enter God’s grace, His unmerited favor toward us.

Consider the apostle Paul, who persecuted anyone claiming the name of Jesus. He played a significant role in the violence aimed at Christians and, in his own words, was the “chief” of sinners (1 Tim. 1:15 KJV). Nothing he did deserved God’s tender concern. But God lovingly transformed him into a man who dedicated himself to sharing the gospel message. Paul’s life beautifully illustrates grace.

Salvation is possible only because of grace—we simply can’t do enough good deeds to earn our own way to heaven. The One who took the punishment for our sin deserves all credit for our redemption. And thankfully, there is no transgression too great for Him to forgive. We can’t add to His act of atonement; all we can do is receive this free gift. If we trust in Christ as Savior, God will save us, making us His children forever.


Living in Grace

Experiencing the forgiveness God offers will transform every part of life.

2 Corinthians 5:16-19

Before the apostle Paul’s conversion, if someone had suggested that he would impact the world for Jesus, he probably would have laughed. But God’s grace can impact anyone. Contrary to what many think, being a Christian doesn’t mean adding good deeds to our life. Instead, believers receive forgiveness and a new nature by God’s grace. Then our inward transformation results in obvious outward changes.

Transformation occurs in many areas. For example, our attitudes change—salvation by God’s grace results in humility and gratitude. Out of thankfulness for this undeserved free gift flows compassion for the lost and a desire to share the gospel with them. Experiencing Christ’s forgiveness also results in a longing to serve Him. This doesn’t need to be in a formal church setting; we serve Him by loving others, helping those in need, and telling people about Him.

While there are still natural consequences for our sin, God offers us forgiveness and redemption through Jesus. He made a way to restore our broken relationship with Him. What’s more, our Father transforms our lives so we will become more like His Son and reflect His heart to others.


Friends of Christ

Because Jesus chose us to be His friends, we have the privilege of interacting with Him daily.

John 15:12-17

Jesus Christ is so many things to us—Savior, Master, and Lord. But amazingly He also calls us His friends. Can you imagine any greater compliment from the Creator of heaven and earth? And our part in this divine friendship involves spending time with the Lord and getting to know Him.  

The Lord thinks of us not merely as slaves (although that is what we are, since we’ve been purchased with His precious blood); He’s also raised us to the level of friends in whom He confides. That’s why Jesus said to His disciples, “All things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15). And today we have the completed Scriptures, which give us explanations about God’s will, purposes, commands, and desires.

The disciples were blessed to have the opportunity to live and interact with the incarnate Christ. But we’re also privileged because we can have the same intimate relationship with the Savior that those first-century followers had. What’s more, His Spirit lives within every believer, continually revealing more of the Father and Son to us through His Word.


The Gift of Teaching

Teachers, who faithfully study and share truth with others, are God’s provision for the church.

Titus 1:5-11

God has given believers spiritual gifts for the common good of the body of Christ. And teaching is an essential gift for church leaders, who must be able to exhort and correct while holding firmly to the Word of God (Ephesians 4:11-13). But this God-given ability isn’t limited to church authorities. Other members in a fellowship are also endowed with this competency and are responsible to use it faithfully.

The gift of teaching isn’t characterized merely by the ability to speak eloquently, for there are many empty talkers who sound good but are spreading deception. True teachers combine good communication skills with diligent study of the Bible. In fact, they delight in deepening their understanding of God’s Word and long to share what they’ve learned. Such Christians are organized and analytical in their thinking, as well as thorough and accurate in their explanations of Scripture.

Have you been blessed with this ability? If so, God’s intention is that you use it faithfully and carefully for the benefit of your church. And keep in mind both the privilege and responsibility inherent in the gift of teaching—that “whoever speaks is to do so as one who is speaking actual words of God” (1 Peter 4:11).


Manifestations of Good Teaching

Human logic may be attractive, but only God's truth has the power to change hearts permanently.

Titus 2:1-15

Every church needs believers who are gifted to teach. In his letter to Titus, the apostle Paul urges teachers to “proclaim the things which are fitting for sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1). When the Word of God is taught with accuracy, people are transformed by what they hear and behave accordingly.

That’s why it’s essential for pastors and teachers to be led by the Holy Spirit and God’s Word, not by their own ideas. Human reasoning may seem appealing, but it has no power to permanently change lives for the better. Only Scripture taught accurately can do that.

