Summary: Part 5 in the series "Victory In Jesus." If you want to win your inner showdown with sin, you must aim to win. Avoid negative influences. Initiate service to others. Make up your mind to be holy.
AIM TO WIN
Victory In Jesus – Part 5
October 24, 2004
In the old days of the Wild West when two people got into a heated fight about something they sometimes had duels. Picture in your mind’s eye two dusty cowboys walking towards each other down main street. It is high noon. They face each other from about a distance of ten paces. The streets are lined by curious onlookers waiting to see which of the men will be quicker on the draw while those with more sense are taking cover and shutting up there businesses.
Then without out warning one man quickly draws his gun from its holster. He has the other man dead to rights as he fires off a round. But he misses. After the shock of having a bullet narrowly blow by his head the other man carefully takes aim and send the first cowboy to meet his maker.
The man who won the duel wasn’t the man who was quickest, but the one who knew how to aim. You see it doesn’t matter how fast you fire off your shot, if you don’t know how to aim you are going to lose.
Today I want to talk to you about another kind of duel. I want to talk to you about a showdown for your soul. This is a duel that I am sure every one of you has experienced in your life. Paul talked about it in Romans chapter seven when he wrote these words:
“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do…For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing.” (Romans 7:15,18-19)
He also talks about this inner spiritual duel in the passage we will be focusing on today: Galatians 5.
17For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.
He is talking about the inner spiritual duel that takes place in the soul of the believer between your old sinful nature and the Holy Spirit. When you become a Christian God forgives you for all the sins that you have committed and he puts his Holy Spirit in you to give you new desires. The problem is that your old sinful nature isn’t too happy about the fact that there is a new sheriff in town and so rather than going away peacefully it puts up a fight. The result is that you have dueling natures within you.
I thing that everyone here knows what it is like to have a holy ambition. You have the desire to accomplish something good with your life. You want to change your world for the glory of God. Or you want to reach the lost in your family or community for Jesus. You want to be a spiritual leader in your church. You want to be a godly husband or wife. You want to raise your kids to grow up and serve the Lord. I am sure that you all have desires along these lines.
On the other hand you find that there are equally strong desires that battle against all of these good things. The desire to serve others is tempered by the desire to serve yourself. The desire to give sacrificially to missions is countered by the desire for the big screen TV or whatever extravagant toy you are interested in at the moment. The desire to accomplish something for the glory of God is offset by the desire to build a monument to yourself.
That is the inner spiritual duel. We find that we have a variety of differing desires. And all too often those desire are diametrically opposed to each other. Like wanting to be thin and wanting to eat pizza and ice cream all day. It just doesn’t work that way.
The real problem is that this duel goes far beyond what you choose to eat. It affects every single area of your life. It affects your marriage, your career, your kids, your church life – it affects it all.
We have been talking for the last several weeks about how we are saved by faith in Jesus Christ. We have been learning that we are saved by grace and not by our good works. But what does that mean? Does being saved by grace mean that I can sin with total abandon? No! It means that I can totally abandon sin! It doesn’t mean that we can be free to sin, but free from sin.