- Galatians 5:16-18 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For 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. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
- James 1:13-15 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
- To accomplish any lasting victory in our lives we must always deal with root issues (good root, good fruit). Read Matthew 3:7-12.
GAINING VICTORY OVER OUR OWN SIN – James 1:12-15
1. The three areas of spiritual warfare from James 4:1-7 are: the flesh (our old, sinful nature), the world and the demonic.
The world and the demonic really do not have authority in us when we are victorious over our old, flesh nature! Many of God’s people spend too much time rebuking the devil when we need to learn to have victory over our own sin nature.
2. Sin is the result of our the flesh. Sin is the flesh IN ACTION. (Galatians 5:17-21)
A definition of “flesh” is the self-centered distortion of the human nature which makes us want to be our own god. It is that proud ego, that uncircumcised self which is the seat of willful defiance and rebellion against authority. (Ray Stedman)
3. All our temptations and sin are the result of what is ALREADY in our heart. We must understand that we sin because of our choice to do so.
James 1:13-15 “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire (the flesh) he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”
NOTE: One of the greatest challenges in gaining victory over our own sin is the inability to forgive ourselves. Jesus’ blood shed for us was MORE than enough to forgive and cleanse ALL of our sin! But we have difficulty in forgiving ourselves for various reasons.
LEARNING TO RECEIVE FORGIVENESS – 1 John 1:1-10
1. Be CONVINCED that Christ’s blood forgives ALL sin!
Psalm 103:1-5, 8-14; Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:12-14; 1 John 1:7-9
2. Learn how to walk in forgiveness from 1 John.
Never pretend to be sinless.
State the sin specifically to God and agree with God about the sin (“Confess” is homologeo, meaning to agree with).
Be expressive in thanking God and walk in the light of God’s Word and in fellowship with Him and others. Don’t isolate!
3. Deal with all SMALL sins.
Understand the “little foxes” principle from Song of Solomon 2:15.
Psalm 19:13-14 “Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression.”
4. Be AGGRESSIVE in dealing with your thought life or the carnal nature.
2 Corinthians 10:4-5 “…We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
5. Force the steps above into a life HABIT!
1 Timothy 4:15 “Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all.”
THE KEY TO REAL CHANGE
Romans 12:1-2 “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
1. We begin by offering our bodies as living sacrifices to His purposes. Live for Him in spite of shortcomings! This changes the direction of our life (Acts 2:37-41).
2. We are not to be CONFORMED to the pattern of this world. This literally means to not be connected to the fashion, behavior and priorities of this world. We must determine not to be shaped by the world and its system of thought and behavior. (1 John 2:15-17
3. Then we are to be TRANSFORMED by the renewing of our thinking. This is the same word used of Jesus’ transfiguration on the Mount in Matthew 17:1-3; Mark 9:2-3 and means to change from an earthly to a supernatural (spiritual) way of thinking. We must train our thought life to think the way God thinks – to love what He loves and hate what He hates. Our perception of reality must be based upon the Word of God.
Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart;…
The following areas are NOT intended to condemn (Romans 8:1) but to guide us through an honest evaluation and cleansing. Confess each area God reveals with the willingness to make it right or forsake it. Then praise God for His forgiveness and His ability through the power of the Holy Spirit.
1. God’s Word – Psalm 119:97, 140
- Do I love to read and meditate on God’s Word?
- Do I apply what I read to everyday life?
2. Holy Spirit control – Galatians 5:22-25; Ephesians 5:18-21
- Do I ask to be filled with the Holy Spirit each day?
- Am I sensitive to the Spirit’s voice and do I allow Him to lead and control me?
3. First Love – Philippians 1:21-23; Revelation 2:4-5
- Is Jesus Christ still the most important Person in my life?
- Does my schedule, spending, etc. reveal that God is first in my life?
4. Prayer – 1 Timothy 2:1-2
- Am I faithful to a consistent life of prayer?
- Is my prayer life filled with joy and intimacy with the Father?
5. Submission – 1 Samuel 15:22; Hebrews 13:17
- Do I obey God?
- Do I genuinely obey human authorities that God has placed over my life?
6. Humility – Psalm 51:17; Isaiah 57:15; Luke 14:7-11
- Am I quick to admit I am wrong?
- Am I willing to take the “lower place”?
7. A pure heart – Matthew 5:8; 2 Corinthians 7:10; 1 John 1:9
- Do I keep “short accounts” with God and do I search my heart for issues that displease Him?
- Is repentance (a change of thinking accompanied with action) a part of my everyday life?
8. Moral purity – Matthew 5:27-30; 2 Corinthians 10:3; Ephesians 5:3-5
- Do I aggressively keep my mind free from immoral fantasizing?
- Am I accountable to someone?
9. Priorities – Matthew 6:33; Colossians 3:12-14
- Do I love what God loves and hate what He hates?
- Do I seek to do His Will each day?
10. Finances – Proverbs 19:17; Malachi 3:10-12
- Do I Tithe the first portion of my earnings to God?
- Am I a generous person?
11. Forgiveness – Acts 24:16; Colossians 3:12-14; Hebrews 12:14-15
- Am I willing to release offenses and be reconciled to God and the person with whom I am offended?
- Do I stop slander and not allow a destructive spirit of unforgiveness to divide my church?
12. Evangelism – Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8
- Do I have a burden for people who do not know Christ?
- How am I reaching the lost with the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ?
THE KEY TO SPIRITUAL VICTORY THROUGH GOD’S WORD
Read Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13 and 2 Corinthians 10:4-6
The following section is designed to help us build strong convictions, the firm foundation against a life of continual defeat.
1. When the threats and lies come from our enemy we are to tear down that thought or fear as we read in 2 Corinthians 10:4-6. This “tearing down” is, in reality, placing God’s Word against and over the lies of the enemy and our own thoughts, fears, anger, etc.
2. An example is Jesus’ victory over the devil in the wilderness in Matthew 4:1-11 & Luke 4:1-13. The Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness area between Jericho & Jerusalem. After a 40-day fast, when Jesus was physically at His weakest, Satan came to tempt Him. Jesus’ only resource was the Word of God (Scripture). He doesn’t quote it as a “magical formula” but as a principle upon which He basis His actions. (Key)
3. The ultimate purpose of demonic attack, using our flesh nature, is to pull us away from a victorious relationship with God to an existence of depending upon our sin nature, weakness and daily defeat. Learn to do this EVERY TIME and do not allow fear and condemnation a place for very long! In time this will become a part of our natural behavior.
CONVICTIONS: FOUNDATIONAL STRENGTH FOR CHARACTER
Daniel 1:8 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank;… (Also Daniel 3:16-18)
1. We are only as strong as our conviction or determination to serve God whole-heartedly!
2. A CONVICTION is a Biblical principle we determine to follow, NO MATTER WHAT.
- Daniel 3:16-18 The Hebrew men determined not to bow, whether or not God delivered them from the fiery furnace!
- Joshua 24:15, 25-28 “But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
3. A PREFERENCE changes with the situation when a conviction is not convenient. It is not seen in daily living. We may talk it but do not live it.
4. Many of our weaknesses are simply the ABSENCE of Godly convictions. Spiritual strength is seen in those who have trained themselves to be resolute. In Hebrews 11:32-39, we see that the examples in the Bible of men and women who through faith triumphed and accomplished great things were people of strong convictions who would not flinch in the face of adversity or ridicule.
5. Consistent practice of Biblically based convictions develops us to be strong in challenging times.
CONVICTIONS BASED ON GOD’S WORD
1. Jesus Christ is Lord over every area of my life, and I am to build my goals around His priorities. (Deuteronomy 6:5; Matthew 6:10; Ephesians 1:22-23; Colossians1:18)
2. The entire Bible is the inspired Word of God and the final authority for life. (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21)
3. I am a member of the body of Christ and I must not forsake the assembling together of God’s people. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
4. I am a witness to others of the things God has done in my life and I am to make disciples of all nations as Jesus has commanded us. (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8)
5. Because my life begins with my thoughts, my thoughts must be set on the things of God. (Proverbs 4:23; Matthew 12:34-35; Colossians 3:1-8)
6. My actions must never weaken the scriptural convictions or understanding of another Christian. (Romans 14:19-21)
7. My body is the living temple of God and must not be defiled by the lusts (sinful behavior) of the world. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
8. My finances and resources are a trust from God and must be managed according to Biblical principles. (Malachi 3:10-12; Luke 16:11)
9. My marriage is a lifelong commitment to God and to my marriage partner. (Genesis 2:24; Mark 10:9; Ephesians 5:22-23)
10. My children belong to God, and it is my responsibility to impart to them Biblical principles and Godly character. (Deuteronomy 6:6-7; Ephesians 6:4; Proverbs 22:6)
Write down other convictions you have that are based upon God’s Word. Believe God, in the Power of the Holy Spirit, to make those a very real part of everyday life!