Lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and . . . put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
–Ephesians 4:22, 24
If you want to put on righteousness and make obedience a part of your life, perform what I call an “obedience inventory.” Evangelist Charles Finney once said, “The man who is convicted of one sin is convicted of all. But the man who is convicted of all sins is convicted of none.” What Finney was saying is if we are really going to make a change in our life, we need to get specific. The key to lasting change in your life is what the Bible calls repentance. That word “repentance” means having a change of mind that leads to a change of direction. It means saying, “I have been walking this way for so long, and it is not leading to any place good. I do not want to keep going down this road. I want to start walking back to God.” That is what repentance is. It is the key to lasting change in your life.
But the key to repentance is specificity. As we saw in our study of Nehemiah earlier this year, Ezra the priest led the Israelites in Jerusalem to repentance and spiritual revival. He understood that if there was going to be a change in his own heart and the hearts of his people that he had to lead them to repentance. But when he prayed on behalf of the people in Nehemiah 10, he did not pray, “Lord, forgive us. We have sinned. Help us to do better. In Jesus’s name, amen.” Instead, he outlined the specific ways the people had sinned against God–they had allowed their children to marry unbelievers; they were failing to keep the Sabbath worship; they were failing to give their tithes and offerings to the Lord. After confessing exactly how they had violated God’s Word, Ezra mentioned three specific actions he and the people would take in order to start walking in a new direction.
If you are really serious about experiencing the benefits of obedience, do not just resolve to try and do better, or you will end up right back where you started. Instead, I encourage you to perform what I call an “obedience inventory.” Consider these six areas of your life: your family, your finances, your spiritual life, your work, your health, and your friendships. Sometime this week when you and the Lord are alone together, ask the Lord to reveal to you the answer to this question: “Lord, what is one thing You would like me to start doing or stop doing in each of these areas of my life?” You might be thinking, “Pastor, there are so many things I ought to start doing or stop doing. I am overwhelmed by all the things I need to change in my life.” Remember what Finney said? “The man who is convicted of all sins is convicted of none.” The road to lasting change starts with taking one step, doing the first thing you know you need to do. That is the way to cultivate the habit of obedience.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Power Of A Habit” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2011.
Charles Finney, as quoted in J. Oswald Sanders, “Spiritual Manpower” (Chicago: Moody, 1965), 145.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org;