Vintage message from July 12, 1998.
We come against trials every day. We come against struggles every day, and we have choices to make. We can trust God… We can trust that God will save us because we’re not wrestling against flesh and blood. We’re wrestling against principalities and powers that are from the pit of hell! Satan wants to destroy us! God’s enemy wants to see us fall away. But you know how many Christians I know that…roll over and say, “Hey, it’s not worth the fight. It’s not worth putting up a struggle for. I’ll give in. I don’t want to have to struggle…” Do you realize that when we give in that Satan not only wants us to give in, but then he wants to humiliate us because we loved or trusted or knew of God in some way. Satan just wants to humiliate us… You become nothing in the eyes of the world when you submit to the world; when you submit to the humiliation that the world offers you…
Jabesh Gilead could have easily said, “No way, we won’t give in to you. We have a God that is mightier than you are, and even though we may be few in this town, and even if nobody comes to our rescue, we will stand against you.” And do you understand that in life as Christians, as people who believe that Jesus died for our sins, that sometimes when we make that statement, we stand alone. We have people around us who do not want to hear that, and for the majority of this world, even though we are a small group of people, we are alone compared to the vast numbers of people in this world who do not believe that. And we have to be willing and ready to say, “I will make my stand.”
…Understand this principle: even though the Holy Spirit comes into your life, even though you receive Jesus as your Savior, and even though you may have times or great victory in Jesus, the Holy Spirit will still allow you to live the life you choose. The Holy Spirit will still allow you to live in sin. The Holy Spirit will still allow you to deny the power of God and live by your own flesh. Even though He lives right inside of you, He will allow it. But just like Israel, you begin, then, to live a very defeated life. Very defeated. God has not called us to battle the flesh and blood. He’s asked us to put on the full armor of God… How do we overcome the spiritual battle? How do we effectively use the armor of God? We use it in the power of prayer. When we come to the place of praying, when we come to the place of realizing our weakness, we put on the righteousness. We put on the truth. We live by the gospel. We trust God’s salvation because Jesus died for us. We believe that in faith.. And when we’ve done everything we can do to stand firm in that faith, when we’ve done everything to tell the world, “I am a believer,” but the battle is still coming our way — and understand that there will be battles in your life. The world doesn’t just lay down and die because we become Christians. They will battle with us, but we do not battle them. We don’t punch our neighbor in the nose… I do not battle with them. I am called to the place of prayer. I’m called to seek the God Who created me. I’m called to ask the Lord Jesus to step into the situation, fill me with the power of the Holy Spirit, so that I can stand firm through this, so that I do not have to fight this battle on my own. And then, God brings the victory. Then God gets the glory. Then God becomes the leader of our life.