Key Thought Number 8

Find a Christian mentor. You will need help and encouragement in this journey with Jesus. Ask an older Christian (of the same gender as you) to mentor you. Look for someone has run the race of faith for some time and who exhibits the fruits of the Spirit in their life. Be a blessing to them in return.

Victorious Living

What does it mean to live victoriously in this life?

Jesus said that while an enemy is out there to steal from us, kill us and bring about destruction; he has come in order that we might have abundant life (John 10:10). Implied in this scripture is a battle! One of the methods the enemy uses is to prompt our past to hinder our future. If we can be kept in shame and or unforgiveness, we will never experience the victory Christ died to provide for us. Shame is one of those negative thought processes associated with memories of things we have done wrong. Unforgiveness is one of those negative thought processes associated with memories of things others have done wrong to us. Victorious Living is a growing experience of completeness and identification with Jesus that lifts us out of our broken past and into a glorious future. As an illustration of what is happening, imagine a large clear glass jug of water slowly being poured into a bowl of stagnant water. As the the water overflows it carries away with it rubbish so that from moment to moment the bowl is becoming more and more pure. God has already called the bowl 'clear' and now it is outworked throughout the rest of our lives.

Arena 1 Our Past

When we come to Christ we come 'just as we are' and that often means with a high degree of brokenness. Brokenness comes in two forms, the first is damage caused by our own deliberate choices to go our own way, and the second is damage caused by what others have done to us. Even if you've had a relatively well adjusted childhood that included healthy decision making practices, you are still a candidate for some deep work of the Holy Spirit in order to bring about victorious living. If we allow our past to dog us we will be so caught up in shame (Romans 10:11) and unforgiveness (Matthew 6:14-15) automatically resisting the Holy Spirit's leading toward completeness.  As Christians walking through time, our past and future are constantly changing as we make fresh choices in line with God's heart. The fact is that even though we have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus and God now accepts us through his sacrifice, nevertheless, salvation is as much a process as it is a settled fact in heaven!  Paul says both that we are saved (Ephesians 2:8-9) and that we are being saved (1 Corinthians 1:18)!

Have you ever noticed that you react to things in ways that don't always glorify God? Do you think you can improve by trying harder? The reality is that trying harder will only get you so far before you need God's supernatural power to lift you to a different place of strength and closeness to him. Make some time to sit before God and allow the Holy Spirit to examine your life. Reflect on your past and both the damage others have caused you and the areas of rebellion you exhibit

Arena 2 Our Future

We must recognise that we are in a war in which spiritual forces are arrayed against us so as to restrict our experiences of living an abundant life. Many new Christians are unaware of the need to fight for what we have been called to. They assume that God has it all sorted out; that the can just go on living in whatever manner they want and God's grace will make sure they are secured for heaven. Paul, in Colossians 3:2-3  reminds believers to set their minds on things above rather than things on the earth.  In Hebrews 4:16 we are encouraged to boldly come before the throne of Grace to obtain mercy ( in other words, forgiveness of sin) and grace (in other words power and authority for future work, trial and resistance to temptation) at the very point of our need. We must be deliberate about taking our confessions of guilt before our great High Priest, Jesus. Knowing that we are broken and limited is not an excuse for sin but is a good reason for quickly drawing near to God with our broken bits so that he can bring healing. See 1 John 1:9

Scripture to learn is Ephesians 6:12-13:  

For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. This is why you must take up the full armour of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand.

Bible study section

The Bible passage for study is Ephesians 6:12-13.

1. What is it in verse 11 that gives us motivation to fight?

2. Why do you think these are listed as armour; truth, right standing, and willingness to declare the Good News?

3. How is faith like a shield?

4.Read Matthew 4:1-11 and discuss the use of scripture as a sword.