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Hello everyone! What are some of your favorite things to do on Sabbath? I like to watch nature shows, listen to music, and read! :)

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Self-destruction?




by Jeremy Anderson



Self-destruction sounds like a negative thought. You don’t want to die, or destruct, you want to live and prosper. I get it. For Christians self-destruction isn’t a bad thing; it’s actually a good thing. For us Christians, young and old, self-destruction means to die of self. This is the telltale sign of a true disciple of Christ. Jesus told His disciples in Luke 9:23, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me” (NIV).1 Christ knew that in order for us, as Christians, to be truly effective and live within His Spirit, our selves had to die. That’s the evil, natural side we all have within us, the side we’re born with. Unfortunately we, as Christians, can be self-centered, self-righteous, and have a lack of self-sacrifice and self-discipline.

It is important not to be self-righteous. The definition of self-righteousness is being convinced of one’s own righteousness. Many people in the church today are very self-righteous, yet we all fall short of the glory of God. “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away” (Isaiah 64:6, NIV). Here the prophet Isaiah is telling us that all of our righteous acts aren’t good enough. Nothing but the grace of God can cover up our sins. Look at what David said about God’s righteousness in Psalm 71:19: “Your righteousness, God, reaches to the heavens, you who have done great things. Who is like you, God?” (NIV).

Now, should we, as young Christians, strive for righteousness? Yes! But in order for us to one day reach that goal we have to die of self! When “self” gets in the way of our self-image, our tendency is to believe that we are actually better than we are in truth. Paul warns us about this: “Don’t think you are better than you really are” (Romans 12:3, NLT).2 What we need today is more people loving, and less people judging. I never understood why we, as young Christians, have so much confidence in our own righteousness. Why do we look down our noses at other people and judge them as less worthy or acceptable in God’s eyes? The problem is that we’ve been in the church all our lives, but some of us have never really been in Jesus! We’ve accepted Christ’s love in our hearts. We embrace the rules of religion more that the miracle in our relationship with God. That’s right, miracle! It’s a miracle that God still wants to have a relationship with us, in spite of our imperfections.

I love the New Testament story of the woman caught in adultery (see John 8:1-11) because the grace that was extended to this woman by Jesus is a lesson to us all. The Pharisees brought the woman to Christ in front of the whole village. Then they asked Him if they should stone her to death according to the laws of Moses. He posed a seemingly simple solution to them by stating, “Let those of you without sin take your best shot.” Once the crowd dispersed, Jesus kindly asked the woman, “Where are your accusers?”

If you’re the one always being accused about your past, do not be afraid to turn to Jesus with a broken and repentant heart. Today He is waiting to tell you that He does not condemn you; you just need to get into a real relationship with Him and not return to your sins. Conversely, if you’re the one pointing the finger, with rocks in your hand, ready to stone others with your words or looks, I am asking you to consider your position carefully. Are you without sin? One key way to self-destruct is to know that your righteousness isn’t found in yourself—it’s found in God.

1 Scripture quotations credited to NIV are from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
2 Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Jeremy Anderson is the author of five published books and has a passion for youth and young adults. He’s also had the privilege of traveling internationally, speaking on behalf of God. Jeremy, his wife, Traci, and their daughter live happily in Madison, Alabama. You can learn more about him at www.jeremyanderson.org.
 





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