Category Archives: Charles Stanley

Charles Stanley – The Empowering Emotion of Joy

 

John 15:9-11

Is your life exciting? Or do you, like so many people, find most days routine and tedious? Have dreams become disappointments? If so, you might feel tempted to give up hope. But God promises fulfillment that can’t be found anywhere else.

Joy is a gift from the Lord. It doesn’t depend upon circumstances but rather is found in Jesus’ unchanging character and promises. And that’s exactly where to find true strength and power to endure.

Years ago I found myself being tested on this very point while working on a sermon about joy. A few days earlier, I had baptized a large number of people, and evidently, the repetitive motion had strained my back. There was no pain until midweek, when I tried to lift something heavy. Suddenly, I was dealing with severe backache. Almost immediately, the Lord brought to mind the message I was planning to present a few days later. Even though I complained and desperately wanted to be freed from the pain, I found I could be joyful in the Lord.

Philippians 4:4 tells us always to rejoice in Him. From this command, we know that even in the midst of hardship, we can purposefully choose to live with joy. This choice is possible for believers who are filled with the Holy Spirit and walking obediently (Gal. 5:22-23).

Consider your response to both good and bad times. Does a consistent joy in Christ give you strength? Or do you find emotional relief only in the midst of positive circumstances? Difficulty is inevitable, but God’s truth is able to sustain you. Rely on Him for emotional security.

Bible in One Year: Exodus 10-12

 

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Charles Stanley – How to Set Right Priorities

 

Matthew 6:33

The Scriptures contain many cautionary examples of men and women who had misplaced priorities. Often, these are the otherwise godly people who had a momentary lapse. This should give every believer pause to consider the importance of taking captive detrimental thoughts and desires.

For good purposes or bad, we set priorities in one of three ways: by evaluating which things ought to carry the most importance; by succumbing to pressure and letting people or circumstances dictate how we should prioritize; or by drifting into habits and modes of thinking that become a way of life. Wise believers will certainly want to avoid the drifting option, as this approach accompanies a life that feels meaningless. And priorities ought to be in place before we face trying circumstances and people—in that way, we can be steadfast in our commitment. The only viable choice, then, is to prioritize deliberately. We do so by setting a goal to live in accordance with God’s purpose and plan.

The priorities we choose are determined by what we value. Sometimes, though, prioritizing can be frustrating since there are so many distractions diverting our focus.

If we consider a right relationship with God to be of utmost importance, then we will put first those actions and thoughts that strengthen our connection with Him. We need to be disciplined in following our goals, because living purposefully is rarely easy. However, the good news is that God knows our heart, and He will honor our sincere attempts to put Him first.

Bible in One Year: Exodus 7-9

 

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Charles Stanley – Misplaced Priorities

 

Luke 12:16-21

The Lord’s parable of the foolish wealthy man is a study in misplaced priorities. Modern believers can learn from three mistakes he made: providing for himself, not others; providing for his body, not his spirit; and providing for this life, not the one to come.

There is a penalty for misplaced priorities. This foolish man passed away with no opportunity to enjoy his goods. What’s even worse, he died with a bankrupt soul.

Serving the Lord and His kingdom is the key to setting correct goals. When believers make service for God a main concern, they will use a lens of righteousness to order their priorities. The question we ought to be asking is not “What shall I do?” but rather “Lord, what would You have me do?” The answer—which should be prayerfully sought and biblically evaluated—dictates which things we must put first in order to achieve God’s purpose for us.

Life is not something that simply happens to people. Where we are today is largely determined by the way we prioritized our concerns in previous months and years. This means that we can positively impact our future by organizing our priorities according to biblical guidelines. Then, unlike the foolish man in Jesus’ parable, we will learn the eternal value of providing for others so that our own soul is fed. More than that, we will “store up for [our]selves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal” (Matt. 6:20).

