Five Point Strategy for Living in Victory

This section provides a 5 point Bible-based strategy for effectively dealing with sin and temptation. Putting this plan into action is one more way of giving God first place in your life!

1. UNDERSTAND THAT GOD SEES YOU AS PERFECT, HOLY AND BLAMELESS, through the work of Jesus Christ. (Read II Corinthians 5:21.) Many times guilt and shame are the most destructive of sin’s consequences. Understanding that there is no condemnation for those in Christ, regardless of the sin, is fundamental to victory (Romans 8:1).

2. CONFESS YOUR SINS. (Read I John 1:9.) Confessing our sin means acknowledging those sins first in our own hearts and minds, and then confessing them to God. Confessing our sin does not necessarily mean making them public to others. Confession is between you and God.

3. BE ACCOUNTABLE. (Read James 5:16.) Finding a close trusted Christian friend, pastor or family member in whom you can confide is an effective way to introduce accountability and prayer support into the battle.

4. AVOID THE SOURCES OF TEMPATION. (Read James 1:13-15.) This is the most challenging point to implement, and requires some creative thought and planning. The truth is if you can avoid the temptation, you’ll avoid the sin.

5. READ GOD’S WORD. (Read Psalm 119:11.) God’s word tells us plainly that as we “hide it in our heart,” it gives a special strength to say no to temptation and sin.

Winning Life’s Battles with God’s Help

There is a life-long battle that is being waged over our lives. On one side is the influence of that old sinful nature – those old lingering tendencies, temptations and sins that have been difficult for us to overcome. Over time as we mature in our walk with God, the influence of the sinful nature weakens. On the other side is the growing influence of the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives. These are two opposing forces as described in Galatians:

“So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.” Galatians 5:16-17

God’s word encourages us to “live by the Spirit.” In other words, we must allow the influence of the Holy Spirit to win over the influence of the sinful nature in our lives.

Many times, this is easier said than done. Our sinful nature prods us to make decisions to satisfy self-centered ambitions and passions. This is called temptation, and James describes it like this:

“When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.” James 1:13-14

Not until a decision on our part is made to give in to a temptation does it become sin.

“Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full grown, gives birth to death.” James 1:15

Amazingly however, as a part of God’s profound love and grace extended to all Christians, God forgives us and cleanses us from all of our sins. We are absolutely 100% forgiven.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgives us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9

But there is still a danger in allowing sin to go unchecked. While God forgives us and cleanses us, He does not necessarily eliminate the destructive path of consequences and circumstances sin leaves behind. While God will always help us through difficult times, even when brought on by our own decisions, our best course of action is to do all we can to avoid making those decisions in the first place.

I Corinthians describes two important aspects in effectively dealing with temptation and sin:

“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” I Corinthians 10:13

First is that we’re not alone in our struggle. You can know that there are other Christians, whether 30 days or 30 years into their walk with God, who still struggle with sin and temptation common to yours.

Second, is that God will not allow us to be tempted beyond a point where we’re unable to make a decision to avoid sin. He will always provide a way of escape. Our job, as challenging as it may be, is to find that way out in the midst of our temptation.

The following section provides a Bible-based strategy for effectively dealing with sin and temptation. Putting this plan into action is one more way of giving God first place in your life!

God Wants First Place in Your Heart

In today’s society, many base their worth upon wealth, how high they are on the “corporate ladder,” how successful their business is, or even simply who they know.

But if our view of significance is established upon these things, we will only feel good about ourselves when we are flourishing in these areas. When our wealth and success diminish, our self-worth will also because our foundation is not solid. Jesus describes it this way:

“But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.” Luke 6:49

Our identity is only as solid as the foundation we place it upon. By establishing our identity on the rock-solid foundation of Jesus Christ, our sense of fulfillment in life will not depend upon the changing condition of temporal things.

When Christ is our foundation, our stability is like this:

“He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.” Luke 6:48

Think for a moment of the many choices in life you may have to build your foundation of significance upon. These may include wealth, career, looks, family, fame, power or who you know. Are there others you can think of? Of all the things to establish our identity upon, only Jesus assures us of victorious Christian living.

