There was a time in my life when I used to be pretty loose with foul language and four letter words. At home I was able to keep a lid on it (most of the time), but at work, I was a completely different person. I’m not proud of it now and I wasn’t really proud of it then. But as crude and vulgar as I was, I truly did not want to be known as the guy with the foul and filthy mouth. But that sort of became my reputation. The problem was, I couldn’t stop. I resolved many times to control the language that came out of my mouth and to get rid of that awful habit. I said to myself more times than I can count, “This is the day it stops! This is the day I get it under control. This is the day the cussing, the crude remarks, and the vulgar jokes and comments stop coming out of my mouth!” And I failed every time. More often than not, I couldn’t even make it to the end of the day. Scratch that. I usually didn’t make it to lunch time.
I didn’t understand it then, but I was trying to impose my own will. I was trying by my own strength and through my own power to overcome that awful habit. As I’ve come to learn since then, none of us have that kind of strength. It wasn’t until I dedicated my life to Christ and came under conviction by the Holy Spirit that I was finally able to clean up the filth that came out of my mouth. It was that, plus the desire to live a God honoring life.
That’s not to say I haven’t slipped a time or two. None of us are immune to the stress and pressures of daily life. The Apostle Paul, who was as blessed and full of the Holy Spirit as any Christian can be, had his share of struggles. He wrote about it in his letter to the Romans where he said, “For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.” We don’t know what Paul struggled with. However, that passage is a reminder of how difficult it can be at times to live the life God desires for His children, even when Christ lives in us. So yes, we will all slip occasionally. But when you walk with Christ and have the Holy Spirit living inside you, you’re given the knowledge and wisdom to identify any behaviors, attitudes, or habits that are undesirable to God. We were given a defense mechanism called a conscience that the Holy Spirit uses to bring us under conviction. And God gives us the power to break free from behavior and habits that displease Him. He gives the strength to resist temptation. I know all of this because I lived it. I tried to clean up my act by doing things my way and my way failed. I did not have the power or the strength to change my ways, not on my own.
Therefore, anyone who says they can change anything about themselves any time they so desire is fooling no one but themselves. We cannot rid ourselves of the sin in our lives by our own strength. We cannot change by imposing our own will. Jesus said to Peter, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”
Jesus strengthened Simon Peter through prayer and the good news is, our Lord Jesus is praying for us. The Word tells us in 1 John chapter 2, “My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous.”
When Jesus is praying for you my friends, that becomes the source of your strength. And for a child of God, it’s all the strength any of us will ever need!!