Bible in One Year: Exodus 4-6

 

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Charles Stanley – Test Yourself

 

Hebrews 3:12-19, Hebrews 4:1-2

Many of us love the Bible because it’s filled with words of assurance, promise, and encouragement. However, it also contains warnings that we’d be wise to consider and heed. Like the nation of Israel in the wilderness, the church throughout history has also had some people who were characterized by unbelief.

Jesus said that although many call Him Lord, the proof of salvation is displayed in an obedient life (Matt. 7:13-23). You may have noticed the fruit of salvation—or the lack of it—in your church. Consider the following signs that may indicate a person in need of salvation:

  • They are oftentimes involved in conflict and disunity in the church because they lack the fruit of the Spirit.
  • Sometimes they prefer the spectator role and are reluctant to get involved or make a commitment to a local congregation of believers.
  • If they are serving in the church, they may feel frustrated because they are trying to do the supernatural work of God without the power of His Spirit.
  • They have trouble understanding the Bible but little desire to read it.
  • Because they are resisting the Spirit’s conviction, they are uncomfortable or irritated when the pastor gives an invitation for salvation.

The purpose of God’s warning isn’t to have us judge the salvation of others; rather, He wants us to both examine ourselves and lead people to the truth. The consequences are eternal, so it’s important to do as Scripture says: “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith” (2 Corinthians 13:5). Pray that God will enable you to point others to Jesus—and that He’ll help you to grow ever more Christlike.

Bible in One Year: Exodus 1-3

 

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Charles Stanley – The Path of Life

 

Jeremiah 10:23-24

Life is like an untraveled trail with twists and turns. Appealing activities can become detours that lead to the quicksand of sin. And engaging philosophies may start as small interests but turn into a mire of muddled thinking. Even the best route isn’t always sun-dappled meadows and quiet riverside lanes; we may have to journey over hard terrain or shadowed valleys. The only way to be sure we’re walking correctly is to follow one who knows the way perfectly.

God is the perfect full-service guide. No one can go wrong by keeping to the pathways He selects. Consider that He lovingly and intentionally created you for this time and this place. The Lord watches over your steps because He desires to see your purpose fulfilled and His plan come to fruition through you (Prov. 3:5-6). He has promised to counsel those who follow Him (Psalm 25:12), so when you sense God warning you away from a tempting sidetrack, realize it is because He foresees the dangers that lurk on that road.

There’s a correlation between ignoring the Lord’s guidance and ending up in trouble: The one who stumbles off course has trusted his own “sense of direction”—his emotions, desires, or personal version of morality. He has been pursuing what feels good or looks right instead of seeking the heavenly Father’s will.

God has mapped out the path before you. He is aware of every obstacle and miry pit, and He knows exactly which sidetracks will tempt you. What’s more, He has committed to walk beside you as a guide and comforter so that you never face the twists and turns of this life alone.

Bible in One Year: Genesis 42-45

 

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Charles Stanley – Expectation of Suffering

Philippians 1:27-30

One of the greatest gifts we can give new believers is the knowledge of what they can expect in the Christian life. After receiving the forgiveness of sins and being made new creations in Jesus Christ, they might expect that life will be wonderful from that point forward. And indeed, it is because we have the Holy Spirit and Christ’s peace and joy within us. However, there is also the potential for suffering.

Christ saved us from sin, not from trouble. All the pain, suffering, hardship, and problems in the world originated in the Garden of Eden, with Adam and Eve’s transgression. From then on, mankind has lived in a fallen environment and in personal bondage to sin. Christ set us free from the guilt and penalty of our wrongdoing, but He has not exempted us from the pain and trouble that is common to man.

In fact, once we believe in Christ, an additional area of trouble becomes possible in our life: suffering for Christ’s sake. We’d like to think that everyone around us will be just as excited about Jesus’ offer of salvation as we are. But in reality, there are many opponents to the gospel. At times family members may disparage or reject us and people at work make fun of us. In some areas of the world, believers suffer physical and even fatal persecution.

