Summary: GOD IS FOR US IN THE BATTLE
HANGING ON PART II: FACING YOUR DEMONS
NOVEMBER 16, 2003
INTRODUCTION: During a Monday night football game between the Chicago Bears and the New York Giants, one of the announcers observed that Walter Payton, the Bears’ running back, had accumulated over nine miles in career rushing yardage. The other announcer remarked, "Yeah, and that’s with somebody knocking him down every 4.6 yards!" Walter Payton, the most successful running back ever, knows that everyone --even the very best-- gets knocked down. The key to success is to get up and run again just as hard.
Jeff Quandt, Irving Wallace, Book of Lists, 1980.
Young William Wilberforce was discouraged one night in the early 1790s after another defeat in his 10-year battle against the slave trade in England. Tired and frustrated, he opened his Bible and began to leaf through it. A small piece of paper fell out and fluttered to the floor. It was a letter written by John Wesley shortly before his death. Wilberforce read it again: "Unless the divine power has raised you up... I see not how you can go through your glorious enterprise in opposing that (abominable practice of slavery), which is the scandal of religion, of England, and of human nature. Unless God has raised you up for this very thing, you will be worn out by the opposition of men and devils. But if God be for you, who can be against you? Are all of them together stronger than God? Oh, be not weary of well-doing. Go on in the name of God, and in the power of His might."
Daily Bread, June 16, 1989.
TRANSITION THOUGHT: Our football thought for the day and this little shred of Wesleyan History points us to a great truth. The enemy of our soul wants to knock us down and cause us to give up on the great work of God and of His Kingdom. We all experience great battles in this life and this truth is never the issue. The issue is what will you do when you face your demon. If you are knocked down, will you get up again? I have always heard it is not how you start, but how you finish! The sad reality is that we often start well, but somewhere along the way, we loose steam and give up. If you want the enemy of your soul to dance and rejoice, give up before the victory is won. And if you do, you will never know the great thing God was going to do through you and great blessing you would have been to others.
THESIS SENTENCE: GOD IS FOR US IN THE BATTLE
I. FACING YOUR DEMONS IS KNOWING YOU HAVE ONE VV. 31
A. Knowing you have one is knowing the enemy of our souls
1. Your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Remember his scheme is to devour you (I Peter 5:8).
2. He wants to get you to do what is sinful, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning (I John 3:8).
3. He wants to lead the whole earth astray (Revelation 12:9).
4. You see, we have an enemy! Do you remember who the enemy is?
B. Knowing you have one is knowing our weakest link
1. Do you know your weak link? Do know the one place the devil picks on in your life? Are you aware he knows how to get to you?
2. For me, my biggest weakest link is fear of those around me dying. This may sound normal to some and strange to others. When I was in college the devil constantly used this one on me and it worked to his favor. I would become overwhelmed with fear that someone was going to die and it would consume my thoughts. 3. Each one of us has a place where the devil can work if we let him. If I had succumbed to this fear, do you think I would let my wife go to work each day, or my kids to school, or my wife on a mission trip? I refuse to allow the devil hold on my life, but it is only through the power of the Holy Spirit that I can release this fear. 4. Our first scripture for the day reveals what this looks like in the Apostle Peter’s life. He had a fear of failing others. Think about his life. Who was the one who wanted to be in front? Who was the one who always had the right answers? Who was the one who promised they would never forsake Jesus even if it meant prison or death?
5. Maybe I am out on a limb here, but I really believe Peter voiced his fear in his bold statement. I have often heard that we talk about our fears by speaking in absolutes. The old adage is NEVER SAY NEVER!