Pride

What is pride?

Pride is the thought, action, and lifestyle that oneself is greater than everyone and everything else.

Ok…..so what’s the problem with it?

Pride is highly displeasing to God. In Proverbs 8: 13 it says, “All who fear the Lord will hate evil. Therefore, I hate pride and arrogance, corruption and perverse speech.” These are the words of the God Almighty. No more proof is needed that God doesn’t like pride…but here’s another. This next example is located in Jeremiah 13:1-17.

God tells Jeremiah to buy a linen loincloth, wear it, and never wash it. So that is exactly what Jeremiah did. Then the Lord told Jeremiah to take the loincloth and hide it amongst the rocks by the Euphrates River. Even though I’m sure it didn’t make sense why God wanted him to do that, Jeremiah did it. After a long time Jeremiah was instructed to dig up the loincloth. When he did that, it was rotting and falling apart. God used this to show how he will rot away the pride of Judah and Jerusalem.

What does God mean by saying he will rot away the Pride of Judah?

Here’s a quick background of Judah and Jerusalem, just to clear things up. These two towns were ignoring God, following their own desires, and living in Prideful ways. This angered God, and he promised to turn all against each other if their prideful actions weren’t stopped. He would turn the king, priests, prophets, parents, and children against each other, and destroy them. God said, “I will not let my pity or compassion keep me from destroying them.”

Jeremiah, knowing what would happen, issued a warning to the people of these towns telling them to give glory to God before it is too late. Acknowledge him before he brings darkness among them, and don’t be arrogant.

How does this story, which happened a long time ago, relate to me?

The issue of Pride hasn’t magically disappeared since bible times. It is still very prominent in our culture, and it still displeases God.

How to overcome Pride?

1 Peter 5:6 tells us, “humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor”

What does it mean to humble oneself under the mighty power of God?

Humbling oneself means to show and know that the world doesn’t revolve around just them. It means confessing to God whenever a sin has been committed, doing something because it is right, not because it looks cool at the moment. Being humble is showing God that you care about him, and want to please him.

What will happen if I humble myself?

Look above and read 1 Peter 5:6 again. God will lift you up in honor. Just imagine that. God brings you up to heaven so that you can spend eternity with him. What other reason to humble oneself do you need?

Anger & Frustration

What is Anger?

We all have dealt with anger and frustration, whether it’s something minor like when someone goes in front of you at lunch, or sometimes it can be more major...

such as becoming angry at ourselves for thinking we aren’t good enough, or can’t do a certain task. As a Christian in school personally I get frustrated when I pray about a situation, about a hurting friend, and God doesn’t seem to listen or do anything to help the situation.Well, he is listening; anger is the strong feeling of displeasure and as we connect this to the Bible we can look at the Israelites. God led them along with Moses out of Egypt into the desert. 40 days went by and the Israelites were frustrated and impatient, eating manna, a type of bread every day! They were angry with God, and truthfully if I were in the desert for that long and didn’t see any signs that God would take me somewhere else or show some hope, I think I’d be angry as well. But, low and behold after that time He did answer prayers and Joshua finally let them into the Promised Land.

What We Can Learn?

"In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Ephesians 4:26 The Israelites built idols and worshiped other gods, and fell into sin while in the desert.

Don’t fall short of the glory of God because you’re frustrated and haven’t seen any outcome. Talk with God or encouraging people instead of acting out on frustration. Pray for God to take over the situation, and don’t let this anger and frustration distract our already busy lives, so we can stand firm and live our lives as dedicated children of the Lord!

Peer Pressure

What is peer pressure?

Peer pressure is the strong urge by people around you to do something that you might not want to do.

It is also the urge to conform to a social norm within a group, and to be like everyone else. Peer pressure is not always a bad thing. We all are influenced by our peers, both negatively and positively. It defines who we are and how we feel about stuff in our lives. But, it is how we chose to react to peer pressure that defines who we are as an individual. We can choose to ignore the bad or we can conform to it, same with the positive peer pressure. These choices are what shape and change our lives and the ones around us.

What is the difference between good and bad peer pressure?

There is a big difference between good and bad peer pressure. The difference is the situation that we are placed in and what we choose to do as a result. Good peer pressure is when the people around you try to get you to do something that is good. For example, they could encourage you to go to church with them or exercise. Good peer pressure usually goes with your morals, and makes you into a better person, meanwhile bad peer pressure is when the people around you encourage you to do things that are against your morals and the beliefs of a society. For example, if someone encourages you to drink and use drugs because it’s the cool thing to do this is considered bad peer pressure. The individual is urging you to do something you know you shouldn’t, and that goes against your morals. As Christians today, we experience pressure to conform to the ways of the world. People urge us to give up our values and just have a small drink because no one will ever know if we do. We must not conform to peer pressure though and instead try to avoid it, because if we compromise our morals once, we will keep on slowly compromising them. So how can we avoid compromising our morals? By not giving in to peer pressure.

What are some ways I can avoid negative peer pressure?

Avoiding negative peer pressure is very challenging. Many people experience pressure which can lead to them giving up some of their values. But there are a few ways that you can avoid the peer pressure. First, you should always stand up for what you believe in. Don’t let anyone or anything change your mind, and don’t let them make you doubt your beliefs. Remain strong in what you know is right. Another way to avoid peer pressure is to avoid situations and people that might have a negative effect on you. For example, if you know people who are known for drinking avoid hanging out with them. Make sure you don’t allow yourself to get in a situation where you feel you need to give in to their negative peer pressure. Take a good friend who has the same morals when you go to hang out with them. This way you have another person who will stand by you and together you can help each other not to drink. But the final and best way to avoid peer pressure is to just say no! It may look fun, but if you know it is wrong you must stand up for what you believe in.

