[From Agreenwalt journal notes dated 2017-0117.]
PERSONAL VICTORY DEPENDS UPON:
HOW WELL YOU KNOW & TRUST GOD
God is always our destination; His ‘deliberate’ plan(s) will always draw us ever-closer to Himself. Our part is to ‘deliberately’ get to know Him and the working of His love better and better, which usually means getting out of our personal comfort zones and entering His presence even when our personal schedules seem too crowded to do so! (Refer to Paul’s prayers for the Church, and use your faith to BELIEVE HIS LOVE. He has a plan for YOU!)
Col.1:9,10-NLT “We ask God to give you a complete understanding of what he wants to do in your lives, and we ask him to make you wise with spiritual wisdom. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and you will continually do good, kind things for others. All the while, you will learn to know God better and better.”
Phil.1;9,10-NASB “…that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent…”
HOW WELL YOU KNOW THOSE WITH WHOM YOU WALK
The logos of God’s Word is about relationships; primarily, the Bible speaks of God’s relationship with His man. On the other hand, God also commands His man to love his neighbor as much as self. In the New Testament, God emphasises that His children show love one towards each other.
The Greek word for the real relationship between His people is ‘koinonia’ which refers to fellowship and communion between two or more persons. It is about being “like-minded”, but the relational idea carries a deeper understanding of KNOWING one another resulting in a bond from working side-by-side towards a common goal. This word is reportedly used 20 times in the New Testament. The first occurrence of koinonia is Acts 2:42, (NIV) “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word, ‘ya`ad’, is used to express this type of fellowship of walking together with like-mindedness. It is translated as “having met” in Amos 3:3 and “betrothed/engaged” or “in agreement/assembled in the same place” in the other passages. These two words express the deep relationship God intends for His Church. In fact, He expects this unity among believers! (Ps. 133:1-3; John. 17; Eph. 4:1-3)
When we know the heart-intentions of our fellow-laborers (co-workers, partners, spouses, etc), we will not mistake their actions as evil towards us and/or our goals for the work. Therefore, Satan will be less likely to use our friends and loved-ones as weapons formed against us, especially in our own minds. The pace of unity is a key factor when “walking together”. Do not allow misunderstandings to become weapons of distention between those with whom you labor~ KNOW their hearts!
HOW WELL YOU ALLOW GRACE TO WORK IN YOU
As children of God we are instructed in His Word to do everything unselfishly, with actions that demonstrate “the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts” and do all things with an attitude as if we are working for Jesus, Himself. (1Cor.16:14; Ro.5:5; Col.3:23) To do this, we must keep ‘agape’ as the main motive in all our tasks just as Jesus did when He walked this earth. Jesus kept His purpose in mind, in everything He accomplished by leaning on Holy Spirit to help Him deal with the people in the daily problems that arose and the minor obstacles that could have otherwise led Him off His path~ the plan of redemption depended upon it! He persevered by keeping His eyes on “the joy set out for him” and “endured the cross” (Heb.12:2). Let’s define “daily problems” and “minor obstacles”.
‘Daily problems’ are those circumstances and/or physical ailments which have the potential to affect your emotions and moods which can in effect keep us from accomplishing that day’s goals. Jesus kept His emotions in tact; He angered and sinned not even when He caught the people violating the temple. In other words, we keep the flow of grace at work in us by keeping a check on our love walk towards others!
‘Minor obstacles’ are more personal in nature. They are those areas in us that we have remained undisciplined and continually tempt us into wrong behavior, usually by reacting in a wrong way to people and/or the situations. Temptation is always a trap set by Satan, set with an alluring bait. Traps are set hidden so that the prey doesn’t see it until right upon it, if at all, and then, it snaps shut! Learn to recognize the ways Satan has of trapping you; use this knowledge so that he cannot trip you up again on that “minor obstacle”~ make him change his bait!
Jesus tells us in Matthew 26:41, “The flesh is weak”. The Message paraphrases the entire verse which also gives us the answer this way: “Stay alert; be in prayer so you don’t wander into temptation without even knowing you’re in danger. There is a part of you that is eager, ready for anything in God. But there’s another part that’s as lazy as an old dog sleeping by the fire.”
Prepare NOW for the next temptation by deciding NOW how you will “act” when you face it. The biblical reference for this mode of action is found in the book of James (chapter 1). The passage refers to “tests and trials”, but certain situations also tempt us to react in ungodly ways instead of responding in a “right way”. If we prepare by setting our hearts to respond rightly to those things (or people) that irritate us, then we are halfway to victory before the trial comes.