Sound doctrinal teaching challenges not only our behavior but also our attitudes, motives, and way of thinking. By faithfully absorbing and applying Scripture, we learn to deny ungodliness and sinful desires, while seeking to live righteously in this evil world (v. 12).

If you attend a church where biblical truth is taught, there may be times when the quantity of information presented seems boring or overwhelming. But keep in mind that the teacher’s goal is to present enough truth so you can live in a manner that pleases the Lord. The Word instructs leaders to do this, so our response should be to thank God for making sure we receive sound teaching.


Praise: An Expression of Love

When we know the Lord and realize how much He has done for us, we can't help but love and praise Him!

Psalm 145:1-21

The Lord described David as a man after His own heart, who would do all His will (Acts 13:22). What does that look like? How can we know whether this characterizes us?

The answer is found in David’s psalms. The Lord was the priority of his life and the object of his trust and worship. His love for God overflowed in his words of praise. In fact, this description applies to anyone whose heart resembles the Lord’s.

In Psalm 63:3, David said, “Because Your favor is better than life, my lips will praise you.” Is this how you feel toward the Lord? Do you love Him with the same unashamed enthusiasm David exhibited? Of course, some people are more prone to fervent displays of worship than others, but our hearts should all be motivated by the same kind of love and devotion.  

The Lord is worthy of praise. He is our King, our Protector, and our refuge. What’s more, He saved us from condemnation and eternal death! Since God deserves to receive praise offerings from His people, let’s give Him the glory that is rightly His.


The Foundation of Praise

As we spend time in the Word and learn more about God, our love for Him deepens.

Psalm 103:1-22

Whenever the psalmists penned songs of worship, they spoke about the Lord’s specific attributes or actions. These songs were compiled into the book we now call Psalms, and the collection can be seen as a biography of God—one that relies upon the language of praise to describe and exalt Him.

The ability to worship grows out of love for the Lord. And since genuine love is always cultivated by learning about the other person, the true root of praise is knowledge of the Lord. As we spend time with Him in His Word, discovering new facets of His character deepens both our love for Him and our understanding of why He deserves praise.  

In addition, we also learn to know the Lord through our walk with Him. As we observe how He meets our needs and showers us with mercy and compassion, we experience His faithfulness, and our trust in Him increases. Our lives become a display of accumulated praise for His abundant provision, comfort in times of pain, and intervention during adversity.  Not only that, but our transformation becomes a testimony of gratitude for the trials and hardships He’s used to shape us into the image of Christ.  


The Lord of Our Life

Is it your heart's desire to please the One who saved you?

Luke 6:46-49

The word Lord should not be used carelessly. It’s unacceptable to speak of Jesus as Lord in our conversations and prayers but then to contradict the claim by defying His will and His Word. A lot of believers probably think that statement doesn’t apply to them. But we should all realize resistance can be subtle—perhaps by qualifying our obedience with conditions like “I’ll follow the Lord if ...” or “I want to do what is right, but ...”

When Jesus is identified as Lord in the Scriptures, it signifies that He is the sovereign ruler over life and all creation. When we assert that He’s our Lord, we’re claiming that He is our Savior and Master, which means we submit to Him in all things. If we attest to this verbally but don’t actually do what Jesus says, then are we really serving Him?

None of us can obey Christ perfectly, but once we’re born again, submitting to Him should be our heart’s desire and our practice. After all, He purchased us with His precious blood and now rules over us for our good. So, though we may struggle at times, our lives should be characterized by obedience to our Lord because we are His.


The Way to Eternal Life

God wants to remove the heavy burden of performance and give us freedom through Christ.

Mark 10:17-27

A wealthy man came to Jesus and asked, “What shall I do so that I may inherit eternal life?” (Mark 10:17). His erroneous belief was that eternal life could be earned and he qualified by keeping God’s commandments. But when Jesus challenged him to give up his wealth, he walked away. That directive wasn’t the way to eternal life, but it revealed the true condition of his unrighteous heart.  

Satan continually promotes the false idea that we can make ourselves acceptable in God’s eyes. Just like the rich man, many today believe the Lord will accept them because they have done good deeds. In thinking this way, they have established their own standard of acceptability while ignoring the only standard that matters—God’s.  

The disciples found it surprising that entering God’s kingdom is hard for even the well-off. They asked, “Then who can be saved?” and Jesus answered, “With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.” (vv. 26-27).

