The Apostle Paul - “Give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice - the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:1-2)
Have you ever visited an early learning center? It can be lots of fun watching young children listen to stories, participate in art projects, and interact with others in different learning centers. Often, throughout the day, the teachers will guide the students to tidy up the room by singing “Clean up, clean up, everybody clean up. Clean up, clean up, it’s clean up time.” In the first week of this devotional, we learned that people live natural lives (like those who do not know the Lord), supernatural lives (like those who know the Lord and are led by the Holy Spirit), or unnatural lives (like those who have given their lives to the Lord but who live carnal lives as if they had not). In the second week, we learned that living supernaturally requires us to acknowledge our struggles to the Lord, to others, and to ourselves. In week three, we’re going to explore how living supernaturally requires us to clean up our lives.
When it’s time to clean up our lives, we often have to consider why we hang on to our character defects. Sometimes, we hang on to some because of longevity. We’ve had them for so long that we’ve grown comfortable with them. Sometimes, we keep our character defects because of identity. We’ve had them so long that we identify with them. We wonder, “If I let go of this, will I still be me?” Sometimes, we hang on to our character defects because of productivity - we get payoffs from them. Some of our defects mask our pain, give us excuses for failure, get us attention, enable us to suppress our guilt, or enable us to control and manipulate others. Sometimes we hang on to our character defects because of adversity. This happens when Satan or other people discourage us from addressing and overcoming them. The devil would like nothing better than for us to live defeated, unnatural lives and he will lie, cheat, and steal to move us in that direction.
Jesus said “The devil is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 9:44) Jesus also said, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32) It’s time for us to stop listening to lies, no matter where they originate, and instead listen to the truth. Only then can we clean up our lives. So, everybody clean up. It’s clean up time.
Followup Activity - In your journal or on a piece of paper, make a list of the character defects you see in your own life. Next to each defect, write the reason you believe you are hanging on to it. Then, pray, and ask the Lord to give you direction for dealing with each one. If you are leading your family through this devotion time, lead them through the same exercise and then pray as a family.
Prayer for Today - Lord, You know all my struggles and the cause for each. Help me as I attempt to deal with each through the power of Your Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name, Amen.