Category Archives: Victorious Living

Victorious Living: Handling God’s Word

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”
2 Timothy 2:15 (NIV)

Our text today comes from Paul’s letter to the young preacher, Timothy as he prepared for leadership in the church at Ephesus. In this letter Paul passes the mantel of ministry to Timothy and exhorts him to continue faithful in his duties, especially as it pertained to holding to sound doctrine ( 2 Tim. 1:13-14), avoidance of error (2 Tim. 2:15-18) and confidence in the Scripture (2 Tim. 3:15-17).

Paul knew the importance of knowing God’s word and its critical role in the survival of the early church. Paul’s message, the direct result of God’s inspiration (2 Tim. 3:16), is relevant to believers in the 21st century. Although we may not be clergy, we are expected to “hold fast the pattern of sound words, which we have heard” (2 Tim. 1:13). Are we “holding fast”?

The Barna Research Group found that Biblical literacy is neither a current reality nor a goal in the U.S.

“Bible reading has become the religious equivalent of sound-bite journalism. When people read from the Bible they typically open it, read a brief passage without much regard for the context, and consider the primary thought or feeling that the passage provided. If they are comfortable with it, they accept it; otherwise, they deem it interesting but irrelevant to their life, and move on.”

Paul warned that in these “last days” leading to Christ’s Second Return, one of the things that would suffer would be knowledge of God’s Word.

“For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” (2 Tim. 4:3-4)

We can no longer depend exclusively on our pastors and other ministries to explain and interpret God’s Word. In many churches, the full counsel of God’s Word (both Old and New Testament) is being neglected. Ministers are questioning, from their pulpits, biblical truths including the security of believers and the sinlessness of Christ. Such behavior is not new, for Jeremiah observed: “A horrible and shocking thing has happened in the land: The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way. But what will you do in the end?”(Jeremiah 5:30-31)

Biblical literacy in the 21st century is critical. In reading the Bible one receives wisdom from God (1 Cor. 2:6-16). In addition, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3: 16-17, ESV). Biblical literacy encourages spiritual maturity and empowers us to live victoriously in these tumultuous times. As we witness to unbelievers and seekers, it will become the tool for sharing the Gospel—the message of life over death.

Victorious Living: New Beginnings

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;
old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJ)

Christ’s work of redemption presents mankind with the opportunity to experience a new beginning with God. No longer separated by sin, man can now be reconciled with God and enjoy peace with his fellowman (Rom. 5:1). For believers to fully experience this new beginning, we must possess a clear understanding of our new identity in Christ. This understanding is critical for living victoriously (1 John 5:4).

Identity is the condition of being a specific person or thing. Our personal identity is the result of the people, places, and things we connect or associate with. This is also true of our spiritual identity. While personal identity looks at outward influences, spiritual identity, however, looks at two things: (1) the Person of Jesus Christ and (2) the Place of the Cross.

Jesus Christ took on our physical identity (in his fleshly body) so that we can become partakers of his spiritual identity (Heb. 12:14-15). This divine incarnation resulted in the provision of the perfect sacrifice required to satisfy the penalty for sin that we might have eternal life and become children of God (Rom. 8:16).

It is in the shadow of the Cross that we leave our old nature and become crucified with Christ (Gal. 2:20). It is here that we die to sin and deny its death hold upon our life (Rom. 6:11). It is in His resurrection, that we received new life for our new beginning.

Once we fully grasp our identity in Christ we can begin to live victoriously, ready to receive “all the fullness of God” (John 1:16). Once estranged and hostile to God, our hope and assurance now rests in the completed work of the Cross and the new beginnings which Christ, with His life, acquired for us. Our past (life) is past (behind us). He is our New Beginning (Col. 1:18).

Good to the Last Byte…
If we have new beginnings, why don’t we live more victoriously? Christ has provided all we need to live holy (Eph. 1:3-9). It is now our responsibility to daily walk out and live out the new identity Christ has provided.

Victorious Living: Courageous Confession

“Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me.” Psalm 51:2-3 (NKJ)

The 51st Psalm is God’s lesson on confession. It was authored by King David after he was confronted by Nathan the prophet for his adulterous affair with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband, Uriah. The whole incident was not unlike the stories we read in the gossip tabloid or see in the latest “made for television” sequel. King David, however, gives us a better approach to confession.

First, King David quickly accepted responsibility for his behavior and pleaded guilty to all charges. He immediately called upon God for forgiveness. He offers no excuses but appealed to God to “blot out, wash and cleanse him” from his “transgressions, iniquity, and sin.”

“For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge.” (VV. 3-4)

Next, King David recounted God’s expectation of him, as a man and as the leader of Israel. Though King David had perpetrated this crime against Uriah, he answered to a Higher Judge, the omniscient God, who see, hears, and knows all things. There are no “hidden sins” in His presence.

“Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge. Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.” (VV. 4-6)

Finally, King David was concerned about his broken relationship with God. He had the unique opportunity of walking closely with the Lord most of his life beginning as a young shepherd boy in the hills of Bethlehem. He longed to be restored to that relationship.

“Create in me a pure heart, 0 God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” (VV.10-12)

It is important that we learn to quickly confess our sins. Unconfessed sin results in guilt and shame, spiritual strongholds in our lives, and even worst, a broken relationship with God. Therein lies the power in confession. Power comes from the One who is “faithful to forgive us our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

“Who is a God like You, who pardons sin and forgives transgressions?” (Micah 7:18) There is none O Lord like You.

Victorious Living: Losing Your Mind

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus…” Philippians 2:5

In the 90’s there was a commercial that declared “a mind is a terrible thing to waste.” Its intent was to encourage the pursuit of higher education. A politician later misquoted this saying resulting in the statement, “a mind is a terrible thing to lose.” That politician was not re-elected. Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi, however, gives wise council on the best use of one’s mind. He instructs believers to have the same mind as Christ. In other words, they are to lose their mind and replace it with His. This would result in victorious living. How does the believer obtain the mind of Christ?

To have a mind of Christ, the believer must be willing to forego their current position and plans for the purpose God has designed for their life. Christ willingly joined God in His plan of salvation for mankind. (Eph. 1: 4-6) To have the mind of Christ requires trust in Him and belief that all things work together for good to those called according to His purpose (Rom. 8: 28).

Believers who desire to have the mind of Christ are humble. They seek “no personal reputation” (Phil. 2:6-8). Christ voluntarily set aside His privileges (“being in the form of God”) and accepted a lower status (“took on the form of a bondservant and made in the likeness of man”). Why? So that we might have eternal life.

Finally, believers display the mind of Christ by being obedient. Obedience is the highest form of love through which we willingly sacrifice (1 Sam. 15:22) our thoughts and actions to follow the instructions He has set before us. Christ’s obedience was love of the highest caliber in that He was obedient even if it meant death by the worst possible punishment—death on the cross (Phil. 2:8).

Possessing the mind of Christ will empower believers to “pull down strongholds, cast down obstacles that hold themselves up above the knowledge of God, and bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Cor. 10:4-5) “A mind may be a terrible thing to lose” unless you replace it with the mind of Christ.

Good to the Last Byte…
An old axiom states: “You can’t lose what you never had.” Read the Gospel account of the Madman of Gadarenes (Mark 5:1-19) and see how losing your mind can change your life.