Every person is born a sinner worthy of eternal condemnation, and nothing we do will pay for our sin debt. Only through faith in Christ, who died in our place, can we be made acceptable to God. Consider what an amazing blessing it is that through Him, our sins are forgiven and we receive life everlasting.


Facing Death

It's never too late to accept the mercy, forgiveness, and eternal life Jesus offers.

Luke 23:32-43

Jesus was crucified between two criminals. Just hours before their deaths, something absolutely glorious occurred for one of them—he was forgiven and redeemed right in front of the mocking crowd who rejected Jesus as the Messiah. The outlaw’s name was written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, and heaven rejoiced.

What evidence do we have that his last-minute conversion was real?

Change in behavior. At first both criminals hurled insults and blasphemies against Jesus. In a total turnaround, one of them later chastised the other man for his words (Luke 23:40).

Admission of guilt. Then the penitent convict publicly acknowledged that he was being justly punished for his wicked deeds (v. 41).

Expression of faith in the Lord. The man said to Jesus, “Remember me when You come into Your kingdom!” (v. 42). In this way, he acknowledged that the Lord was in fact King, as stated on the inscription above Christ’s cross (v. 38). And Jesus answered him, “Truly I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise” (v. 43).

Every one of us is just a heartbeat away from dying. Let this sobering thought propel you to examine your life: Are you ready to face death and eternity?  


What Happens After Death?

Now is the time to decide where you will spend eternity.

Luke 16:19-31

Death is inevitable, but most people give that reality little thought until it’s too late. Now is the time to think seriously about what follows our earthly existence—while we still have the opportunity to make a decision that will affect our ultimate destination.     

This life is not all there is; eternity awaits all of us. Some will live eternally in God’s presence, but the alternative is to experience everlasting torment, forever separated from Him. If we receive Jesus as Savior, our penalty for sin is paid, we are adopted into God’s family, and heaven is our eternal home. But if we suppress the truth and reject Jesus, we remain alienated from God, under condemnation for our sin, and destined for unending agony.

Some say that there are many ways to God, but don’t believe it. There is just one way—through the Lord Jesus Christ (John 14:6). He is the only mediator between fallen mankind and holy God (1 Timothy 2:5).

God welcomes every person who comes to Him through faith in His Son, regardless of background, age, or current situation. If you realize you’re a sinner and believe Jesus died on your behalf, ask Him to be your Savior. Then you can be confident that you’re forgiven and are now and forever a part of God’s family.


An Introduction to Christ

We will one day see Jesus in all His glory and discover even more wondrous things about Him.

Revelation 1:4-8

In the last verse of his Gospel, John says much more could have been written about the things Jesus did—but the world wouldn’t be able to contain that many books (John 21:25). In today’s passage, the same writer gives a compact summation, highlighting the Lord’s identity and work. He tells us that Jesus Christ is ...

The faithful witness. Jesus came to earth as God’s witness. The words He spoke and the works He accomplished were only what His Father commanded (John 12:49-50; John 17:4).

The firstborn from the dead. His was the first resurrection, and it is the guarantee that we will be resurrected in the same way (Romans 6:5).

The ruler of the kings of the earth. He establishes kingdoms and tears them down, and the book of Revelation describes how He will one day take dominion of the entire world.  

The one who loves us and has released us from our sins. All our wrongdoing is forgiven.

This is our amazing Savior, and we can look forward to a future with Him that is secure and glorious. Read the rest of Revelation 1 with the awareness that you will one day see the Lord in all His glory.


Jesus Christ Is Lord

The Lord is good to give us our next breath, and so much more!

Romans 14:7-12

Whether we live or die, we do so for Christ (Rom. 14:8). That’s what is meant when we talk about His Lordship. And as believers, we recognize that the only safe way to live is in submission to Him. We bow before Him—not in fear or dread but in gratitude and worship.  

Some people think that only those who claim Christ as King come under His authority. But the truth is, He reigns over the entire universe. At present relatively few people submit to the Lord’s rule. The rest refuse to acknowledge His sovereignty or surrender to His will. They want to control their own destinies, never realizing that their next breath comes from Him.

But the Lord’s supreme reign can never be thwarted—and despite resistance now, a day is coming when every knee will bow and every tongue will praise Him (v. 11). At that time all dissent will be silenced before Jesus, who will “judge the living and the dead” (2 Timothy 4:1).