So what are we to do, and how are we to behave? When the world stands against us, we desperately need the fellowship and encouragement of the church. Together, we conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel, stand firm in one spirit, and strive together for the faith.

Bible in One Year: Genesis 39-41

 

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Charles Stanley – Putting Off Procrastination

 

Acts 24:24-27

Some people like to say they are “born procrastinators.” But according to Scripture, that is not acceptable for believers. Procrastination is a form of bondage in a person’s life, and God, who desires the best for us, didn’t design us to be enslaved.

Procrastination has two genuine causes. The first is “discomfort dodging.” Many people put off taking action because of the related anxious or uncomfortable feelings, as in today’s passage—fearing Paul’s talk about righteousness, self-control, and judgment, Felix sent the apostle away. The second cause for putting things off is self-doubt. If we consider ourselves inadequate to complete a task, we may well choose not to begin it.

In our spiritual life, we sometimes postpone Bible reading and meditating before God because He brings to the surface matters that we need to confront. When those subjects come up, we at times choose to put off dealing with them. Issues like pride, guilt, or self-control may not be comfortable to face, but dodging them obstructs God’s purpose in our life.

If we delay action, we can become preoccupied with the possibility of failure or fear of making a mistake. Then we tend to feel drained of the creativity and energy needed to tackle chores we should be doing. But putting God’s assignments on hold is the same as disobeying Him.

Procrastination is no laughing matter. Are you given to delay? Identify any problem areas in your life—as well as the feelings that accompany them. Then confess your procrastination to the heavenly Father, and rely on His strength to face what needs to be done.

Bible in One Year: Revelation 9-12

 

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Charles Stanley –More Essentials of Meditation

 

Psalm 19:14

We have already explored three fundamentals of effective meditation. Today, let’s round out the list by adding three additional ones. Picking up where we left off yesterday, we will now consider:

  1. Silence. What a struggle this one can be! How often do you sit down to pray and then end up doing all the talking yourself? The prophet Isaiah reminds us that “in quietness and trust is your strength” (Isa. 30:15). However, we’re not often quiet in prayer, are we? Sometimes we go on and on with our petitions but never actually give the Father an opportunity to respond. How can we ever truly know His heart unless we stop and listen to Him in silence?
  2. Self-Control. This simply means admitting to yourself that you need to deal with some things in your life. God is continually refining us and shaping us into the men and women He wants us to be. As we surrender more and more to His will, we need to acknowledge these areas are no longer ours to control.
  3. Submission. Finally, believers must submit to God. All of the prayer and meditation in the world will not make a difference in your life if you have a rebellious spirit. He desires to know you, use you, and mold you according to His best plan for you personally. This cannot happen if you do not intentionally submit to His work in your life.

Meditation can be hard work, but as with exercise, the rewards are well worth the effort. Ask for the Holy Spirit’s help, and make a commitment to start meditating today.

Bible in One Year: Revelation 5-8

 

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Charles Stanley – Basics of Effective Meditation

 

Psalm 46:10

You may wonder, How can I incorporate genuine meditation into my Christian life? I believe that there are several basics of meditating that will reap tremendous benefits in your walk of faith.

  1. Season of time. Do you hurry through your prayer time so that you can get to other things? Think about the model Jesus gave us. Did He ever rush through His prayer time? No, He made communing with the Father His priority, and everything else fell into place around that.
  2. Stillness. We read the call to stillness in Psalm 46:10 (NIV), yet we may wonder, What does it mean to “be still”? Simply put, it means that we stop everything else. This can be difficult for us in this fast-paced, multi-tasking world. We’ve gotten used to doing a dozen things at once! However, true meditation requires that we focus our minds on only one thing: almighty God.
  3. Seclusion. This is something that the Lord really had to fight for in His ministry, as He was constantly surrounded by people. While attending to their needs, He also guarded His need for seclusion. Often in the gospels, we see Jesus retreating for some private, intimate time with the Father. No matter what else was going on, Jesus always made a point to safeguard chunks of time here and there to rest in the Spirit, focus on His relationship with the Father, and build up His strength.

