Summary: Are you struggling with day to day life?
Before we read the Word this evening, I want to ask you all a question. Whenever you recieved first Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, what instructions were you given? How did you understand the basic principle of a christian life? We looked at some things this morning that define christians, but I would like to look at the way that we can become that very definition of Christ followers....
When I first accepted Christ, I was a young boy...maybe 12 or so. I thought I knew the basics...don’t drink, don’t smoke, and don’t cuss. The way I understood this new christian life was summed up in these 3 things also; Be good...obey God’s Word.....and live a Godly life. Now, that’s good advice, isn’t it? Now, if only it were as easy to do as it was to say!
It wasn’t long before I realized that I could NOT do this on my own. There were times whenever I just felt so powerless against Satan and his devices that I wanted to quit...and eventually I did quit. I’m sure that Satan was very happy....til I came back, anyway! Don’t you ever wonder sometimes how you can learn to really stand fast in your faith? How can I really "trust God" to make all His promises availible for me? Do all things really work together for good for those that love Him?
One of the things I noticed is that whenever we are faced with temptation, we must have a mental mindset NOT to yield. In the past, when something came up I might have said "oh no...here we go again". Now I realize that I was expending a lot of my energy trying to resist the enemy with my own strength. After all, James 4:7 says Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. I was finding it easier said than done, and you may be too. Then I took a closer look at that passage. Let’s read it all together...
James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. That first part, the part we don’t always recall...that’s it! Eureka! So then, we need to understand HOW to submit ourselves to God so that we can truly resist the Devil and make him flee. Satan is a srong, unyielding adversary, and if we do not understand the power that we have in Christ, we are doomed for defeat...and an attitude of defeat.
You ever hear christians say things like "well, life’s a struggle; I’m just doing the best I can" or "I’m just trying to make it, Preach’a"...."I’m only human". Listen, you do not have to live like that! You are not the one that is defeated, it is Satan! He’s under your feet, so you need to start acting like it! Sometimes we have that defeatist attitude for so long that we don’t even realize what we’re doing or saying.
God has a plan for each and every one of our lives, and His plan does not include you struggling thru each circumstance, barely getting by each and every day. He came so that you and I might have not just life, but life more abundant! Victorious! Be of good cheer; He has overcome this world and the things in it! And you can too! Well, how, preach’a? Glad you asked.
A lot of christians today mistakenly think that they can experience all God’s blessings and yet not fully commit their lives to Him. Not 60% or 80%...not even 99.9%, but 100% is what God expects out of us! Simply coming to church isn’t enough; even paying your tithes isn’t enough, and certainly being a christian in name only isn’t enough. A quick, short prayer before bed time, good works...those are good things, but that isn’t what God wants from you. And by the way, if that is the type of christian you are, then you will never be able to know the true peace of God in your life. God wants, expects, and yes, demands a close personal relationship with Him.
Jesus said in John 15 that none of can do anything without Him! we are utterly helpless without Him. Living in the power of the Holy Spirit is not something any of us can achieve on our own. It is a gift and privilege that God gives us so that we can live in the blessing and not the curse.
JOHN 14:15"If you love me, you will obey what I command. 16And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— 17the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.