Summary: Deals with the difference between what’s happening to me and what’s happening in me, and victory over circumstances as compared to victory over self.
SERMON TITLE: Real Victory
SERMON TEXT: Philippians 4:11-13
Date: August 8, 2004
Written By: Louis Bartet
11 I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.
12 I know how to get along with humble means.
12 I know how to live in prosperity.
12 I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry.
12 I have learned the secret of having abundance and suffering need.
13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
It’s Wednesday night, time for prayer requests and it goes something like this…
• Please ask God to heal me. My doctor says I have severe emphysema.
• Please pray that God will help us with a financial miracle so we can purchase much needed school supplies and clothes for our children.
• Please agree with me that God will help me get the promotion I’m up for.
• Please pray that I make a good grade on my history exam tomorrow.
I don’t think any of those requests would make the members of a Charismatic/Pentecostal congregation uncomfortable. If there’s any place where we can turn for answers to such needs, it is to God. He can heal
• provide finances for school supplies and clothes,
• help us get the promotion and
• enable us to remember the information we studied in preparation for the history exam.
The issue isn’t a matter of what is said, rather it deals with what is unstated and with what that implies.
In a room of 20 people, we are more likely to hear prayer requests in which someone admits a need for healing or asks for help with a financial need, than we are to hear someone admit a need for help with
• poor eating habits,
• illicit desires or
• poor stewardship?
One category of needs deals with what’s happening to me, while the other deals with what’s happening in me. You can be sure that both categories exist in each of our lives.
It is unlikely that the person making an open appeal for financial assistance, will also make a public confession that their financial problems are the result of poor financial practices. These same people will become and angry if someone suggests that the problem isn’t lack of money but improper money management. Insufficient funds is about what’s happening to me, but poor stewardship is about who I am and I don’t want to talk about my irresponsible behavior or my greed or my poor judgment.
Admitting one’s need for healing or a financial miracle doesn’t deal with who we are. We don’t risk much when we ask people to pray with us about a job promotion or a passing grade on a mid-term exam. Even Christ like people experience physical and financial needs.
Public prayer requests that deal with…
• addiction to pornography or
• poor stewardship or
• alcohol abuse or
• unforgiveness or
• bitterness or
• a violent temper
…expose something about who we are. Admitting that we are struggling with desires for the forbidden makes us vulnerable to being judged and rejected by our hearers. Who wants to risk that?
Public testimonies tend to major on victories over external circumstances to the neglect of much needed victories over our carnal self. We talk about physical healings, financial blessings or positional advancements, but we rarely hear testimonies that reveal the transformation of flawed character.