"Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses." (1 Timothy 6:12)
We have been talking about developing a fighting faith. Our sanctification is a work of the Holy Spirit through our faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus accepts us the way that we are, but through our relationship with Him, He will change us into what we have been called to be. The Christian has been saved by the grace of God through His faith in Jesus Christ. "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God." (Ephesians 2:8) We are justified by our faith in Jesus Christ as we stand in His Righteousness. "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." (Romans 5:1) By our faith in Jesus Christ the Holy Spirit works His transforming power within to transform us from who we were to who we have been called to become. "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come." (2 Corinthians 5:17) The Holy Spirit’s transforming power is what we experience through our faith in Jesus Christ. "The things that are impossible with people are possible with God." (Luke 18:27) Rather than us trying to accomplish that which is pleasing and acceptable to God, we submit and accept the power of God within to complete that work. "For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus." (Philippians 1:6)
Overcoming the spiritual forces that oppose us can be frustrating if we do not let go and let God do His work from the inside out. If we claim to have faith in Jesus, if we claim to follow Him in faith, if we have committed our lives to His care, then we should talk to Him about the trials that we are facing. In a world filled with lawlessness, we should "pray without ceasing." (1 Thessalonians 5:17) Fervently ask the Father to increase the work of His Spirit within you and to break the power of sin over your life. I often pray this prayer, "Immediately the boy's father cried out and said, "I do believe; help my unbelief." (Mark 9:24) We believe but do we live each day as those who believe.
The Apostle Paul tells us that we are to self-examine ourselves to see our progress, to know where we are falling short, and to continually strive to live in an honorable, righteous way to the glory of God. "Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you--unless indeed you fail the test?" (2 Corinthians 13:5) Are we truly walking in the faith, are we trusting the promises of God more than our way of doing things? We need to ask ourselves do we desire more of Jesus, our Master. What in our life causes us to disobey His commandments? Do we believe without doubt?
Our sins have been forgiven through Jesus. (1 John 1:9) We have joy and satisfaction by knowing Jesus as our personal savior. (1 Peter 1:8) The trails we face in our life will strengthen our faith which will bring even more joy in knowing Jesus. (2 Corinthians 4:17-18) Our obedience to His commandments will bring more joy into our lives than the sin we may stumble into. (John 14:21) God is our provider, and His grace is sufficient to supply all our needs. (2 Corinthians 9:8) "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." (Matthew 6:33) These are promises from God’s Word that we believe in.
We once lived for the world and all its sinful ways. We lived in the paths of destruction and God in His mercy opened our hearts to His truth that we no longer would live for the depths of the pit. "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world." (1 John 2:16) We are transferred from that hopeless state and now reside in the glorious Kingdom to come, the home we were created to live in. "For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son." (Colossians 1:13) As such, we are children of God but who could tell if we do not walk in faith according to what we believe. The Christian is His representatives from the Heavily Kingdom of God that His light may shine driving away the darkness of the world. "Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God." (2 Corinthians 5:20)
In our self-examination, we may find that we are wanting. That we are not living as citizens, who reflect the virtues of the Lord we serve. We may find that we are not walking in the faith of what we profess to believe. If this is so, then we must confess our unbelief, as we have fallen to a sinful state. "Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God." (Hebrews 3:12) We will restore our relationship with the Lord by our confession and repentance knowing that He is faithful and just to forgive us out of His love and mercy for us. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)
Through the grace of God, we have been given an arsenal of weaponry to defeat the Devil. The Word of God is all-powerful. "For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12) The Sword of the Spirit is the only offensive weapon that we need. Jesus, when in the wilderness was tempted by Satan. Jesus did not negotiate neither did He argue with Satan. He calmly defeated Satan with the Word of God. It is essential for our spiritual skill to place the Word of God in our heart. "Keep my commandments and live, And my teaching as the apple of your eye. Bind them on your fingers; Write them on the tablet of your heart." (Proverbs 7:2-3)
When Satan comes, as he will, meet him in battle with the Sword of the Spirit. "And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." (Ephesians 6:17) Here are a few power verses of Scripture that have helped me, I share them with you.
"The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, And with my song I shall thank Him." (Psalm 28:7)
"I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13)
"For the LORD will be your confidence And will keep your foot from being caught." (Proverbs 3:26)
"As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him." (1 John 2:27)
"For the kingdom of God does not consist in words but in power." (1 Corinthians 4:20)
"Then he said to me, "This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel saying, 'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' says the LORD of hosts." (Zechariah 4:6)
"Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you." (James 4:7)
Thomas N Kirkpatrick
First Baptist Church of Durant, August 23, 2015