Substance and Other Body Abuses
February 6, 2021
Dave and Lisa are brother and sister; so are Kate and Chris. Both sets of young people lost a parent when they were in middle school.
They became step-siblings as teenagers when Kate and Chris’s mother married Dave and Lisa’s dad. Everything was fine the first couple of weeks; then everyone started fighting about everything. To keep the peace, their parents allowed them to each have their own computers in their rooms. Lisa, Kate, and Chris had lots of other activities to keep them busy, so they didn’t spend much time on the computer.
Dave was different. He withdrew in his basement room with his headphones on so he couldn’t hear anything. Many times he missed dinner with the family because his siblings thought he wasn’t there when he didn’t respond to them pounding on the door. When he went to college, the computer was his only friend. He stayed in his dorm room for hours playing games online with strangers. He bought lots of soda to drink and had food delivered to his room so he wouldn’t have to interrupt his 20- to 30-hour game-playing sessions. He missed many of his classes, and when his family called, he was short with them. Looking back, he says, “I was too busy and didn’t want to be interrupted. I just wanted to go back to my game.”
After he almost flunked out of school, Dave realized that he had been wasting his life. He quit playing so often and got a real life that involved real people.—From the Washington Post Magazine, Sunday, July 13, 2003.
How are you spending your time? Are you filling your spare moments with wholesome activities? What are your priorities? Living with purpose is a God-given privilege. We can decide how we spend the time we have in this life. The way we spend our precious moments now will have an impact on our future. We can choose to fill our time with positive relationships, activities, and events that will add quality to our lives. Most important, we have the awesome privilege to live for Jesus, investing our energies, time, dreams, and plans into the lifework God has for us. When we invite Jesus into our lives, He will guide our decisions, refine our characters, and help us live life to the fullest to His glory.
Memory Text: “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:8).
Our Beliefs, no. 5, The Holy Spirit: “He [The Holy Spirit] draws and convicts human beings; and those who respond He renews and transforms into the image of God. Sent by the Father and the Son to be always with His children, He extends spiritual gifts to the church, empowers it to bear witness to Christ, and in harmony with the Scriptures leads it into all truth.”
Ellen G. White, Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, pp. 116-119.
Read 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.
Suppose that your friends ask you to meet them after school because they have something to tell you. When you arrive, they are in the middle of a conversation. Soon you realize that they are gossiping about some of your school mates and making very negative remarks about them that bother you. How can you take a stand against such injustice? How can you let them know that conversations that destroy someone else’s reputation are also harmful and damaging to their own character? What can you do to be friendly to those students that your friends talked about and include them in your circle of friends?
Read John 14:16-18, 26.
Jesus has promised to be with us—to never leave us. He has sent the Holy Spirit to guide and help us live our lives in accordance with God’s plan for us. We don’t have to fend for ourselves; the Holy Spirit will help us “flee” from the devil. Just as Jesus did in the wilderness of temptation, the Holy Spirit will bring to mind “It is written,” so we will know how to answer, and help us to stand for right.
“When Christ took human nature upon Him, He bound humanity to Himself by a tie of love that can never be broken by any power save the choice of man himself” (Ellen G. White, Steps to Christ, p. 72).
How can we stand firm for God when Satan uses friends to blur the lines between right and wrong?
Read 1 Corinthians 10:31; 1 Corinthians 12:7-11
Perhaps you have heard someone say, “I don’t use tobacco, alcohol, and drugs. So what does it matter if I spend all my free time watching TV, surfing the Internet, playing video games, or participating in other activities I enjoy?”
The answer is that as agents of the kingdom, we are not our own. We and all that we are and have— including our time—belong to God. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t have down time to enjoy ourselves. What it does mean is that we shouldn’t spend so much time on an activity that crowds out time and energy from serving others and building our relationship with God.
As agents of the kingdom, we are called to be ready at all times. It’s like being soldiers in a war. We always have to be on the alert, because we never know when or how our enemy will approach us. A lot of activities, even if they aren’t bad in themselves, distract from our mission in life, which is to serve God and other people. So we have to stay plugged in to God’s spirit so that we’ll recognize the enemy, be prepared for the enemy, and ultimately defeat the enemy through the power of the Holy Spirit.
“The only safeguard against evil is the indwelling of Christ in the heart through faith in His righteousness” (Ellen G. White, Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 118).
Match the text with the correct phrase. The Bible passages are taken from the New King James Version.
1. “. . . or whatever you do . . .”
2. “. . . He dwells with you and will be in you . . . “
3. “. . . glorify God in your body and in your spirit . . .”
4. “. . . He will teach you all things . . .”
5. “. . . prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
6. “. . . the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit . . .”
7. “. . . Draw near to God and He will draw near to you . . .”
A. John 14:16-18
B. Romans 5:5
C. 1 Corinthians 10:31
D. Romans 12:2
E. James 4:7, 8
F. 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20
G. John 14:26
Read Romans 12:2.
Review the memory text.
This can be the best and the worst time of your life. It can be the best because you are young and energetic and have your whole life ahead of you. At this point you can choose to be whoever and do whatever you want to. It can be the worst time if you make bad choices, because decisions you make now can affect you for the rest of your life.
God invites you at this time in your life to choose Him, and He will be with you in your entire decision-making process. Also, if you have done something wrong and you regret it, He is there ready to forgive you. He may not reverse the consequences of your unfortunate decision, but He will help you do the right thing next time. He will never leave you or abandon you.
Read James 4:7, 8.
Practice makes perfect. One of the best ways to avoid destructive behavior is to practice ahead of time what you will say if confronted with a temptation to do the wrong thing. Following are some situations. Write down or role-play with a friend how you would respond to the following challenges.
1. A friend invites you to the mall to go shopping with her. You know you have an exam tomorrow, and if you go shopping you will not have sufficient time to prepare for your exam. You remember that you don’t really have money for shopping with your friend because you are saving your money for a special project. What do you say?
2. You are at your cousin’s house. He has opened a bottle of alcohol. He offers to pour some into your soda bottle. “Just a little bit won’t hurt,” he says. How do you respond? How can you help your cousin in a Christian manner to understand the harmful effects of alcohol consumption?
3. You have lots of homework and chores, but you are invited to play a video game. Your parents won’t be home for several more hours. What stories from the Bible could help you resist the temptation to play with your friends? What would Jesus do?