Today’s Truth

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me (Psalm 51:10 NIV).



Friend to Friend

I had braces on my upper teeth three times. Count them. One. Two. Three.

As the orthodontist explained, “Teeth have a memory. They always want to go back to the way they were.”

As soon as he said those words, I felt convicted. I tend to go back to the way I was.

We all do.

Karen (not her real name) admitted to single-handedly destroying her marriage with passive-aggressive coldness, destructive words, and disrespect of the worst kind. After her husband walked away from the marriage, she had a Holy Spirit moment and realized what she had done. Karen’s heart softened and she vowed never to be that woman again. 

She immersed herself in Bible study and began to pray for her ex-husband even though the marriage was over. Karen took on the beautiful holy glow of a woman who knew she was totally forgiven and completely loved by God. Miraculously, her ex-husband saw the change, and the marriage was restored!

However, after a few years, the destructive behavior began to creep back in.

A word here.

A cold shoulder there.

Retreating into self for weeks at a time.

Ten years after the miraculous restoration, the marriage crashed and burned.

“Teeth have a memory. They always want to go back to the way they were.”

Jesus saw this tendency to fall into old ways when He cleaned out the temple. At the beginning of his ministry, after his first miracle of turning the water into wine at the wedding of Cana, He traveled to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover.

“In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle, he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, ‘Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market.’” (John 2:14-16 NIV)

Three years later, during his last week of life on earth, Jesus came upon the unholy mess again.

“Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. ‘It is written,’ he said to them, ‘My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a den of robbers’” (Matthew 21:12-13 NIV).

How did the corruption happen the second time? I don’t think it happened all at once. After Jesus cleared out the temple initially, I suspect it stayed that way for a time. But one day, a money changer set up his table. Then another brought in a few birds, followed by a couple of sheep, and then here came a cow.

The next thing you know, the temple wasn’t any different than it was before Jesus cleared it out and cleaned it up three years earlier. In three years it had reverted back to an unholy mess.

And God whispers in my ear: “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own” (1 Corinthians 6:19 NIV). 

Sometimes I am that messy temple.

Swept-clean sinful behavior, ungodly thoughts, and jump-off-the-cliff emotions are itching to creep back in at all times. It is up to me (and to you) to keep the temple clean.

Perhaps you’ve had a Holy Spirit moment at some point in your life—a moment that caused you to make a major lifestyle change.

But for the holy moment to maintain momentum, we need to be constantly aware of our tendency to revert…to go back to the way we were.

I am so thankful that Jesus went back to clean out the temple a second time. It lets me know that He will graciously return to my messy self again and again with broom in hand.

I don’t know about you, but I never want to go back to the way I was. If you’re willing to take a few moments and ask God if there is something you’ve allowed to creep back in, join me in praying Psalm 51 in the prayer below. 

Then leave a comment and say, “I’m doing it today!”


Let’s Pray

Father, thank You for never giving up on me. Thank You for convicting me and then cleansing me once I confess.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Now It’s Your Turn

Can you think of any behaviors or habits that you have committed to change in the past, but that have crept back into your life?

If so, today’s task is simple, but not easy. Renew your commitment to clean out the temple once again. Then cooperate with the Holy Spirit to keep your resolve. Remember, God’s mercies are new every morning.


More From the Girlfriends

If there’s one part of the temple we women need to clean out often, it is the mouth and the words we speak! Check out Sharon’s bestselling book, The Power of a Woman’s Words: How the Words You Speak Shape the Lives of Others. It also has a companion Bible study guide.





Sign up for Sharon’s weekly emails and receive a FREE download: Quick Reference Guide—70 Common Lies We Tell Ourselves and the Biblical Truth that Replaces Them





© 2023 by Sharon Jaynes. All rights reserved.

15 Responses to “When You Don’t Want to Go Back to the Way You Were”

  1. Debbi says:

    I’m doing it today!!

