Q: I'm really scared because I'm due to get out of jail in a couple of months, and I know I don't have what it takes to stay out of trouble. I know I'll just end up here again, like I have before. Please pray for me. — S.J.
A: It may surprise you to learn that you've already taken the first step toward a new life by admitting you're weak and need help. The person who's in the greatest danger is the one who thinks he or she is strong enough and doesn't need help from anyone, including God.
Now, take the next step by actually turning to God, telling him that you know you're weak and need his help. God wants to come into your life and forgive your sins — and he will, as you ask Christ to take over your life. Only one thing separates us from God, and that is our sin This is true for every one of us, no matter who we are. But when Jesus died on the cross, all your sins and your guilt were placed on him, and he died in your place. The Bible says, "This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins" (1 John 4:10).
But God not only takes away our sins when we come to him; he also comes to live within us by his holy spirit. Think of it: God actually lives within you once you commit your life to Jesus! And when temptations come, he is ready to help you.
How will he help you? One way will be by surrounding you with other Christians to support you. Don't fight your battles alone, but fight them with Christ and his people.
Q: I resent my Christian "friends" who think they're superior to me and have the right to tell me how to run my life. I'm free to do anything I want to, as long as I'm not hurting anyone. — C.C.
A: No one likes a proud, arrogant person who thinks he's better than everyone else and therefore has the right to tell everyone how to live. God has promised, "I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty" (Isaiah 13:11).
But has it ever occurred to you that the Christians you refer to may actually be your real friends, even if you don't see them that way? They are genuinely concerned about you; in fact, they're so concerned that they're willing to risk your scorn to try to help you. They know you're on a wrong road in life that eventually will only bring you disaster, and they don't want that to happen to you because they love you and care about you. I often quote the Bible's warning: "There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death" (Proverbs 16:25).
You see, you are missing an important truth: Even if you don't think you're hurting anyone else by your actions, you'll still end up hurting yourself. You can't live as if there were no rules and get by with it; eventually it'll catch up with you.
The irony is that while you're offended by what you see as pride in others, you're blind to your own pride — a pride so intense that it makes you think you don't need God. But you do, and my prayer is that you'll face your need of Christ and turn to him in repentance and faith. Your life will never be the same.
(Send your queries to "My Answer," c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Assn., 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; call 1-(877) 2-GRAHAM, or visit http://www.billygraham.org.)