Is your prayer life characterized by time set apart and safeguarded so you can be alone with God and still? Commit today to build these essentials into your day.

Bible in One Year: Revelation 1-4

 

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Charles Stanley – What’s Jesus Doing Now?

 

Hebrews 1:1-3

The New Testament tells us what Jesus did while He was on earth, but what is He doing now that He has ascended to the Father in heaven? His physical absence does not mean that He has abandoned us. Though we cannot presently see Him, His Word assures us that He is always acting on our behalf, to empower, lead, and complete us.

He gives us abundant life (John 10:10). Christ enables us to live with peace and joy as well as the strength and determination to persist in accomplishing whatever He calls us to do.

The Lord makes intercession for us (Rom. 8:34). Jesus hears our every prayer and is seated at His Father’s right hand, presenting our requests to Him.

Christ reveals the Father (Col. 1:15). Through the Son, we understand that God is our loving heavenly Father, who is personally interested in every aspect of our life. Scripture invites us to follow Jesus’ example of ongoing intimate conversation with God.

He’s preparing a place for us (John 14:2-3). One day He will come to take us home to heaven so we can be with Him forever

The Lord Jesus is also preparing for His return (Revelation 11:15). Christ will come back to rule and reign on earth as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

“Out of sight, out of mind” is definitely not a phrase that describes Christ’s relationship with us. He never forgets us and is continually working to complete His plans for believers’ lives as well as for the entire world. His constant care should motivate us to make sure that He’s not out of our sight and mind.

Bible in One Year: 2 John 1, 3 John 1, Jude 1

 

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Charles Stanley – The Powerful Name of Jesus

 

John 16:7-24

The disciples must have felt bewildered when Jesus said it was to their advantage that He leave—for three years He had guided and protected them. The Lord could say this, though, knowing that His Spirit and His name would powerfully guard and direct them until they were reunited in heaven.

In the same way, we’ve been saved and promised heaven, but there is still a long road to walk before we arrive. Yet in the name of Jesus, we have everything we need to complete our course, no matter what obstacles and challenges we face. Just consider the following ways Jesus comes to our aid:

Advocate (1 John 2:1-2). Although we are called to live righteously, there will be occasions when we sin. Jesus is our Advocate, who stands as our defender because His blood continually cleanses us from sin.

Authority (Matt. 28:18). We live under the divine authority of Christ. Nothing touches us without first going through His hands. And He empowers us to do all that He calls us to accomplish.

Assistance (John 16:13-15). Jesus has given us the Holy Spirit as our Helper, who comforts, guides, teaches, and empowers us to live holy, obedient lives.

Answer (John 16:23-24). When we ask in Jesus name—that is, according to what He desires—we will receive answers to our prayers.

Do we realize what an amazing privilege it is to belong to Christ? God’s hand moves at the name of Jesus when we have a holy and pure heart before Him. Therefore, let’s make it our ambition to live in complete dependence on this powerful name. Therefore, let’s make it our ambition to live in complete dependence on this powerful name—not just on Christmas but every day of our life.

Bible in One Year: 1 John 1-5

 

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Charles Stanley – The Destiny of a Name

 

Matthew 1:18-25

Today we generally pick children’s names based on preference. But in Old Testament times Jewish parents chose names according to what they desired that child to become or what was taking place at the time of birth. Names carried a sense of the child’s history or destiny. And this is true of Jesus’ name as well.

God the Father chose the name for His Son and communicated it to Joseph, saying, “You shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21). The name literally means “Jehovah is salvation,” which is exactly what Jesus came to do. His work of salvation can be summed up in four words:

Atonement. Our sins have made us enemies of God, but His Son came to pay our penalty by shedding His blood. As a result, all who believe in Him can receive forgiveness and be reconciled to the Father (Rom. 5:10).

