The Biebs has been weathering the fallout of some not-so-model-citizen behavior recently.
But he has also been spotted toting a Bible and a journal, and he is speaking very specifically about becoming a man and changing his trajectory. I hope the best for him—don’t you?
Oh, and he also has released new music—and so far it looks like it is going to burn up the charts. His most popular single is
What Do You Mean? While the following is not in any way an “endorsement” of the song, I want to challenge you to consider the question the song poses:
What do you mean?
Ohh, ohh, ohh.
What do you mean?
Better make up your mind.
What do you mean?
—from What Do You Mean? by Justin Bieber
I think most of us have already used the question “what do you mean?” as a way to dodge the same question when it is asked of us. For example:
After thinking she was insulted, Christina asks Brian, “What do you mean?”
Brian then coolly replies, “What do you mean, what do I mean?”
She then looks at him with utter frustration and walks away.
And in the song, it sounds like Justin Bieber is about to walk away from Selena Gomez an unknown female as he grows more and more aggravated by her confusing behavior.
But it’s occurred to me that God might be asking this same question of me when I send Him mixed signals as a result of my attitudes and behaviors? For example—
I tell Jesus that I love Him, then I act as if He isn’t even there.
I ask Jesus for forgiveness, then I hold a grudge against people who hurt me.
I proclaim Jesus as Lord, then I let dozens of things become my objects of worship.
I promise Jesus that I would die for Him, then I deny Him through my words and works.
And of course He forgives me and loves me unconditionally, but I sometimes I wonder if in the back of God’s infinite and eternal mind, He is asking, “What do you mean?”
It’s interesting, because over 2000 years before there was Justin, there was the Apostle Paul. He wrote a fantastic “what do you mean?” letter to a group of Christians who were struggling in their commitment to Jesus:
Here’s my instruction: walk in the Spirit, and let the Spirit bring order to your life. If you do, you will never give in to your selfish and sinful cravings. For everything the flesh desires goes against the Spirit, and everything the Spirit desires goes against the flesh. There is a constant battle raging between them that prevents you from doing the good you want to do. But when you are led by the Spirit, you are no longer subject to the law (Galatians 5:16-18, The Voice).
Paul recognized the fact that all of us nod our heads “yes” to God, but we really wanna say “no”—right? But that can’t be an excuse for continually and perpetually wavering in our walk with Christ.
So what’s the solution? Paul clearly says here that we need to “walk in the Spirit” and “let the Spirit bring order to your life.”
To “walk in the Spirit” means that you are wholly committed to letting the Holy Spirit direct your life. What it really comes down to each day is that you make a choice between letting “the flesh” or the Spirit control you. If you take a neutral stance and just go with the flow, unfortunately that “flow” will go straight into a sewer of a life!
Isn’t it great that we have a choice, though? Each morning we can wake up with a breath of fresh air and a prayer that offers up our lives to the Holy Spirit to lead and direct us. We can say “here I am” with arms wide open, and when we do, we can embrace all the good things that Jesus has in store for our lives.
The next time you sense God asking you “what do you mean?” take a moment to stop, ask forgiveness, and be filled anew with the Holy Spirit’s power and path for your life.
Then you can confidently say—
“What do I mean? I mean to serve You and You alone God!”
Flashpoint: Ignite Into Action
This week, start each day with a prayer of dedication and ask the Holy Spirit to guide and direct you. You may well be amazed at the difference it makes!
Accelerant: Fuel for THE Cause
Pray: Dear Father, forgive me for charging through life like I’m in control. I want to know more of You and learn to walk in the power of Your Holy Spirit. Please fill me with your Spirit and help me boldly share Your gospel message with those around me who don’t know You personally. I want to live for You and through You. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Read: Romans 7:25. Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.
Get: Youth Group 2 Go: The Holy Spirit’s P.A.C.T. Youth Leaders! Check out this excellent, downloadable youth group lesson that explores who the Holy Spirit is and what He does in the lives of believers.
Discussion Guide for Leaders
Want to use this Soul Fuel as a bible study with your students this week? Copy and text them the following: “Receiving mixed signals from some of your friends? Are you maybe giving mixed signals to others? Check out this week’s devo on living by the Spirit: http://hubs.ly/H01k3cK0”
Big Idea: We need to be led by the Spirit and not give in to the flesh.
Key Scripture: Galatians 5:16-18
- What is your opinion of Justin Bieber?
- Do you think God asks us “What do you mean?”
- How can you be led by the Spirit?
- What other ways could you apply this Soul Fuel to THE Cause?