Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Battle and the Victory!

I am constantly aware in my own life just how hard the world, the flesh and the devil drive at eroding my footing in the Lord.  If not my selfish, never ending thirst for recognition, it is greed to want more or feel like I deserve more.  The battle rages and it is to be expected.  Paul wrote in Galatians 5:17, "The old sinful nature loves to do evil, which is just opposite from what the Holy Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are opposite from what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, and your choices are never free from this conflict." (NLT).  Always remember that the good news is that there is GRACE!

Jesus has given us everything pertaining to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3), this teaches me that He is for us; that He understands the battle that we are in and He will see us through it.  Not only will He see us through it, He will make us stronger, sharper and a warrior that the enemy will fear!  That is what Christ wants to do and be in and through YOU!

In my time with Jesus today, I was lead to read the 118th Psalm.  Here are some of the words that jumped off the page at me and I thought I would share them with you...

"13 You did your best to kill me, O my enemy, but the LORD helped me. 14 The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my victory. 15 Songs of joy and victory are sung in the camp of the godly. The strong right arm of the LORD has done glorious things! 16 The strong right arm of the LORD is raised in triumph. The strong right arm of the LORD has done glorious things! 17 I will not die, but I will live to tell what the LORD has done. 18 The LORD has punished me severely, but he has not handed me over to death."  (NLT)

Allow me to make a few comments about what I saw in this Psalm for me and for us.
1. There is an enemy and He is active in attempting to distract and destroy those who love Jesus (v. 13).  Do not be lulled into thinking this is not happening in subtle or overt ways in your life.  A passive, fearful, apathetic follower of Jesus is just the type of disciple the enemy would want to develop.
2. The Lord is available to help us (v. 13).  The Psalmist recognized the battle and looked to the Lord for strength, not to himself or leaders (check out Ps. 118:8-9).
3. Worship is crucial in our battle against the enemy to help us be focused on the One who has already provided the victory (v. 14).  Worship your King in strong ways privately and corporately.
4. We should tell and sing of the victory of the Lord in our lives.  Everyone loves stories so tell your stories of God's involvement in your life.  This will serve to bring encouragement, strength, truth and stamina to one another as we are engaged in the battle for our attention (v. 15-16).
5. The life you live should be a living commercial for Jesus (v. 17).  We should live to tell of what the Lord has done!  Don't pass this off as simply being nice, although that is good.  People need to hear the truth from your lips.  The truth is how good God has been to you, what He has done for you and what it means to be a follower of Jesus.  Of course it will include the truth that God is good, we have sinned and Jesus came to show us how to live and to pay for our sins by dying on the cross, rising again and providing the only way to life with God through being His follower.
6. God is so interested in you being a strong commercial for His grace that He will use your experiences to train you up, provide you with endurance, wisdom, dependence and courage.  All of this is only developed through His 'severe discipline' (v. 18). 

So as you worship this week privately and corporately, sing songs of victory to the Lord, tell stories of His goodness and grace.  Boast at how the Lord has disciplined you to become stronger for HIs cause of salvation for the whole world.  Encourage each other every day so that we will not lose heart (Galatians 6:9) and so we will not be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin (Hebrews 3:13).  Lastly, be bold and confident that your friends and co-workers and family NEED to hear of the grace of God in your life.  Be the one who provides the most enticing commercial for Jesus that they have seen and heard. 

Jesus is worth our every ounce of strength and focus.  Live large for our King!

Why not leave a short comment on how the King is moving through your life or disciplining you for His glory - it will serve to encourage others to move forward for Jesus!