Access. Jesus opened the door so we can have a relationship with the Father and confidently come into His presence, knowing that He hears and loves us (John 14:6; Heb. 4:16).

Adoption. We have been adopted as children of God through Jesus Christ and are heirs with Him (Eph. 1:5; Rom. 8:16-17).

Assurance. Through Jesus, we have been given eternal life, which can never be lost (John 5:24). Our future is secure in His name.

Jesus’ destiny was death on a cross so that ours could be eternal life in glory. Whenever we say or hear His name, our hearts should overflow with love and gratitude for our gracious Savior, who sacrificed Himself to save us.

Bible in One Year: 2 Peter 1-3

 

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Charles Stanley – Jesus: What a Name!

 

Luke 1:26-33

There has never been a birth announcement equal to that of the Lord Jesus. Who else’s birth has been proclaimed by angels—not just once, but three times? First, the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, informing her that she would be the mother of the Son of God, who would sit on the throne of David and rule forever. Next, an angel came to tell Joseph that the child Mary carried was conceived by the Holy Spirit (Matt. 1:18-21). And finally, a host of angels appeared to shepherds, announcing that the Savior had been born (Luke 2:8-14).

Not only that, but God Himself chose the name of this special child. Both Mary and Joseph were instructed to call Him “Jesus.” Although this was a common name in Israel at that time, it took on great significance when given to the Son of God. Philippians 2:9-10 says that “God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name”—and a day will come when everyone bows at the name of Jesus and confesses Him as Lord.

Yet so often today, the precious name of Jesus is used in a derogatory or profane way. When I hear people abuse and misuse His name, my first reaction is to feel angry that He’s not treated with the reverence He deserves. But anger quickly turns to compassion because I realize they do not know Him or understand how much He means to me.

What about you? How do you feel when the name of your Savior is degraded by unaware, unbelieving people? What can you do to help them see the greatness of that name and the one who bears it?

Bible in One Year: 1 Peter 1-5

 

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Charles Stanley – Manifestations of the Teaching Gift

 

Titus 2:7-8

We make effective use of our spiritual gift when we are filled with the Spirit; relying on ourselves will just send us off track. Let’s look at both godly and fleshly manifestations of the teaching gift.

Depending upon human reasoning leads to self-indulgence. But by faithfully absorbing and applying Scripture, a Christian gifted in teaching reaps the fruit of self-control (Gal. 5:23). Through one’s desire to learn, the Spirit develops dependability and diligence, yet unless the believer abides in Christ, he or she can become careless and inconsistent. The fruit of peace and patience grows as studies lead to deeper faith, whereas anxiety and impatience result if the focus shifts to “self.”

For those of us who don’t have this gift, it’s possible to incorrectly perceive the ones who do—we might assume they are overemphasizing their studies or being prideful because of their knowledge. However, the characteristics of the gift of teaching show that the opposite is true. These believers desire accurate, thorough understanding so they can share it with us for our benefit. At times, we might regard people with this ability as boring because of the quantity of information they present. We might even suspect that they rely more on knowledge than on God’s Spirit. And yet it is the Holy Spirit who helps them to learn and to speak. We should realize teachers want us to have enough truth so that we can live God’s way and please Him.

As you exercise your God-given gift, pray for the Spirit’s leading. That is how to have the greatest impact for the kingdom.

Bible in One Year: James 1-5

 

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Charles Stanley – The Gift of Teaching

 

Romans 12:6-8

God has given each believer at least one spiritual gift to build up the body of Christ and to minister in this hurting world. If our gift is prophecy, we’ll proclaim God’s view of right and wrong. If it is service, we will desire to meet others’ needs. The gift of teaching has these characteristics:

Organized. Whether in conversation or in a more formal setting, we will seek to communicate information clearly so the listener can follow. God has wired us to analyze material and present it logically.

