The wicked man borrows and does not repay, but the righteous one is gracious and giving. – Psalm 37:21 (HCSB)
How do you handle your money? Are you always asking others for money to go to the movies? Or are you someone who is looking for opportunities to give?
This Bible verse really shows us how much better it is to be a person who gives. Giving to your church and to others is a great habit to get into while you’re young. Many people put off giving thinking that they will give when they’re making more money. The problem with that thinking is that it doesn’t matter how much money you make. You’re always going to find something else to do with it. If you can’t find a way to give when you have a little, you’ll never give when you have a lot.
Today’s Truth: When you make giving a habit, you’ll always find you have enough to do the things you want to do
Giving is always worth it in the long run. You’ll find that God will really bless you as you give into your church and the lives of others. So don’t give into the lie that tells you if you give you won’t have enough. That is not the case. When you make giving a habit, you’ll find you’ll always have enough to do the things you want to do.
I remember a time when my parents asked me to not watch a certain movie. I didn’t listen to them, and instead snuck into the theater with a friend to see it, telling my parents I was seeing a different movie. Afterward, I felt bad. I knew I had lied to my parents and watched a movie that wasn’t good for me to see.
You’ve probably messed up like that too. Maybe you’ve lied, or done the wrong thing. As Christians, we should be moving toward maturity in our walk with God through repentance. But here’s the question: what does that look like?
Most of the time, it looks like wanting to do whatever the Holy Spirit or the Bible shows us. Back to the example of sneaking into the movie. Let’s say that before I snuck into the movie, I didn’t know how wrong my actions were. After sneaking into the movie, the Holy Spirit revealed to me that I shouldn’t be doing that and I should be telling the truth to my parents.
If I repented, that would mean that I changed my thinking and my actions to line up with what God says about an issue. So for me, repentance would look like me stopping lying to my parents and sneaking into movies they told me not to watch. I should change my actions as a result of my repentance.
It’s okay not to know something is wrong. But once you do, you should desire to change and move into maturity as a believer. That’s what a true follower of Jesus looks like. As He shows you things in your life to change, you should love Him and want to change to be more like Him.
Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, – Hebrews 6:1 (NIV)
So today, challenge yourself to do what this verse says. Decide to repent and change your actions and thoughts as your knowledge of God’s word grows. God loves you and wants you to grow into maturity in Him!
The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in those who tell the truth. – Proverbs 12:22
Telling the truth is pretty easy when it doesn’t really matter. If someone at school asks you if you went shopping this weekend, telling the truth is easy. Regardless of your answer, it doesn’t really matter.
However, if your mom asks you something and the answer would get you in trouble, telling the truth becomes a lot harder. It would be easier to stretch the truth or change what happened a bit to make yourself look good and avoid trouble.
Telling the truth takes courage
Telling the truth in moments like those takes courage on your part. It’s not easy telling the truth when it costs you or gets you in trouble. (Learn more)
Being a person of character means telling the truth regardless of the consequences. It takes work to put aside what’s easy and would feel good at the moment to do what’s right in the long run.
God rewards character and those who seek after Him, so challenge yourself to be a person full of character. When you do, you can watch and see God do great things through you.
Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens a friend’s character. – Proverbs 27:17 (ISV)
Friendships are an awesome part of life. There’s nothing better than laughing with a good friend and having those really deep conversations with them. The friendships you have can be a source of fun and joy. However, friendships can be a lot more than just staying up late talking or laughing until you cry.
Friendships can challenge you. They can help shape your character and make you better. Today’s Bible verse talks about how a friend can sharpen another friend’s character. That’s what a great friendship can do, it can sharpen your character.
In school, I had a friend who challenged me daily in my walk with God. This friend pushed me to read more of the Bible and her character helped inspire me to work on weak areas in my own life. Friendships like these shouldn’t be taken for granted. These friendships have been placed in your life for your enjoyment and to challenge you to become the person God has called you to be.
Better to be patient than powerful; better to have self-control than to conquer a city. – Proverbs 16:32 (NLT)
We often put a lot of emphasis on what we do. If we get good grades or make the winning shot at basketball then we’re a success. And while getting good grades and doing well at sports is really great, they are not all there is to life. Success in life is more than just what you do. It’s also things like having self-control and being patient. Do you have the self-control to say no to peer pressure? Are you patient when things get tough in your life?
Often, the difficult times in our lives help us develop character. When things are going good, it’s easy to thank God and be happy. When things are hard and you don’t know if you can go on, that’s when your character is shown. What do you do when you’ve got more homework than time to complete it? What do you do when you’re pressured by your friends to do ungodly things? Who you are and what you do in those situations show off the habits you’ve developed in your life up to this point.
So instead of getting upset by difficulty, try to look at it in a positive light. Difficult situations can be a time for you to grow and practice patience and self-control. Decide to let difficulty make you better. Choose to work on the habits and attitudes of your heart and grow closer to God during these times.
If we’re honest, most of us would like to avoid tests and trials in life. No one likes going through hard times. However, this Bible verse shows us something really great about the tests of life. It tells us that those tests produce endurance in our lives.
Many times, athletes will undergo endurance training to help them become better in the sport they play. They train their bodies and their minds to withstand for long periods of time. This produces results like overall feeling better and having more energy.
Knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. – James 1:3
In the same way, we can grow in endurance training spiritually too. Each difficulty in our life gives us another chance to trust in God and each test can help make us better. If we let them, the tests and trials in life can be a way for us to learn to trust God in new ways, and to learn and grow in endurance. So the next time you’re faced with a test in life, you can be encouraged by what this Bible verse says. Realize that even though the trials can be hard, that they’re producing character in your life and if you let them, these trials can bring you to rely more fully on God.
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I keep running hard toward the finish line to get the prize that is mine because God has called me through Christ Jesus to life up there in heaven. – Phil 3:14 (ERV)
I ran long distances for my track team at school. One of the hardest things to do in a track meet was to keep running when I started getting tired. Many times, I just wanted to fall to the side of the track and stop. However, I learned though that when I started getting tired, I needed to hang in there and just keep running. There was a reward for finishing for my team if I would just not quit.
This is true in life too. Many times things get hard and we are wired to want to quit. However, when we quit we often miss out. There is power in finishing the things we start. It’s easy to start something, but sometimes it’s finishing that shows character.
God has called you to something. Today, determine to work hard to finish what God has called you to do. Don’t be a person that starts only, but keep working hard, and see what God has called you to do to the finish.
Intelligent people think about what needs to be done here and now. Fools are always dreaming about faraway places – Proverbs 17:24 (ERV)
How many times have you spent hours wishing you were somewhere else. I used to always wish that I was done with high school and out of my parent’s house. I just felt that I wanted freedom and I wanted to get on with my life. However, this verse tells us that dreaming about things like that makes us a fool. To spend time thinking and wishing you were somewhere else is not productive. If you spend all your time unhappy because of where you are in life and never do anything about it, nothing will change.
Instead of spending all your time wishing you were somewhere else doing something else, choose to do what the first part of this verse says. Choose to focus on what can be done now. Think about things you can be doing now to make a difference or to help someone else out. If you spend your time doing this, then you are intelligent.
As this verse says, taking action and planning right where you are now is always more powerful than dreaming of wanting to be somewhere else. Your purpose is not fulfilled just longing for a better place to be. Instead, choose to see the opportunities right in front of you and begin making plans and taking action. You’ll be glad you did. [Tweet “Choose to see the opportunities right in front of you and begin making plans and taking action.”]
It can be really easy to begin to compromise. Many times, you don’t even realize that you’ve compromised in an area. Compromises can happen in big areas of your life, but they also happen in the smaller ones too.
Usually, compromise happens in small things. You wouldn’t probably go out and kill someone because that would be really WRONG. But you might tell a lie or cheat on your homework. It’s easy to justify small compromises.
If left unchecked, small compromises will eventually lead you down a path that you never intended.
Those small compromises can easily grow and before you realize it, you’re compromising in bigger areas too. Do you tell a lie to look better to others? Perhaps you decide to go to a party that you know your parents wouldn’t approve of. Do you date that guy in math class that is really cute, but who you know isn’t a good influence? Each day these small decisions that you make set the tone and direction for your life.
Those small choices have gotten you to where you are at so far. Do you like the person you’ve become? Do you make godly choices even in the small things? Have you begun to compromise your beliefs?
The good news is that if you have been compromising, Jesus offers us forgiveness and a fresh start. You can stop compromising and begin living a life full of character.
But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from everything we’ve done wrong. – 1 Jn 1:9 (CEB)
You Can Choose to Not Compromise
He’s ready to pick you up and help you get started on the right track. You can choose to make good decisions every day. Even though it isn’t always easy to choose to not compromise what you believe, you will be really glad that you made the choice to follow God and not compromise…even in the smallest areas!
One of the best ways to break free from compromise is to spend more time with God. Instead of watching Netflix until late at night, switch that for some Bible time. If you don’t like to read, watch a Biblically solid preacher on YouTube or listen to Bible verses being read to you.
To break free from compromise you’ve got to really get into God.
“If you love me, obey my commandments. – John 14:15 (NLT)
It’s so much easier to stay free from compromise when you’re into God. If you really seek God, you’ll find that you don’t want to compromise. You find that you just want to get to know God more.
[Tweet “The more you get to know God, the less you want to compromise! – @studentdevos”]
The more you get into God, the less fun the compromise is. So if you’ve struggled with compromise, determine to make changes in your life. Choose to take a look at the books you’ve been reading, the friends you’ve been hanging out with, and the things you’ve been watching. Ask God to show you what to say no to so that you can say yes to Him!
I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me. – Proverbs 8:7 (NIV)
Youth Group Discussion Questions
If this devotion has challenged you to ditch compromise and walk into the plan God has for your life, grab some friends or your youth group and do a study on compromise. We’ve got some discussion questions already made up. Just print them off and show up and see what God does in your group!
We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. – Hebrews 6:12
A lot of the time we focus on the importance of faith and forget how much patience plays a role in obtaining the promises of God. We need faith because that’s what calls the promises of God into being. However, patience is what will keep you going when you haven’t seen the promise yet.
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The importance of patience is often overlooked. Patience is what kept Sarah going after she had a promise from God that said she would be a mother. And then year after year, she hadn’t conceived a child. Sarah had to be patient until she received the promise God gave her.
God has given us all promises. And yet we often want to give up on the promises of God when trials come. We think it would be easier to give up than to endure. However, you only learn from the trials you endure. Patience is what keeps us going in the middle, between the promise of God and seeing that promise come to pass in our lives.
So today, remember to practice patience. It isn’t easy waiting on the promises God gave you, but remember that God is faithful. If He’s given you a promise He will bring it to pass in your life. You’ve got to just be patient until you see the promise come to pass in your life.