Principles for Victory
Principles for Victory
A little change of plans today. I was going to start a series of messages from Mark chapter 13. Sherri and I were touring The Museum of the Bible this week in Washington DC. We were walking through a mockup of a village that was a typical example of what Jesus would have grown up in. In one of the rooms, the parable of the unjust judge was being retold and something different for today popped into my head. Today we are going to extrapolate from the scripture 3 principles that are key to victory. We are going to consider persistence, perseverance, and patience and how they work together in our quest to live an abundant life.
An abundant life is a life of right relationships. One establishes a right relationship with God through faith that Jesus made it possible to be reconciled to God by His death upon the cross.
Romans 10:8-13 (NIV)
"The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart," that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. … for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
If you have never considered this please do it today. If it is attractive to you “this being saved” then by all means dig into this incredible truth. Deciding to bend the knee to Jesus, declaring that you are going to live according to His ways, and then starting to do so, brings a grace into your life that establishes a right relationship with God. With that right relations comes the power to reconcile, create, and maintain right relationships with others. As you grow in grace you start to change, you become a new person, the person God always intended for you to be. You become comfortable with yourself, your attitudes change, your values change, and your heart becomes motivated by love instead of selfishness. Your habits, attachments, and addictions are overcome as you continue to learn who you are in Christ. This all leads to living your life to the full. I encourage you to explore this “calling upon the name of the Lord.” If you never have I suspect that God will meet you on your journey and make things clear for you. Don’t let the gift of an abundant life, a life of love and joy, acceptance and belonging, meaning and purpose be left unopened.
Let us look at how you will live out this abundant life. Jesus told us three parables, three stories with a message that will help us be victorious.
Luke 18:2-5 (NIV)
In a certain town, there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, 'Grant me justice against my adversary.'
4 "For some time he refused. But finally, he said to himself, 'Even though I don't fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice so that she won't eventually wear me out with her coming!'"
Is there a difficulty in your life? A mountain that will not be moved. A habituated sin that clings to your life like a leech. Something that is preventing you from moving forward. Jesus tells us to be persistent. We are to be persistent in prayer asking for supernatural help and persistent in knocking on those closed doors. Persistence that’s the first principle.
The next is perseverance. Persistence and perseverance are very similar. The difference is that persistence is to continue to do something despite the difficulty. Perseverance is the commitment to keep on keeping on despite a lack of success.
Think persistence is needed when something keeps you from success. Think of perseverance as keeping on task even when there hasn’t been any success.
Jesus tells us the parable of the lost coin.
Luke 15:8-9 (NIV)
"Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.'
In context, this story is about how God and all of His children rejoice when you bend the knee and make Jesus the Lord of your life.
In the story, this woman is searching and searching for something that she lost. She is looking everywhere. Sounds a lot like me looking for my car keys in the morning. It seems what is being looked for, what is desired, is nowhere to be found. But through perseverance, she finds what she has been looking for. In our quest of living an abundant life, spiritual growth takes effort. Becoming the person you are meant to be in Christ is difficult. The Holy Spirit reveals an area of your life that you need to work on to mature, grow, to produce. It might be something you need to get rid of, it might be something you need to add. It’s not a one-and-done, you have to keep at it, and you have to work and work for it. Try and fail, try again and fail, but like Thomas Edison, on try 201 the lights come on. That’s persistence.
Now we have two principles that guide us to victory.
The third principle is patience. Jesus tells us the parable of the lost son, the prodigal son, who demands his inheritance early and then lacking wisdom exhausts his fortune and decides to return home.
Luke 15:18-20 (NIV)
I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.' So he got up and went to his father.
"But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him, and kissed him.
Some things take time. Can you not imagine that the father in this parable prayed for the welfare of his son? You pray and you expect. Sometimes the answer to that prayer is very long in coming. The father kept looking down the road, patiently waiting. This was not idle patience. A sitting back and doing nothing. The father still had work to do, but in the work, the hope of an answered prayer. He waited for it.
In our culture, we like everything fast. We have little patience. We don’t like to wait. Molding a life, and achieving what is worthwhile, takes time. This waiting time is not to be idle time. The patient attitude is working while waiting.
Three principles for victory, are persistence, perseverance, and patience. These three create a passion in your life. The attitude that you will be victorious in dealing with the obstacles that life throws at you. This passion is a gift from God, empowerment to live your life to the full. Power is available to all who follow Jesus.