Lesson 12: The Way of Victory
From the very moment you took the Lord Jesus as your Savior, you have been on the narrow road that leads to Heaven. Along the way, you and I will meet other Christians who are also on the road to Heaven.
It is wonderful to be a child of God, but we must realize that the road to Heaven will not be easy. Why? Because we have great enemies.
The Bible tells us about three great enemies of the Christian:
- the world
- the flesh,
- and the devil.
What do these enemies do? They try to get us to sin; they try to draw us away from God. But God has made a way for us to have victory over them.
Let us see how we can overcome these three enemies.
Our Enemy: the World
The Bible uses the word "world" in several different ways. Sometimes it refers to this earth which God created. Sometimes it refers to the people in the world, as in John 3:16, where the Bible says, "For God so loved the world. . ."
A third meaning is found in 1 John 2:15 where the Bible says, "Love not the world. . ." What is the meaning of "the world" here? It means the attractive things of the world which Satan uses to draw us away from God.
God wants us to love Him with all our heart. Jesus said that the first and great commandment is,
"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind." (Matthew 22:37)
Satan does not want us to love God, so he used the attractive things of the world to draw us away from loving God and wanting to do His will.
What are some of the things Satan uses to draw us away from God? Satan may use money, business, sports, pleasure, television, or anything else that can capture our heart-interest.
A particular thing may not be sinful in itself, but when it begins to captivate us and to take first place in our life, it becomes sinful for us. Anything that we love more than we love God is sinful for us. The Bible says,
"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." 1 John 2:15
God wants us to overcome the world with all its sinful attractions. The Bible says that Christ "gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world." (Galatians 1:4)
How can we overcome "the world"? We overcome the world by loving the Lord Jesus with all our heart. The world has many attractive things and sinful pleasures, but they can never satisfy our heart.
Only Christ can truly satisfy our heart.
Think of Christ's great love for you. As you think of how much He loved you and how He suffered and died for you, you will love Him more and more.
Think of the riches that you have in Christ. Think of all that God has given you and all that He has planned for you. The Bible says,
"Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth." Colossians 3:2
Our Enemy: the Flesh
The second great enemy of the Christian is the enemy within us — "the flesh."
What is "the flesh"? The flesh is what we are on the inside. It is our sinful self-life or SELF.
The root cause of all our sins is SELF. We want to have our own way. We are selfish and self-centered. We want to be honored and looked up to. We hate to see others get ahead of us or have something we don't have.
We are easily offended. We hold bitterness and unforgiveness against others who may have wronged us. When we do something wrong, we excuse ourselves or blame somebody else.
When we do not get our way, we sulk or pout, or flare up with anger.
The worst thing about SELF is this: SELF takes the throne of our heart that belongs to Jesus Christ. It is SELF that says, "I will do what I want to do!" SELF will never obey God! The Bible says,
"The carnal mind (SELF) is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." Romans 8:7
As believers, God expects us to live differently from our former way of living.
Christ is to be on the throne of our heart, not SELF. We are to live for Him, not for ourselves.
With God's help and by His power, we can say NO to SELF and YES to the Lord Jesus. Christ must reign in my life, not SELF. The Lord Jesus said,
"If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself (SELF), and take up his cross daily, and follow Me."
Our Enemy: the Devil
The greatest enemy of the Christian is the devil. He is also called Satan. The Bible says of him,
"Your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour."
1 Peter 5:8
When you took Christ as your Savior, you took a step that made Satan very angry. You left him and joined those who trust in the Lord Jesus.
Satan knows that he cannot keep you from going to Heaven, but he will still do all he can to tempt you to sin.
How does Satan tempt us? He tempts us by putting wrong thoughts into our minds. Satan can do this himself or he can use things such as the movies, television, filthy reading material or ungodly friends to put wrong thoughts into our minds.
Satan will tempt you with immorality and sex sins. He may tempt you to use drugs or alcohol. He knows that these things will destroy your body and your mind.
Satan has other ways of attacking you. When you sin, Satan will try to make you think that God is angry with you and that He will not forgive you. Satan will try to make you doubt God's Word and doubt your salvation.
Satan will try to discourage you and make you fearful and afraid. Satan is a terrible enemy!
Can we defeat Satan by ourselves?
No, we cannot. He is much too powerful for us.
But here is good news: Christ has already defeated the devil for us! When the Lord Jesus rose from the dead, He rose victorious over Satan and all the powers of darkness. Satan is a defeated foe!
Since Christ is our Savior and we belong to Him, we share His victory over Satan. Christ's victory is our victory. The Lord Jesus has set us free from Satan's authority.
Satan is a defeated enemy! Though Satan still temporarily rules over the world, he has been defeated by the Lord Jesus. His future has been determined. Satan and all his followers will be cast into the lake of fire.
For the time being, however, Satan is the powerful and deadly enemy of every believer. But we do not have to be afraid of him because Christ lives in us and He is greater and stronger than Satan.
The Bible says,
"Greater is He (Christ) that is in you, than he (Satan) that is in the world."
1 John 4:4
What does this verse mean?
It means that Christ who lives in us is greater and stronger than Satan who is in the world.
Christ can break the power of any temptation. He can set us free from any sin that binds us.
The one thing we must do to have victory over Satan's temptation is to look to Jesus for victory.
We look to Him for victory
- by knowing that He lives in us, and
- by trusting Him to give us the victory.
A little girl had learned this secret. She said, "When Satan knocks at the door of my heart to get me to do wrong things, I just say, 'Lord Jesus, will You please open the door.'
"When Satan sees the Lord Jesus, he bows low and says, 'I'm sorry, but I have come to the wrong place,' and he leaves."
What was this little girl's secret? It was this: she recognized that Christ was living in her heart, and she trusted Him to give her victory over Satan's temptations. This is what we must do.