Who wants to triumph in 2018? What keys unlock that possibility? That is the essential question. And the previous posts have laid a foundation for answering it. This post will provide two things:
- The ‘T’ keys to triumph
- A helpful and practical resource based on those keys
Triumph: First Key
Many things are said to be two sides of the same coin. And those are often items people consider to be opposites like love/hate or light/dark. But the phrase can also identify things which can’t really be separated. That is the relationship with triumph & truth.
Wars have been won or lost based on the truthfulness of the information on hand for decision makers. And this idea/example is perfect for believers. The truth is, we are at war. When or if we fail to recognize that fact then victory is much less likely. Peter knew this and set the believer’s conflict in life-or-death terms (I Peter 5:8). But that’s not all.
Our enemy is the consummate liar. That assessment comes from the lips of Jesus (see John 8:44). And the larger context is Jesus’ statements about truth, lies, and liars. It is here that He told us truth will set us free (see John 8:32). Since our enemy uses lies as his weapon, it is even more imperative that we have truth as our defense.
It’s true that every person is guilty of sin. The truth is God can and will forgive that sin in Christ Jesus. So the greatest of all tragedies is the failure to accept His forgiveness. But even forgiven people still sin (fail). Those failures are tragedies unless we learn from them. Learning from those failures turns them into steps of Christian growth that we can treasure. But another ‘T’ key is required to go from treasure to triumph.
Triumph: 2nd Key
Let’s go back to our story of Muttley and Libby. The truth was, Libby weighed 80+ pounds while Muttley never weighed more than 12. Libby’s perception was the problem. She came to us as a puppy. So in her mind’s eye Muttley was always the BIG DOG. From time to time it was a funny thing to watch. But applied to this discussion it is frustrating, sad, and needless. That’s easy to see if we change the names of the characters vai al sito.
Let’s put Satan in the place of Muttley. And let’s put the believer in Libby’s place. We were born into Satan’s sinful world with its sinful goals and sinful thinking. Every believer did some growing up in the enemy’s world learning the enemy’s ways. Keeping with our illustration, he was the Big Dog. And our problem is the one Libby suffered from: perspective.
It would have taken something extraordinary to convince her of the truth: she was the BIG DOG – by at least 65 pounds! For every believer, salvation is that extraordinary thing. But that makes thinking in new, truthful ways possible. It’s not automatic and it’s not easy. In fact, this will be a constant struggle based on the comments of the Apostle Paul in Romans 7:15-20. But Paul didn’t just talk about the problem. He also addressed the solution.
The key that is hidden in plain sight can be found in Romans 12:1-2. Do you see the ‘T’ word? Our thinking (minds) must be transformed. That is what allows us to have the mind of Christ (see I Corinthians 2:16). So how can our minds (thinking) be transformed? The first ‘T’ key, truth, is part of the answer.
Failure to transform our thinking is tragic. It relegates us to a life marked by the Christian Identity Crisis. In order to have triumph (victory) in our lives, we must know Whose we are. We must know who and what we can be in Christ. And this is where the truth that defends us becomes the weapon of our warfare! So how does transformation occur? Are there practical steps? Is there a historical precedent?
Christian Identity Crisis
Practical steps do exist. And we have historical examples. One of the most obvious examples can be seen in a high overview of Scripture. The 7 Churches are addressed in Revelation 2 & 3. It is significant that these letters were written at the close of the Biblical record. What we see in Revelation 3:1 is an identity crisis. The Church in question was operating on the false assumption of life. Jesus said this church was dead. Those are two very different identities. But this kind of identity crisis was not a new thing.
Way back in Leviticus 18:1-4 we can see God calling His people to be His unique possession. As their Covenant God, He demanded they act like His children. Their actions were to confirm WHOSE they were. His people were required to live differently than those around them. Those things didn’t really change all through Scripture. So what happened between Leviticus 18 and Revelation 3?
God’s people became forgetful. That’s a human frailty. Then their forgetfulness became intentional. And that turned ‘forgetful’ into disobedience. But sinful people weren’t finished. They turned disobedience into idolatry. This list will let you see it quickly:
- Psalm 106:35
- Jeremiah 2:32
- I Samuel 8:19
- Ezekiel 20:32
But God never stopped loving His forgetful and wayward people. He continued to call them into covenantal obedience. That’s what we see in places like Jeremiah 10:1-2 and Ezekiel 20:7. But sinful people continued in their disobedience and God’s judgment inevitably fell on them:
- Israel judged – 2 Kings 17
- Judah judged – Ezekiel chapters 5 & 11
And it is quite interesting that the New Testament opens with words that remind us of Leviticus 18. Notice what Jesus had to say when He arrived on the scene:
- Matthew 4:17
- Matthew 6:8
It is a familiar and constant theme. And the theme extends to us. We think differently and live differently by faith. And what is faith?
Faith is acting like what God has said is really true!
Faith, like love, is seen in actions. It’s easy to see and learn. But we know we have believed when we act. So what has God said? What is it we need to act on in order to renew our minds?
Triumph: Practical Help
What follows is the opening of a much larger piece I prepared for a Fall sermon. Going through this list on a daily basis will transform one’s thinking. Why? It’s 100% the truth of God’s Word. It blessed and challenged me to put it together. The best thing anyone can do is put together a similar list on their own. But that will take time. In a day or two my entire list will be available for download. In the meantime, enjoy this segment and use it to spark your own work!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Who Am I In Christ?
I am Adopted – Galatians 4:6 –
- to be an Ambassador – 2 Corinthians 5:20 –
- of Almighty God – Genesis 17:1; Revelation 4:8 –
- and because of the One Who is Alive Forevermore – Revelation 1:18 –
And…I am Bought With A Price – I Corinthians 6:19-20 –
- By the Bearer of my sins – Isaiah 53:12; I Peter 2:24 –
- the Beautiful One – Psalm 27:4, 90:17; Isaiah 28:5 –
- and in the Beauty of His Holiness…
I am a Child of God – John 1:12; Romans 8:16; Galatians 3:26; Ephesians 1:5
- Called According to His Plan – Romans 8:28
- Complete in the fullness of Christ – Colossians 2:9-10
- Capable: I can do all things through Christ Who gives me strength – Philippians 4:13
- And I am Content to cast all my cares – Psalm 55:22; I Peter 5:7 – on the Chief Cornerstone – Isaiah 28:16; Ephesians 2:20
I am sure you can add to this…but I’ll get the finished piece up just in case! Happy New Year!!!