Many will unwisely wait until they’re forced to kneel in homage to the Lord; tragically, they will face a harsh future. The time to bend the knee to Christ is now, when we can do so of our own volition. And what blessings are in store for those who choose to follow Jesus! He is a kind, loving Master, who has cleansed us from sin and promised to make us heirs with Him in His kingdom.


In the Workplace

God blesses those who choose to labor with integrity, honoring Him with their finest efforts.

Colossians 3:23-24

God’s plan for us includes work of various kinds. Not only are we to help others and be involved in mission-related pursuits; we’re also expected to serve our employers.

Regardless of your boss’s actions or temperament, the Lord is our ultimate authority, and one way we honor Him is by doing our job with integrity. He expects that whether we work in transportation, technology, education, or any other field, we will carry out our tasks with excellence.  

To do anything else dishonors God. Lazy employees might abuse company time, execute duties poorly, or do the bare minimum. Often their focus is exclusively on the paycheck. But work is not simply about receiving a wage; the Lord wants His followers to better themselves and their organization. Certainly, these outcomes are rewards in and of themselves. But God also shows favor to His followers who choose diligence and integrity.

Wherever the Lord places us is where we are to work for His glory. So, as children who want to please our heavenly Father, let’s offer our finest efforts in all we do.


Freedom From Sin’s Grasp

If you are trapped in recurring patterns of sin, call on the Lord for help.

Romans 6:11-14

Years ago, I found myself taking on too much responsibility. At first I thought doing so revealed my motivation and obedience. But as weariness set in, I realized my true motive behind the excess work: It was an attempt to prove I was adequate.

Insecurity, inadequacy, and lack of self-worth can, at best, distract us from God’s purpose. At worst, they can lead to transgression—and Scripture tells us that a recurring pattern of wrongdoing indicates captivity to sin. So how can we break free? Here are three steps to take.

1. Recognize enslavement. It’s possible a blind spot prevents your seeing a sin that’s obvious to others. Accountability to a trusted friend may be appropriate.

2. Trace sin to its root. What purpose does your sin serve? Is it a way to avoid responsibility? transparency? discomfort?

3. Choose to be free. By Jesus’ death and resurrection, we are offered the greatest freedom possible: reconciliation to God.

Some people find liberation quickly, while others embark on a slow journey toward freedom. But one thing is clear for everyone—the Lord can break the enslavement of sin and insecurity in your life. So ask for His help and walk toward restoration.


The Challenge to End Well

When we discover our God-given purpose, life becomes a fulfilling and joy-filled adventure.

Ephesians 2:8-10

When we place trust in Jesus, God doesn’t take us straight to heaven. Instead, He leaves us here on earth and gives each of us a ministry to carry out with Christ’s all-sufficient power.

God has specifically designed a place of service to fit our personality, gifts, and abilities. He also equips and strengthens us to be able to meet the challenges of that calling. The believer’s responsibility is to obey with joy.

Too many Christians approach ministry with stingy hearts, investing as few hours as possible so that they can return to work or personal pursuits. But our jobs don’t own us; neither do we belong to ourselves. We are adopted sons and daughters of the Father God, and as such, we honor Him first.

If people were here only to work a job, pay bills, and have a few laughs, no one would ever enjoy long-term fulfillment. But believers find peace and joy in serving God every day according to His call. As today’s passage says, “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works” (v. 10). That is the only way to end well.


We Have a Trustworthy Guide

Jesus will lead us through life’s joys and sorrows—and into eternity.

Psalm 32:8-11

In my office is a print of the Lord Jesus standing behind a young man and pointing ahead. Jesus’ hand is on the man’s shoulder, and I imagine Him saying, “This is the way we’re going. I’ll get you to the destination.” Although the road will be marked with both joy and suffering, the Lord leads His followers all the way to their eternal home.

It takes honesty to admit that we’re ill-equipped to go through life alone—in our own strength, limited knowledge, and human reasoning, we simply cannot be sure our decisions are wise. Thankfully, the Lord is willing and able to guide us if we’ll let Him. To fall in step with God, follow His lead by regularly spending time in His Word and applying biblical principles in your life.  

For those of us who follow the Lord, eternity in heaven lies just beyond our last heartbeat. And that’s where our Savior is leading us. The path may not be clear to our eyes, but Jesus is guiding us there with a steady and sure hand. Our part is to follow in obedience so that when we reach heaven, we’ll hear the Father say, “Well done” (Matthew 25:21).