I was listening to a video from my friend, Tim Cross, Pastor of Living Word in Muskegon, MI, and the message was entitled, "Private Victories Lead to Public Victories." He had been speaking on Jesus' experience in the wilderness when the satan tempted Him, and how sometimes, each of us needs to face some battles in our private lives before we find victory in public. Jesus said, "Whatever we do in secret, will be rewarded openly." That is a secret we need to remember. Our private victories will lead to public victories; our private successes will lead to public success.
Sometimes there are things we need to confront, instead of hiding them in secrecy. It could be our anger, feelings of rejection, pornography; maybe it is our pride or our prejudices or sexual sins. These are the things in our lives we need to face; the issues we need to defeat in private (or with someone we trust and who counsels us). But the thing is, we need to beat them in private before we face them publically.
In fact, before Jesus' Father could launch Jesus into His public ministry, he had to win some individual battles and get some proverbial "notches" on His sword; to win some victories. In the old west, gun fighters would "notch" the handle of their gun every time they killed any enemy. In WWII, fighter pilots would paint the insignia of the enemy every time they shot one down. Sometimes, we need to do the same thing. We need to get some victories in our private lives before we win them publically. To do that, we need to get the Word of God firmly established on the inside of us.
I can say this because I have learned that our Father has given each of us the ability, the opportunity, to live above the ordinary human plane of life. Oh, sure. If we want to live ordinary lives, we can certainly do that. But I have decided long ago, that I will not live a plain-Jane kind of life! Yes, there may be times when I face difficulties, but I will never accept those circumstances without a fight.
When you read about Jesus' experience in the Wilderness (Check out Matthew 4), you will notice something. Jesus never ran away from any battles. He stood on God's Word, and faced them, bravely, boldly. When the devil showed up, He didn't put His "tail between his legs" and hide. No! He confronted the enemy; He stood and fought His battle.
Some of us prefer to hide our weaknesses rather than face them because we have lost so many times before. Sure, we may have stood firm before but eventually succumbed to the temptation, and if that is the case, it should never be our guide as to whether we overcome our weaknesses. Because I assure you, any time you lose one battle, you will face that same battle again! Any test you have failed in the past, you will have the opportunity to meet again. I guess that is the "double-edged" sword. The Good News vs. the Bad News.
When you confront any issue you have lost in previous battles, it will be so tempting to shout, "Hey, I've been here before and lost so many times, I give up." Well, I assure you, that if you can win! Your past failures don't have to determine your future results!
You need to begin to study (or continue to study, if that is your case) God's Word. Study for the next fight; study for the next battle. As Jason Nesmith proclaimed, "Never give up. Never surrender!" (I know, you can tell I was watching Galaxy Quest).
No, seriously, go to the Word of God and plant it on the inside of you because, as the Scripture states, Jesus defeated the devil, how? With the Word! He knew what the Word said on whatever temptation He confronted. As one evangelist reminded us, “It is better to live ready than to get ready!”
Tell me, if anger is the thing that defeats you, how many passages do you have regarding anger? How about pornography? You need to study and get the Word of God deep inside of you so that when you face that issue again, you are prepared! Don't run from that battle! We need to quit running and face our enemies just like Jesus met the devil. Toe-to-toe, nose-to-nose, and it is the same Jesus inside of you. If you get that same Jesus inside of you mixed with the Word of God, then, by golly, you will never be defeated!
We need to become fanatical about our faith! As Smith Wigglesworth said, "“The secret of spiritual success is a hunger that persists . . . It is an awful condition to be satisfied with one’s spiritual attainments . . . God was and is looking for hungry, thirsty people.”
“The Bible is the Word of God: supernatural in origin, eternal in duration, inexpressible in valor, infinite in scope, regenerative in power, infallible in authority, universal in interest, personal in application, inspired in totality. Read it through, write it down, pray it in, work it out, and then pass it on. Truly it is the Word of God. It brings into man the personality of God; it changes the man until he becomes the epistle of God. It transforms his mind, changes his character, takes him on from grace to grace, and gives him an inheritance in the Spirit. God comes in, dwells in, walks in, talks through, and sups with him.”
(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add you to the list: Mail List. However, you can also find these messages at: Thought For The Day)