Thorough. We want others to understand not simply the conclusion but the steps leading up to it. We also desire to help them think matters through.

Accurate. Our priority is to know the truth, so we ask questions in an attempt to validate the accuracy of what we learn. We will also inquire about the trustworthiness of our source of information.

Studious. We derive great delight from studying and researching and are strongly motivated to share what we learn. Truth is presented not simply to share knowledge but with the goal that God will transform the hearer’s life.

Bible-oriented. With this gift comes a strong desire to know what the Lord has to say. While we may recognize the value of others’ experiences, we are less motivated by personal illustrations than by the actual words of Scripture.

All of the spiritual gifts can be used in the workplace, in our communities, and in our homes. If your gift is teaching, allow the Spirit to direct your ability for God’s glory and others’ gain.

Bible in One Year: Hebrews 12-13

 

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Charles Stanley – Unjust Suffering

 

1 Peter 2:18-25

One of the hardest situations to bear is unjust suffering. We can expect to reap pain and trouble if we sow sin, but what if we haven’t done anything wrong? Even trials that seem to come for no reason are easier to bear than those resulting from someone’s mistreatment of us.

This is what Peter had in mind when he wrote today’s passage. Slaves in the Roman Empire had few rights if any, and abuse wasn’t uncommon. Becoming a Christian didn’t change the circumstances, but it did require a different response. Peter told them to respectfully submit to their masters and endure mistreatment because such a response finds favor with God.

Whoever has been saved by Christ is also called to follow in His footsteps. Although the Lord committed no sin, He suffered death on a cross for us. Jesus not only paid the penalty for our sins, but He also made it possible for us to respond to mistreatment as He did.

Christ’s responses are noteworthy, first because Jesus didn’t revile or threaten those who hurt Him. His silence was fueled by forgiveness rather than anger or thoughts of revenge. Even as He was being nailed to the cross, He prayed, “Father, forgive them” (Luke 23:34). Second, Jesus entrusted Himself to the Father, who judges righteously. The Lord had no need to fight for His rights, because He was doing exactly what God had called Him to do.

Our job is to make sure we’re following Christ and living in God’s will. Then if others mistreat us, we can simply hand the situation over to our Father, knowing that He will judge it rightly in His time.

Bible in One Year: Hebrews 10-11

 

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Charles Stanley – Ministry Friendships

 

Acts 18:1-19

A significant facet of the Christian life is the development of friendships that help both parties fulfill God’s will for their lives. This is the kind of friendship Paul had with Aquila and Priscilla. The relationship, which began from their common Jewish heritage and occupation, soon became a partnership in ministry.

Paul met Aquila and Priscilla when he first arrived in Corinth during his second missionary trip. After teaching and mentoring them for about 18 months, he brought them along on his return trip, leaving them to minister in Ephesus until he returned to help them on his third missionary trip.

Although they all eventually went their own ways in ministry, their friendship—which was founded upon their mutual love for Christ—never ended. A few years later when Paul wrote to the church in Rome, he expressed his gratitude for this couple because they risked their own lives for his and were faithfully serving the church, which met in their home (Rom. 16:3-5). While Paul was sitting in a Roman prison during his last days on earth, he wrote to Timothy in Ephesus, telling him to send his greetings to Priscilla and Aquila (2 Tim. 4:19).

God never intends that Christians live like “lone rangers,” who simply attend church without growing close to one another. Our common bond in Christ draws us together, forming a closeness not found in other associations. Ministry friendships are among the deepest relationships we will ever have. These friends are the ones who always point us back to the Scriptures, challenge us to walk in obedience to Christ, and encourage us to persevere.

Bible in One Year: Hebrews 7-9

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Charles Stanley – A Saving Faith

 

Matthew 7:13-29

The greatest tragedy that can befall someone is to think he’s saved, only to discover after death that he isn’t. We’d all like to believe the claims of those who say they’re Christians, but Jesus gives a harsh warning because He knows many will be deceived. They will sit in churches week after week, professing that Jesus is the Son of God, but won’t ever really enter into a personal relationship with Him.

