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The moment we receive Christ, we step into a lifetime journey—a journey where we continually grow in right behavior.
Little by little, day after day, our behavior improves. It is vitally important that before you try to change your behavior, you know who you are in Christ.
Before you go any further, you need to know that God loves you. And not only does he approve of you, He’s smiling over you. You need to get that so deeply rooted within your heart that nothing can ever take it from you.
When you’re rooted in God’s love, He’s going to help you stand up in faith and start walking. But you can’t go ahead of Him trying to do good works on your own. You have to know the Word. And it’s not easy to get the Word in you. Your human nature will fight it.
I remember feeding my babies and as long as I was giving them bananas and peaches, everything was great. But when I’d slip in a spoonful of peas, they’d go “Phfttt!” So I’d scrape the peas off their chin and shove it back in their mouth again. It took a while, but sooner or later they were eating peas.
It’s the same with new Christians. When we start consuming God’s Word, we start growing up spiritually. We stop walking in our own efforts and start doing what He wants us to do.
No matter how badly we want to obey God, we can’t do it on our own, because God won’t let us do anything apart from Him.
Proverbs 4:18 tells us the path of righteousness shines brighter and clearer every day as we continue in God’s Word. We’ve got to continue loving the Word, studying the Word, and listening to the Word so it can transform us.
We all want to be able to look back at the previous year and say, “I’ve improved. I’m more patient. I’m more giving. I’m less selfish.” If we have the Word in us, we can do that.
Have you ever run a yellow light? Maybe you’re in a hurry and just think, “I can make it through this.” If you do that over and over, you’re bound to end up in a wreck. Well, it’s the same with God’s Word.
If we go ahead and do what we know we shouldn’t be doing and just try to sneak by, we can end up getting hurt. God’s Word is here to protect us.
If you’ve made mistakes, don’t spend half the day beating yourself up. But don’t take a sloppy attitude toward sin either. Sincerely repent and go on.
Hebrews 5:14 says, Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong (NLT).
You may not realize it, but conviction is a positive thing. It’s the Holy Spirit letting you know in your heart that your attitude stinks or that you’re on the wrong path. It’s a signal to turn around and go in the right direction.
God loves me if I never change or grow. But I’m not going to be able to glorify Him if I don’t keep changing and growing. And I’m not going to be able to help more people if I don’t keep changing and growing.
An obedient lifestyle is the one and only real true way we can show God we love Him. So, when you feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit, you should celebrate. There are things now that I am seriously convicted about that twenty years ago, I wouldn’t have recognized at all. And that means I’m growing.
We need to learn to celebrate our spiritual victories. It’s great to strive toward a goal and press on, but there are times when we need to just say, “God, I’ve come a long way. I’m going to celebrate!”
Whatever you like, do it with enthusiasm. Give God a shout. Do a dance. Get yourself a pedicure or a cookie or a pair of shoes. Go play a game of golf. Bless somebody else.
In Psalm 18:19 David said, “God is pleased with me.” David wasn’t perfect, but he knew God delighted in him. And God is pleased with you. Not because everything you do is right. It’s because He sees your heart. God is smiling over you.
This article is taken from Joyce's four-part CD series, The Truth About Obedience.