Are there times when you give in to what you know is bad? Do you sometimes find yourself eating another bite when you’re already really full, taking another drink when you’ve had enough, downing the pill even though you know you shouldn’t, or even doing something as stupid as binge-watching a Netflix series when you know it’s eating up your time and you really should be doing something else? It’s nothing no one else has ever fought with before, but know that this is a battle God wants you to win!
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21)
As I get older I am increasingly impressed by the fact that God gives His people strength if we ask. And all you have to do to be one of those–one of “His people”–is submit to His authority over you, confess your sins to Him, and trust in the forgiveness He freely gives because of Jesus. But once you’ve done that, YOU NEED TO GET INTO HIS WORD.
Jesus said, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” (John 15:7 NIV)
He also said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5 NIV)
If we remain in Jesus, we will get whatever we ask for in prayer. If we do not remain in Jesus–apart from Him–we can do nothing. Jesus–everything; no Jesus–nothing. But what does it mean to remain in Christ? How do we actually do that?
You see, there’s this really peculiar relationship between the Bible and Jesus Christ. It is that Jesus is the Word of God:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1-5, 9-14 NIV)
Jesus is the revelation of God bodily in human form–His Word, His expression, His logos; the Bible is the revelation of God put down for us in written form–His Word, His expression, His logos. But both are the revelation of God, and WE REMAIN IN JESUS BY FAITHFULLY AND FREQUENTLY READING AND STUDYING THE BIBLE. That’s the key to a successful Christian life!
The truth is that it is absolutely impossible for us to resist some things on our own. That’s why we need to ASK for His help. James tells us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5 NIV) But wisdom isn’t the only thing we can and should ask God for: we should also ask for strength and self-control, and anything else we need to live a godly life.
James goes on to say, “…You do not have because you do not ask God.” (James 4:2 NIV)
I have actually asked God not only that He would help me stop binge-watching an interesting series–basically that I would control it not it control me–but also that it wouldn’t be hard, and, the amazing thing is–He did! The lesson here is that we are not bothering God; He is our loving and kind Heavenly Father and wants us to ask for whatever it is we need to live a life of holiness that pleases Him!
Remember that “…’people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.'”(2 Peter 2:19 NIV) Even something not necessarily wrong can become wrong if it threatens to master and enslave us–if it controls us and our time instead of us controlling it.
So, are you remaining in Jesus–are you faithfully reading and studying what God says? If so, ask Him for help with whatever it is you’re struggling with, and rest assured “…it will be done for you.” (John 15:7 NIV)
Dear Lord God,
Thank You for Your precious Word; help me to remain in You, Jesus, and Your Word remain in me, so You will give me the help I need to obey You! Amen!!