Ever since I was little my parents have been at work teaching me right from wrong. I have grown accustom to telling the difference between the two, and then staying away from evil. One of the verses helping me with this task is
1 Thessalonians 5:22
"Abstain from all appearance of evil."
My parents have encouraged me to stay away from bad influences, meaning it could be a person or even a song. They have taught me, if it doesn't line up with God's Word, you don't need it nor would you want it. I have been striving to live by God's Word.
I stayed away from people, music, TV Shows, websites, books, even thoughts that might influence me in ways that would not please my Savior. I have to say that it was hard and I did slip up at times, but God was always there to help me back up and get me back on the straight and narrow road.
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."
I have learned by watching my parents and personal experience that we are being sanctified continually. We will fail...BUT when we do, we repent.
We have been listening to David Platt's Radical and he explains repentance very well.
Repentance is not just stopping and asking for forgiveness, it is a God heart that causes us to stop walking one way and turn to run the opposite.
We become repulsed by our sin.
David Platt also refers to the verse "If anyone would come after me let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." -Matthew 16:24
What comes to your mind when you hear the word Cross? You think about Jesus, Him coming to save us, the Resurrection, redemption, love, peace, and everlasting life, right? But Jesus is talking about something very different here.
Do you know what the cross meant in Bible times? It meant humiliation, torture, suffering, struggle, saying good bye to your family, and DEATH. Basically if you were wondering what a modern day cross would be, David Platt again gives us a great example:
"Take up your ELECTRIC CHAIR and follow..."
But Jesus doesn't stop there, He says you have to take it WITH you. You must take up your cross. Did that sound comforting? Didn't think so. He says you have to die EVERY SINGLE DAY to follow Him. We have to die of our self, of our desires, of our family, of our wealth, of everything. We must be ready to give everything up at a moments notice.
I started reading the book Do Hard Things
(which I highly recommend to ANY Young Adult), and realized,
Is Staying away from the very appearance of evil enough?
If you wanted to stay absent, yes. But I wanted (and still do) to impact other people's lives, not just my own. I want to change the WORLD!! I want God to be glorified in my every action and my every word. And you cannot just do that by just staying away from those evil things...
You have to DO HARD THINGS!!
I am not saying to do "Big Hard Things" right away, you can do things in your own home!!! Some of the things you can do are:
Help your brother and/or sister with one of their chores,
Mow the lawn without being asked,
Help one of your siblings with their homework,
Cook a meal for your family or a neighbor,
Offer to help someone put their groceries in their car
Make and give lunches to the homeless.
Share the gospel with your neighbor
Share the gospel with your neighbor
Some Bigger Things you can do:
Volunteer at a local shelter or food bank,
Start a fundraiser for a good cause,
Go on a mission trip,
Get involved in an event for your local church,
Start a Bible study,
Minister to people at an abortion clinic.
But do all of these things with a mindset of binging God ALL the glory. He deserves it and SO much more. We should give Him ALL that we can. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says this: "So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."
We cannot do any good thing outside of God we need to pray that He would give us a heart of repentance. That He would give us the desire to die and a heart to radically follow Him.
My mom posted a quote from one of our favorite pastors
Galations 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." " The God of the universe wrapped Himself in flesh, died on a cross...nailed MY sin there too, was placed in the grave and rose from the dead on the third day...ascended to the right hand of the Father and is there making intercession for me until such time as my salvation is completed and He takes me home....that's all I got." -Voddie Baucham
Some links that I encourage you to go to: