Victory -- Are you living in VICTORY OR DEFEAT?
God's purpose for your life is victory, abundance, and fruitfulness. There are too many scriptures to list which highlight the victory we have in Christ Jesus. Jesus has overcome, so we too can overcome the world! (John 16:33) 1 Corinthians summarizes our spiritual victory, "But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (15:57) Abundance, as well, is central to Jesus' good news for us. Jesus offered us abundance, saying "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." Fruitfulness is the natural outcome of walking with Jesus and tapping into His supernatural source of life. Jesus said in John 15:5, ""I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing".
Temptation, Trail, or Trouble -- What is standing in the way of your victorious life?
There are many things which can stand in the way of God's purpose or promise for your life, but it is important to remember that God is not the source of your temptation. In Jesus' model pray, we are taught to pray, "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." (Matthew 6:13). James makes clear that no one can say "I am being tempted by God" (James 1:13), because God tempts no one. In other words, God may lead you into trouble, but he is not the source of your trouble and he is walking with you to lead you through trouble and into victory! For without a test, there is no testimony!
Three things come to mind which can stand in the way of God's purpose or promise for your life. They are . . . (1) an unrepentant sinful lifestyle (Romans 2:5), (2) a lack of faith in God's promises (Hebrews 11:6), and (3) and unwillingness to obey God's Word (John 14:15). It's important to remember that God has a purpose for temptation in your life. In fact, life is one big journey of temptation! Today, I will choose belief or unbelief; I will choose obedience or disobedience. But God's intention is that we grow spiritually and walk in victory through every temptation, trial, or trouble!
The Holy Spirit leads us into temptation -- Are you willing to face life's troubles with the Holy Spirit?
After Jesus was baptized, he began his public ministry. Soon he would preach and teach with an amazing anointing (Luke 4). He would heal the sick, open the blind eye, and raise the dead. Eventually he would volunteer his life on the cross for the sins of the world and then he would rise again victorious over death and the powers of hell (1 Corinthians 15:50-57). And yet, Jesus was led into the wilderness by the Holy spirit to be tempted (Luke 4:1-11). Jesus would be tempted.
You have to wonder why, right?! Why was Jesus tempted? Why am I tempted?
1) We are tempted, so that Father God would be glorified by our victory over Satan. God is not the author of evil, nor does he tempted us. But he will lead us into trail, temptation, or trouble so that we can give God the glory for our victory! Just as Jesus was led into temptation by the Holy Spirit to glorify God in victory, so too can we glorify God by overcoming temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13).
2) We are tempted, so we can be tested! In many places the Bible speaks of a "refiner's fire". Take a look at Zechariah 13:9, 1 Peter 1:7, and 1 Corinthians 3:12-15. John the Baptist even said of Jesus, "e will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." (Luke 3:16) Although God is not the author of temptation, he uses temptation in our lives like a fire to test our faith, our obedience, and our love for Him!
3) We are tempted, so that we can learn to rely on the Holy Spirit and the Word! When Jesus was tempted, we read that he was "full of the Holy Spirit" and "led by the Spirit" (Luke 4:1). Jesus yielded to the Spirit's direction and travelled into the dessert for 40 days to be tested! He could have resisted, but he yielded. From Jesus' example, we also learn of the importance of relying on God's word! With every temptation, Jesus turned to the written word of God to overcome the evil one and win the victory!
Temptation, trial, and trouble is a part of life and God has a purpose for the test! "But take heart!" John 16:33 tells us that Jesus has already overcome. Because Jesus overcame, my victory is on its way! If your life is like mine, it is filled with ups and downs, good and bad. But, we should never loose sight of the spiritual victory we have in Christ Jesus--That spiritual victory can impact every area of your life!
I'll leave you with a Bible verse which God spoke to me just the other day, "Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God." (Psalm 43:5) Live in victory, not defeat!