Intellectual faith isn’t the same as saving faith. It’s not enough to know facts about Jesus or to believe He died and rose again. Even demons believe that (James 2:19). Salvation involves more than mere knowing. It requires trusting that Jesus Christ paid the penalty for your sin, receiving His forgiveness, turning away from old sinful ways, and entering into a relationship with Him. What matters is not what we say with our mouth, but what we believe in our heart.

Although you probably won’t understand all that happens at the moment of salvation, when Christ becomes your Savior, He also becomes your Lord. As the Master of your life, He then has a right to govern what you do. His Holy Spirit takes up residence within you when you are saved, and that means you will change—God’s Spirit continually works to remove sinful attitudes and behaviors, replacing them with His spiritual fruit (Gal. 5:22-23).

We recognize a person’s salvation not by his profession but by fruit. If you are truly saved, your character will become more Christlike over time, and your desire will be to obey the Lord. This does not mean you’ll never sin or stumble, but overall, your life will be characterized by obedience.

Bible in One Year: Hebrews 4-6

 

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Charles Stanley – A Defense Against Temptation

 

1 Corinthians 10:1-13

Experiencing temptation is universal and unavoidable. One cannot hide since there is no environment on earth that is free from its pull. You can never completely eliminate enticement because wherever you run, your flesh goes with you. However, giving in is optional.

The Lord has promised to either provide a way of escape or limit the intensity of the temptation so you can endure it (1 Cor. 10:13). Sometimes that means a literal removal of the enticement as you wisely flee the situation. At other times, the circumstance remains, but God will provide everything you need to bear it without yielding. He is not the source of temptation, but He does allow it for the purpose of maturing and strengthening His children.

Every believer must learn to resist when tempted and to build a defense system for such situations. The way to begin is with self-examination:

What are your areas of weakness? The devil doesn’t use the same approach on everyone. He tailors his traps to fit each individual’s area of vulnerability.

When are you weakest? Satan never plays fair—he attacks when you are down. Just think of the acronym HALT, and be on guard whenever you’re hungry, angry, lonely, or tired.

The greatest defense against temptation is the Word of God. Jesus quoted Scripture to silence Satan’s lies (Matt. 4:1-11). Start each day on your knees: Ask the Lord to build His truth into your life and provide the scriptural ammunition that will allow you to live in victory.

Bible in One Year: Hebrews 1-3

 

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Charles Stanley – Stepping Into Temptation

 

James 1:13-16

Temptation can be defined as an inducement to do evil. Three powerful forces work together to ruin a believer’s character and witness: Satan, the world system, and our own lustful flesh tendencies. Being tempted isn’t a sin, but yielding is. We commonly hear the expression “falling into temptation,” but in reality, we walk into it, one step at a time. Throughout the journey, we have a choice to stop our downward progression into this dangerous territory or to move ahead and suffer the consequences.

The process starts in the mind. While it is impossible to prevent every enticing thought, we can choose how long to hold on to each one. By entertaining an idea, we take another step downward—into the imagination. One of the devil’s greatest deceptions is to convince us that experiencing the pleasures of sin in our fantasies isn’t really that bad. After all, we haven’t actually carried it out.

Satan knows the power of our thoughts. By gaining this foothold, he has seized the greatest motivator of the human will—desire. Those “harmless imaginations” now turn into blazing passions that crave satisfaction. That’s just a step away from uniting the desire with action, at which point all opposition has vanished and we give in to sin.

Resisting temptation becomes harder with each progressive step. Begin the fight early by rejecting tempting thoughts and refusing to dwell on the promised pleasure. Instead, consider sin’s consequences. The cost is always higher than our fleeting enjoyment.

Bible in One Year: Titus 1-3, Philemon 1

 

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