Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "We Praise Thee O God"1 (Lyrics)
"Why does it matter? It's not hurting anyone but me."
I once owned a habit about which I thought the above. I could engage in this practice while driving and not kill anyone. And unless someone were sitting in close proximity to me, my habit didn't affect them either. Sure, it was expensive, but my creditors received their dues. I even checked with my conservative father about the ethical nature of my habit. He told me that it was a personal preference. So I kept my practice, until I began teaching a Sunday School class and eventually pastoring a church. Then, my conduct didn't seem to fit anymore.
Conduct matters when living the good life. Paul refers to it as "righteousness": an upright, moral life of right conduct.
Titus 2:12 – And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God. (NLT)
Christ's sacrifice, when accepted, frees us from sin's power and control. What enslaved us before doesn't have to anymore. There is no sin that He can't empower us to overcome, and no unhealthy habit or relationship that He can't enable us to abandon.
Power for right conduct resides in God's Spirit, who dwells in all believers. He's our Sustainer, Comforter, and the One who guides and empowers us toward right conduct. The One residing in us is greater than anything lurking outside us. Proper conduct is essential because of the message it sends to others. Unless we practice what we profess, our witness will falter and eventually sink. Correct conduct also prepares us to meet Christ, whether at His return or at death. Hiding our gifts and talents, while displaying what is better avoided, will draw His rebuke and result in loss of eternal rewards. Is our conduct accurately reflecting who we are in Christ?
Prayer: Almighty God, when our enemy tempts us to conduct that will destroy our testimony for You, strengthen us for victory by the power of Your indwelling Spirit. Amen.