1 Tim 6:12 “Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses.”
We are to fight in this life. There is a good fight and a bad fight. Don’t fight with people!
People are not their own. There are influences and attitudes that come onto people. It’s foolish to fight another Christian who belongs to the Lord, lest you find yourself fighting with God! Don’t fight a man or woman of God (or a child of God).
But, you are in a Spiritual Warfare. You’ve got to know how to win. You’ve got to do it on purpose.
The battlefield is in your mind.
What battles do you face today? Which battles are ‘good’ and which are ‘bad’? Which battles do you need to fight and which should you let go of?
Phil 4:7 “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
Phil 1:6 “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”
Prayer is not so much as asking God to do things for us, but getting on the same page as God. Get that worldliness off and put on, get, the mind of Christ.
1 John 5:4 “For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith.”
2 Cor 6:17 “Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you.”
You’ve got to have your mind renewed!
What part does faith play in renewing your mind? Do you trust God to give you the victory? Does your idea of victory agree with His? Does your idea of how you should think about yourself and your situation agree with His? What do you need to change?
Rom 12:1-2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
Gal 5:17 “The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.”
Rom 7:21-23 “I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God’s law with all my heart. 23 But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.”
The devil isn’t everywhere, but Paul was everywhere Paul went. That sinful nature was always with him. You’ve got to nail that sinful nature to the cross all the time. Paul ‘died daily.’
1 Cor 15:31 “I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.”
James 1:13-15 “And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, ‘God is tempting me.’ God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. 14 Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. 15 These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.”
The lusts of the flesh are never satisfied.
How do you conquer the flesh, your carnal, ungodly, unholy desires? Can you do it with your own power?
Are we tempted by God? No. We are tempted by our own desires. If that temptation is not resisted, conception takes place and brings forth sin and sin brings forth death.
Why does God allow this to happen? Why can’t we conquer it once and for all?
Trials prove the reality of your conversion. You resist where you once fell. Where you once were weak, now you’re strong. This glorifies God. The tests and trials that come against you, when you resist, God is glorified and your conversion is validated.
Trials drive us to prayer. God allows crazy stuff to happen so we’ll come to Him. He won’t destroy you, but He will develop you through the tests and trials of life.
It comes down to ‘Maturity.’
James 1:2,12 “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 12 God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”
Heb 4:15 “God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”
What is the purpose of trials? How can you train yourself to see your trials in a positive light?
Jesus was tempted. So, obviously being tempted is not sin.
1 Cor 10:13 “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.”
The resistance and the pressure seem like too much, but God is cheering you on. He is making you stronger. God always gives a way out so that you can handle it. God will relieve some of the pressure. He gives you a ‘break’ in prayer. Jesus is ALWAYS there.
Prov 3:11 “My child, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline, and don’t be upset when he corrects you. 12 For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.”
How are you handling the Lord’s discipline? Do you reject it? Do you get upset and depressed? Or, do you seek His face and receive the love and correction He has for you?
How to Overcome:
Mat 26:41 “Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!”
You’ve got to be alert. Pray. God will help you, but you’ve got to stay close to Him. Overcoming your flesh only gets hard when you’re not in His Spirit.
There are two dogs inside of you, one Spirit, one flesh, which one will you feed? When you’re only entertaining yourself, not reading God’s Word or praying or going to church, it’ll be harder for you to overcome temptation. When you keep your mind renewed, God’s will, God’s way, it’ll be much easier to overcome temptation.
Feed the right dog every day.
Eph 6:10-20 “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; 19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”
Get truth, the Word of God, around your center. Get righteousness (obeying the truth) around your heart. Gospel of peace is walking in the peace of the gospel, you’re prepared for battle, but walking in peace. The shield of faith, (above all means on top, the first line of defense), faith in God, the Bible, in the Truth. Helmet of Salvation, something on your head, protecting your mind, the mind of Christ.
Phil 2:5 “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
How do we live an overcoming life?
Know the Word, practice the Word, use the Word.
Isaiah 26:3 “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”
Phil 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
Be a prayer warrior, not a prayer worrier. You’ve got to get worry out of your mind, get doubt out of your mind. Doubt is faith in God’s failure. Doubt is not pleasing to God.
Heb 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
If you want to please God, get rid of doubt! Build up your faith. God is a provider. He will NOT fail you. Don’t worry. Let God stay up all night!
Don’t focus so much on your body (there is a little profit in being physically fit), but what’s more important is your Spiritual self to be healthy and fit.
You must have the mind of Christ.
When you work out, pray, listen to the Word. Brainwash yourself, wash your mind with the Word of the Lord so you think His thoughts. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life!
Lift the voice of your Spirit out loud. Speak to yourself: You are a champion, You are more than a conqueror! Jesus said it, You’re not nothing!
Rom 8:31 “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?”
‘If’ is conditional, ‘IF God is for us, who can stand against you?’ There may be a lot against you, but nothing can stand against God.
If you’re in a tug-of-war with the whole world on one side and you and God on the other, you don’t even have to hold onto the rope! You win!
What new thoughts are you going to let get hold of you today? How will you change to be in line with what God says about you? What thoughts, habits, attitudes, and/or actions do you need to get rid of?
Rom 8:32-35 “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. 34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”
Rom 8:37-39 “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
We’re not just conquerors, we’re ‘more than conquerors.’ You don’t even have to fight! You can just stand back and watch God work. It’s not about you. It’s the fact that you have God for you.
How do you get God for you? Get God’s Word in you, Believe His Word, Get His armor on you.
2 Cor 12:9 “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
Your weakness is just a situation for God to show Himself strong. He’s not looking for vessels that are filled with their own strength. It’s not by your might or your power, it’s by God’s Spirit and God’s power. He will show Himself sufficient and strong.
You’re not to do anything good or right, just let Him do the work through you.
John 4:23 “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.”
God is pursuing you. What does God want you to do? He wants you to worship Him. Worship Him in Spirit and truth, not in possessions or health or money or position. It’s in the Spirit, not the natural. It’s only your body that you dance to the Lord. You don’t have to feel it first in order to do it, praise Him no matter how you feel!
You worship when things are good and when things are not. There is something in you that is already, always victorious.
Everywhere in the Old Testament where there is a battle, there is a lesson to be learned. God sent Judah first into battle. This was the tribe who worshipped and praised. If you want to enter a battle, start with praising the Lord.
Jer 1:19 “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.”
Jer 20:11 “But the Lord is with me as a mighty terrible one: therefore my persecutors shall stumble, and they shall not prevail: they shall be greatly ashamed; for they shall not prosper: their everlasting confusion shall never be forgotten.”
I win every time. I’m an overcomer!
Isa 54:17 “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.”
Isa 50:7-9 “For the Lord God will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed. 8 For the Lord God will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed. 9 Behold, the Lord God will help me; who is he that shall condemn me? lo, they all shall wax old as a garment; the moth shall eat them up.”
This Bible Study excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Anthony LoCascio.
For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.
If you are looking for an Apostolic Pentecostal church and are in the Chicagoland area, come check out The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!