This devotional was originally published on August 12, 2019.
The first day of school is just days away for students all over the country. Long lines can be found at every retailer and barbershop because there is something exciting and special about new beginnings. There is something unique about the first day of a new beginning. The excitement is tangible and noticeable as parents will flood social media with first day photos, and students will sport their fresh cuts, new shoes and new school gear. That being said, students and teachers alike are looking forward to things much more substantive than the surface-level tangibles. There is also excitement about new relationships and new opportunities.
Truth be told, despite all the excitement about the new school year, there is also a great deal of nervousness for many. They put on all the new stuff, but fear that the new year will be the same as the year before. Many students will wrestle with feelings and emotions of defeat before the first bell rings in the new year. Students won’t see in themselves the power and potential that their parents and teachers are able to see. As a result, parents will begin to coach their students to believe that they have what it takes to stand up to the bully, to achieve better grades, to be compassionate toward others, to improve in athletics, to have a great year, etc…. What parents know is that their student has access to everything they need to be successful. The students have what it will take but they simply do not believe it.
As we were working through the final message of our Romans series I was drawn to a particular verse:
So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
— Romans 6:11
What stood out to me is the phrase “you must consider yourselves.” It matters what we think about ourselves! There is power in agreeing with God about sin but it is also powerful to agree with God about holiness. If you have been saved, you have everything you need in Christ Jesus to live a life of holiness. The problem isn’t in what we have received, the problem is in what we have believed. We can rise above the temptation to live in sin. We are no longer slaves to sin, so we are under no obligation to submit to the enemy.
Just like a parent who whispers into the ear of their student, “You have everything you need to crush this school year, to hold your head up high, to overcome challenges that come your way,” we have a heavenly Father who speaks into our souls, “You have everything you need to walk away from sin, to be life-giving in your speech, to honor me with your conduct.” Imagine how powerful our witness would be if we were 100% convinced that in Christ Jesus we have everything we need? We would literally change the world!