So how do I say no to negative peer pressure?

Peer pressure is hard to say no to as you usually want to just fit in with your friends. But when you know it is wrong you have to stand up for yourself and say no. An easy and common way to say no is to make an excuse. For example, if your friends want you to come for a drink after a football game, you can simply say that you have homework to do and can’t go, or say that your parents won’t allow you to go. Another thing you could do is suggest another idea. Instead of going and drinking like your friends, you could get your friends to go and watch a movie. Explain to them that real friends won’t pressure you into doing something you don’t want to do. Finally, if your friends still want to go and drink you must say no and just walk away. Keep your values, and beliefs the way they are don’t compromise them. Think of the future and how by going along with your friends it could change the way your life is. Is it really worth it?

What are something’s that will help when I am feeling pressured?

When you are feeling pressured to do something just think of the future and if you do the action what affect it will have on your life. Remember what you stand for and your beliefs. Another thing that can help when you are feeling pressured is bible verses. One of the best verses to remember is Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect”. Don’t do as the world wants you to do but what God wants for your life. If you are tempted to do something ask yourself what would Jesus do? Here are a few more references that you can memorize and remember whenever you are tempted to conform to negative peer pressure: 1 Corinthians 10:13, Galatians 1:10, James 1: 12-15, 1 Corinthians 15 : 33. These verses will help you to remember what you believe in and what God wants for your life.

Purity

What is purity?

Purity= being undiluted or unmixed with extraneous material; clearness, brilliance, faultlessness; freedom from sin or guilt.

Being pure is many times associated with being a virgin and although that is a big part, it is not all that Jesus calls us to be pure in. Jesus calls us to be pure in our thoughts, words and actions.

How do live a pure live?

1. The First step of living pure is getting rid of impurities

Impurity= contamination; pollution; immodesty; infection; “worthless or dangerous material that should be removed.” (freedictionary.com)

• Impurities are things in our lives that take away from what God is doing in us. For example if I am trying to witness to someone and am smoking, they are very unlikely to listen to what I have to say about God, because they see me as a hypocrite. Impurities are things that block the world from seeing Jesus in us. Many times they can also block us from getting to where God wants us to be.

• Although these impurities are not always drawn out like “do not kill” or “do not steal” we must make sure we know what impureness is inside of us. If you have trouble finding something specific in the bible about it, ask God and he will explain to you what is in your life that should not be there.

• Once we know what is in us that is unpleasing to God, we must lay those things before him. This means getting in his presence away from life’s distractions and asking God to clean you of any impurity that may exist in your life.

• Matt 5:14 “You are the light of the world” When looking at a light all a person notices is the light coming from the bulb, not the outer casing of the bulb itself. However if the bulb is really dirty or painted a different color it causes the light inside to come across dimmer; causing less attention to be drawn to the light and more toward the bulb.

• Matt 5:16 “…let your light shine before men...” Do not allow these impurities to cover you like a dirty light bulb. It is your choice. God is willing to clean you and use you use to shine his light, are you willing to let go of the impurities in your life? Possibly addictions, lusts, types of clothing, types of language, habits, etc. so that people will no longer be looking at you, but will be looking at Jesus.

To live a pure life you must make the choice to give God every impurity.

2. Keeping a pure heart

James 1:27- “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this… to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

As Christians we are called to be in the world but not of the world. This means that we are supposed to live here, work here and go to school here, but we are not supposed to act as the world does. Jesus said, “They are not of the world any more than I am of the world.” John 17:14. Our lives should reflect that we don’t belong here. Which means we are not supposed to dress as this world dresses (immodestly) or talk as this world talks ( inappropriately), or do the things that this world does ( drugs, gossip, lie). We should not be influenced by the world; the world should be influenced by us! This means to keep from being influenced/polluted by the world, we need to give up some things.

• If there are friends that you have that are not Christians that cause you to do bad things more than you cause them to do good, it is a polluted relationship. God can use you to witness to non-Christian friends, but only if you have grown in him enough that you are pulling your friends to God rather than them pulling you deeper into this world.

• There may be places that you get invited to that hold many temptations. Whether it is a party where there are drugs and alcohol, or a get together where you know there will be gossiping and teasing of others. Many times in the midst of whatever you are tempted by (gossiping, lying, having sex) it is hard to say no to whatever it is. Try to not even put yourself in those places, to avoid a situation you are not ready for yet. One moment of compromise can ruin a whole life of purity.

• You may need to give up seeing the new inappropriate movie that everyone is talking about, or using the new slang/swear word that everyone is saying, or wearing the new immodest style of clothes that everyone wears.

“For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.” 1Thessalonians 4:7 Holy=set apart

A life of purity is a life that is modeled after Jesus

Our purity is not based on what society sees as acceptable, but what God sees as acceptable. He has laid out the perfect picture of a pure life and that is Jesus. Jesus never let any impurities come near him because his mission was not to be loved by the world, but to give the world what they needed. Him. If you desire a pure life then what you need to do is set Jesus as your role model. Not a T.V. star or sports figure, but Jesus himself. Once you put his desires and his will for your life first, the desires you had for the things of this world will fade away and you will see him change you into someone even greater. God will receive all the glory because when people look at you and your new life style all they will see is Jesus!

“You have purified yourselves by obeying the word of truth” 1Peter 1:22

“Don’t let anyone look down on because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity” 1 Timothy 4:12

“If a man cleanses himself from the latter, He will be an instrument of noble purposes, made holy, useful to the master and prepared to do any good work. 2 Timothy 2:21 (Prepared=willing)