But if you examine the other choices, none are bad or inherently evil. In fact, in many respects, they are very important areas of responsibility God has given us in our lives. But in the book of Matthew, Jesus helps us find balance.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” Matthew 6:25-26

When we resolve this truth in our own lives, we find peace and fulfillment, free from worry and anxiety. This balance is achieved when we put Jesus first in all areas of our lives.

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33

We all have dreams, goals and aspirations because God designed us to. But putting Jesus first should lead you to examine your priorities and motives as to why you aspire to do or attain the things you desire. When He is first in your dreams and aspirations, you’re future will be filled with greatness and joy!

When God does bring a questionable motive to your attention, your most important response should be a willingness to make changes. Change can be difficult at times, but God always has our best in mind, and wants you to grow spiritually.

God’s Place, My Prize!

First place – it is the focused ambition of all who compete. Whether an individual or team competition, the best score or time wins, and first place always brings the top prize to the one who achieves that privileged distinction. Always, that is, with one important exception.

Before our salvation, we usually hold first place in our own lives – living for ourselves, fulfilling our own selfish ambitions, promoting our own agenda. But when we become a Christian, first place is no longer our position to hold; it belongs to God.

Giving God first place in our lives began on the day of our salvation, but allowing God to remain first in all areas of our life is an ongoing process. When we do so, we live a fulfilled and blessed life in Christ here on earth, and inherit an eternal life of unspeakable blessings with God in Heaven forever.

“Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. I Corinthians 9:25”

New 2 Faith: “Fellowship with Christians”

Giving encouragement, love, and strength to other believers is one of our greatest priorities. The fact is that we need each other. That is how God designed it. God doesn’t want anyone to “go it alone.”

The truth is that building relationships with other Christians is crucial to our own growth. God often sets up “divine appointments” for us to minister to or encourage one another as maybe only we can.

The principle of strength in numbers applies even to Christians, and having strong relationships with fellow believers helps us grow in our walk with God!

God’s plan in establishing the local church was for you to be connected to other believers. Get involved and enjoy the benefits of giving and receiving blessings from your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ!

New 2 Faith: “Serve Others”

The definition of serving is simply being available to respond to someone’s need. That response may require our time, talent, resources and effort; but serving out of a love for God and for others can be one of life’s most joyful and rewarding experiences.

Responding to the needs of others can come in many forms and can focus on the needs of Christians and unbelievers alike. There are always opportunities to serve in the local church either individually or as part of a team. You DO have something incredibly valuable to offer!

There are also opportunities which arise in simple one on one contact with people, or just simply observing someone’s need, and responding with unsolicited assistance.

Any response you give, whether time, resources, talent or simply an encouraging word, is an act of serving. But God also understands that we have a limited capacity in what we can offer, so he expects us to show responsibility and good stewardship when making commitments.

God’s desire is for us to give of ourselves cheerfully. While at times it is difficult for some of us to say no, the truth is that overextending ourselves can ultimately rob us of the cheerfulness and joy God wants us to have when we serve.

New 2 Faith: “Be an Effective Witness”

Knowing how to be an effective witness in our everyday world begins with understanding what God wants others to observe in our lives. The short answer is of course, Jesus. But what does that mean?

Jesus provided a perfect example of how God wants us to live. While Jesus lived his earthly life in a world much different than ours’ today, He embodied the full character of God and provides a relevant example for our modern world.

It is God’s character that he desires to develop in our lives and to be observed by others. This is achieved only through our personal relationship with Jesus.

Just as a branch that remains in the vine it draws its life from will bear fruit, so it is for us who remain in our relationship with Jesus – we bear fruit – or demonstrate the character of God through our lives to others.

When God’s character is working in us and through us – His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control we become an effective witness living out our everyday lives.

Just as it was in Jesus’ day, the outward, active expression of God’s character through our lives – the fruit of the Spirit – is unmistakable. It draws the attention of both Christians and unbelievers alike, and it’s not uncommon for someone to inquire about it.

Be prepared. Someone may be observing and inquire of you when you least expect it. Your personal testimony of salvation and of God’s wonderful ongoing work in your own life is a great starting point. Invite them to your church or fellowship, and encourage them as they explore a relationship with God!