  2. Debra says:

    God’s timing is always perfect! I literally just prayed this before opening the devotion today.
    I pray it every day,however, my flesh is weak.
    Praise God that his strength is in my weakness and his mercies are new each morning!🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻
    Thank you for this today!💜

  3. Janet says:

    I’m doing it today!

  4. Carol says:

    I’m doing it today!
    (Psalm 19:14)

  5. Shenae says:

    I am doing it today!!

  6. Jan says:

    Sharon, This is me sitting here full of remorse. My parents marriage was frought with tension. As is child I watched how not to relate. I married a man with similar tendencies to speak harshly and ignore and denigrate. The only way to describe how it makes me feel… is like a weed. I’m the woman who is single handedly working with evil to wreck my marriage. I don’t want to be that woman any more. My husband has great qualities too.,just like my dad did. Just not love and affection encouraging … well the new onset diabetes has turned into a club trying to beat me down. It all seems so much. But God forgives me and is telling me through this devotional not to give up. Funny, I recently told my daughter that an extended rubber band will return to its original state if you let go. Please pray I won’t let go. Thanks for this devotional. Love you all who never hear those words and more importantly… so does God

  7. Betsi Baker Goodman says:

    Thank you for sharing this much needed devotion. I have personally seen & had many “Holy Spirit moment(s) at some point in life—a moment that caused you to make a major lifestyle change” and my life was, I thought, forever changed. And it is hard to stay focused on those life changing moments when unexpected and heartbreaking events occur that cause me to “go back to the way” I was before Jesus showed up. Thank you for reminding me it is normal to immediately feel like going back when painful losses and unexpected and unexplained hurts jump out of nowhere. And also to remember “without Jesus how lost I would be”.

  8. Mardiece says:

    I can remember praying fervently for God to change my husband into the man I wanted him to be. I prayed for years, but God didn’t change him. Instead, he changed me. He created in me a spirit that saw in my husband all the things I fell in love with and ignored the things I had grown to despise. I started acting more loving and understanding toward him. Then you know what happened? He did change. He became more helpful as a response to my attitude. Do I still let those feelings creep in? Yep, sometimes, but I try to remember that God did not put my husband on this earth for my comfort. I am called to put others (especially my husband) before myself. I’m not saying that we should become doormats, by any means. But acknowledging someone’s needs and doing our best to fulfill them, even if it cuts into our own “me” time, is what I think we are called to do.
    Your post reminds me of a song by Reliant K called “Who I Am Hates Who I’ve Been”. Here is the chorus:
    I’m sorry for the person I became
    I’m sorry that it took so long for me to change
    I’m ready to try and never become that way again
    ‘Cause who I am hates who I’ve been
    Who I am hates who I’ve been

    Be well and blessed, my sisters in Christ!

  9. Jedidiah says:

    I’m doing it today!!!. Amen.

  10. cathy says:

    Very timely message for me! I don’t want to go back to the old me which changes our marriage entirely. The reminder was so needed..thank you!

  11. Diane says:

    I’m doing it today!
    In Jesus Name Amen

  12. Cherie says:

    The Lord truly healed me of anxiety that I battled for ten years just thinking I was sick or something was wrong with me from my late teens until I had children. Prayer, the word, and trust got me through some very difficult times . However, lately there have been some very anxious thoughts going through my head as I have been dealing with elderly parents, my oldest chid is getting married, and my other two are still in college. This devotional as been such a great reminder not to allow the same sin back in my life and how subtle it can creep back in as well. However, we have the grace and strength of Christ to renew us each day in order to fight the sin that may so easily entangle.

  13. Mar says:

    I am doing it today. I try everyday to catch myself. Thank you Sharon as always you are awesome!!!

  14. Sheila says:

    I’m doing it today !!!!!!

  15. Melissa says:

    Doing it right this moment!!! Thank you for encouragement and always letting us know we are not alone in our struggles!!! God bless!

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