How You Live Now Matters: 4 Practical Habits to Begin Now
I have a great fear.
I have tried to sweep it to the back of my mind, but it remains.
I have a fear of falling. Not into a hole, off my bed, or down the stairs.
I’ve heard stories of churched kids gone wild and about mature Christian teens who made a single mistake that altered the course of their lives. I’m scared that I will, too.
What if I end up unmarried and pregnant? What if I get addicted to alcohol or drugs? What if I start cussing and can’t stop?
Here’s the thing: If you try to walk on the right path now, you’re less likely to walk off the right path later.
There are a few things you can do now that will help you later:
1. Listen to older and wiser Christian adults.
“Listen to counsel and accept discipline, that you may be wise the rest of your days” (Proverbs 19:20).
We don’t know everything, and the sooner we realize that, the better off we’ll be.
If you listen to your pastor, Sunday school teachers, parents, and other wise Christian adults who’ve been where you are now, you’ll know what to do when you get in a sticky situation.
Yes, that means paying attention in youth group (even when your friends are goofing off), taking sermon notes (even when you’re tempted to daydream), and listening to advice from your parents (even if it’s hard to appreciate right now).
2. Make good choices now.
You may feel like the decisions you make now won’t make or break you. Choices about where you’re going shopping tomorrow and when you should start studying for your history test may seem trivial, but who you shop or study with is an important choice.
“Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals’” (1 Corinthians 15:33).
In addition, a good indicator of your resistance to sin is if you resist it now…or if you simply give into your fleshly desires.
“And He was saying to them all, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me’” (Luke 9:23).
“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:15-17).
Look at your actions. Study your behavior. What do you do? Why do you do it? What can you do to change?
Saying no to yourself now is good practice for later!
3. Pray for God’s leading and strength to keep Him first.
This is pretty straightforward. Maintain a consistent prayer life and ask God to guide you and help you make good choices. Give your fears and worries to Him.
4. Pay attention to your attitudes.
“Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23).
“For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness” (Mark 7:21-22).
“Therefore, let him who thinks he stands, take heed lest he fall.” (1 Corinthians 10:12).
Chances are, if you don’t mind wearing immodest clothes, you won’t mind getting physical with a guy. If you don’t mind listening to music with swearing, you won’t mind swearing yourself. If you don’t mind stealing someone’s words by plagiarizing, you won’t mind stealing the answers for a test.
Also, ask God to keep your pride in check. It’s easy to think you’re invincible, but always remember that you’re not. You can make a mistake as easily as anyone else.
Define your standards now so you don’t wait until the heat of the moment to make the right choice. (By the way, this doesn’t just apply to physical boundaries in dating. It applies to all areas of life. For example, are you willing to drink alcohol—even in small quantities? Do you want to avoid it completely?)
Your opinion on a subject now isn’t likely to change in five years, unless you ask the Holy Spirit to work in your heart and submit to His leading. If the thought of smoking doesn’t bother you now, it probably will bother you even less later in life because more people around you will be doing it.
Are you noticing a pattern?
What you think, say, and do right now does matter.
Truthfully, I have a fear that I’m going to rebel from my parents and commit a horrible sin that I have to spend years getting over. I’m scared because I don’t know what decisions I’ll make in the future.
But all I can worry about is now. And “now,” according to Ephesians 5:16, is a very important time.
Don’t be naïve about the choices you’re making. They’re leading to your future—whether bright or dark.
Pray that Jesus will direct your steps now and forever.