[Parents, please read this devotion to yourself before reading it aloud to make sure it is appropriate for your family. Devotion written by Matthew Houser, age eighteen at the time of writing.]
I grew up in a home where my Mom and Dad really loved and followed Jesus. We went to church, youth group, Christian concerts, camps, and other activities. Even though we were really busy with Christian things, I was only going through the motions at the time and had never really committed my life to Christ. One day, a neighbor kid invited me over and showed me some things on the computer that we should not have been looking at. I knew deep inside that what we were doing was wrong, but I ignored those feelings.
After that day, I started sneaking around at home, finding ways to keep looking at the things my neighbor showed me. Even though part of me wanted to keep doing what I knew was wrong, it also made me feel unhappy and filled me with guilt and shame. The worst part was when I finally wanted to stop, I couldn’t; I had lost control. I needed help.
One night as I went to bed, I prayed and asked God to free me from this addiction. As I prayed, I felt like I was supposed to tell my Dad about it all. I didn’t really want to tell him because of the embarrassment and shame, but I knew he would be able to help. That was a rough night though. I hardly slept as I tossed and turned thinking about hard it would be to tell my Dad.
When I finally got out of bed the next morning, I found my dad and told him everything that had happened: about my neighbor and how I had been sneaking around since then. He was pretty sad that these things had been happening, but he hugged me and told me how much he loved me and that he wanted to help me get free of this trap.
A few days later, Dad planned a trip for us to do a weekend getaway called Passport to Purity. This is an incredible weekend for parents to take their kids on a trip to talk about purity, peer pressure, and other things that pre-teens and teens face. We had an amazing weekend of great teaching, conversations, prayer, and fun. Dad talked a lot about having a relationship with God, but I still did not fully give my heart to the Lord.
After that weekend, Dad kept helping me on this new journey of purity. I also made new Christian friends and stopped hanging out with people who were influencing me the wrong way. As summer approached, I had the opportunity to go to a camp with my new friends. While I was there, the Lord revealed how much he loved me and I dedicated my life to Jesus and found new life in Him. God freed me from the lying, the addiction, and those selfish desires. Although I have still struggled at times, I have tried to keep walking faithfully with the Lord. My relationship with God has been the thing that has sustained me and helped me walk in victory.
When we give our hearts to the Lord, God changes us, he makes us alive. The Bible says, the old is gone and the new has come. He makes us new! I used to be sad inside when I walked in darkness, but now I am full of God’s joy, walking in the new life of Christ.
1. How did Matthew feel when he was hiding things from his parents?
2. How did Matthew’s dad respond after hearing about all Matthew had been doing?
3. Why is it a good idea to talk to your parents when you have problems?
Have a member of the family who has experienced new life in Christ to give a prayer of thanks for what God has done in their life.
Watch a video for 2 Corinthians 5:17 that tells Matthew’s story, and also his sister Kylie’s, two teens who have experienced what it means to have new life in Christ.