For example, one of my pet peeves is when people result to passive aggressive behavior, perhaps to deal with their own pet peeves? The day I realized how often my reactions caused me to trip/miss the mark (sin). Frankly, I was weary in having to repent on a regular basis! So, I ask TheLORD to help me make a new plan for when I encounter those traps. Then, I made a decision to follow through. I DECIDED to: 1)SMILE! I will smile instead of reacting with ugly words; I will smile and say nothing! I will be enabled to smile each time by remembering that it’s only a test and that I have chosen to walk in love because “love covers all sin”. 2)PRAY. I will pray that the right & godly response be revealed to me and for the grace t respond accordingly. 3)GIVE THE GODLY RESPONSE. I will respond in the way that Holy Spirit guides me, even the answer is, “do nothing”. I choose to obey His instruction even if the ‘right response’ seems (to me) to reinforce their passive-aggressive behavior. 4)TRUST GOD. I will pray for the person(s) involved whenever they cross my mind and trust God to deal with them in His own way.
Temptations are a test to our faith levels, a test on how much we have allowed The Word to change us. The advice I want to inject here is to pray a prayer of consecration on a regular basis. I usually fall back on David’s prayer found in Psalm 51. Allow me to suggest it as a starting point. The Father’s answers to my praying this type prayer is always eye-opening for me, giving one more opportunity to prune another “minor obstacle” from my life that has been hindering my total victory.
HOW WELL YOU RISE UP
“Even though the righteous falls seven times, he rises again.” (Pro.24:16) The number ‘seven’ always refers to a completeness in quality, a perfected result. The word, ‘rise’, in this context is about rising up after “falling” into traps by evil plots set up against you. Therefore, we can infer that this verse refers to the truth that the righteous win in the end with a completed and perfected work on their behalf. (Jms.1:4; Phil.1:6) The righteous are able to get up again and again because of the grace God gives His own. The strength of the righteous is God’s strength working in them. God’s love never fails them.
I suppose I need to define what is meant by “the righteous” in this context. It includes those who willingly choose to follow God’s ways and live by faith. Abraham had righteousness allotted to him because of his unfailing faith in God’s promises. Net Bible’s note about the Genesis verse explains it as God’s response to Abraham’s “evidence of steadfast commitment.” In other words, Abraham’s committed loyalty in obeying God’s ways was a lifestyle that he lived in search of the promises made to him!
We always have a choice in how we conduct our lives. When the ‘Children of Abraham’ reached the promised land, Joshua told them, “Choose this day whom you will serve… As for me and my house, we will serve TheLORD.” (Joshua.24:15, NRSV) New Testament believers are “the righteous of God in Christ”, “born of incorruptible seed” into the very family of God! As such, we are expected to live victoriously by allowing Holy Spirit to work in us. We can only develop fruits of righteousness by allowing Him to do His work~ allowing the work of the zoe-life of God in us to come to the surface. Again, it’s a choice.
Choosing to RISE UP and live this way, will guarantee that your ‘falls’ will have no ill effects on His work accomplished through you; you will have victory in the end as long as you continue to rise above the falls. Always remember the strength found in the JOY of your salvation, and regain your peace! (Phil.4) And, always be willing to help your co-laborers rise up so you can continue your “walk together”.
Finally, do not allow past failures to haunt you. Use these life experiences as measuring points; they are your faith-to-faith moments when you get up and reset your focus on the road ahead. Rise up, put on your armor, lift up your shield of faith, and SAY to your taunting mind:
“Even though I may fall, I will rise. I shall never stay down; I will not quit. My God is the lifter of my head. I choose to live a victorious life because I am the righteousness of God in Christ. My steps are ordered of TheLORD. I will rejoice in Truth and Righteousness. I practice righteousness by exercising my faith in all situations. The power of His love is ever changing me. I cry out for more of Him and He answers my cries. Impatience has no place in me. I wait upon TheLORD and He renews my strength as the eagles’. I lift my voice in singing His and I dance in His joy. I will trust Him because His love endures forever. He is gracious and merciful to me; my hope is in Him alone. It is by His wisdom my house is built and by understanding it is established. AMEN!”
Finally, brothers and sisters, draw your strength and might from God. Put on the full armor of God to protect yourselves from the devil and his evil schemes. We’re not waging war against enemies of flesh and blood alone. No, this fight is against tyrants, against authorities, against supernatural powers and demon princes that slither in the darkness of this world, and against wicked spiritual armies that lurk about in heavenly places. And this is why you need to be head-to-toe in the full armor of God: so you can resist during these evil days and be fully prepared to hold your ground. Yes, stand—truth banded around your waist, righteousness as your chest plate, 15 and feet protected in preparation to proclaim the good news of peace. 16 Don’t forget to raise the shield of faith above all else, so you will be able to extinguish flaming spears hurled at you from the wicked one. Take also the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (VOICE)
Biblegateway -Ephesians 6 (Voice, AMPC, TLB, MSG)
NLT~New Living Translation;
NASB~New American Study Bible;
NIV~New International Version
NRSV~New Revised Standard Version
Voice~ The Voice Bible
AMPC~ The Amplified Bible, Classic Edition