Friday, April 30, 2010

Expectations of Victory

Romans 8
In everything we have won more than a victory because of Christ who loves us. 38I am sure that nothing can separate us from God's love--not life or death, not angels or spirits, not the present or the future, 39and not powers above or powers below. Nothing in all creation can separate us from God's love for us in Christ Jesus our Lord! (CEV)

We all have sinned. We all fall into temptation. Our struggles are daily and never once do they relent. It's never one specific temptation either; it varies from person to person, in frequency, duration, and strength. Without God, there is no way any person in this world can stand up to sin.

There's the key phrase: "Without God". We trust in Him and give our problems to Him, and in Him our battles become victories. Look at verse 37: "we have won more than a victory". The connotation of that phrase goes beyond simply winning a battle against sin; it implies that we know that we will win the fight. We expect the victory.

Too many times have Christians around us (and many times, even ourselves) have fallen to the false belief that sin has power over them. This Scripture screams "NO!!"; we not only can win against sin, but if we simply believe in Christ's death on the cross, we WILL win every time, no questions asked.

Different translations use the phrase "more than conquerors"; name some people who were conquerors in your mind. Alexander the Great? Atilla the Hun? King Leonidas? (for all my fellow 300 fans) How about Christ? He conquered the grave, set all us sinners free, and made it "easy" to live good lives. But at what price?

Mt. 5:48-" Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." (NIV)

Perfection is impossible, but its a goal nevertheless. It's what shapes our stories. As a screenwriter, it is encouraged for a good story to have a character to have an external goal to reach to satisfy some sort of internal need, the goal is of course blocked by opposition and the need is blocked by some sort of character flaw.

Goal- Do good in life; avoid temptation
Opposition- Satan, who brings temptation
Need- To be perfect as God is
Flaw- Sin

We go through the entire story of our lives attempting to find this goal, though many times we have other flaws in our character such as pessimism, passiveness, apathy, etc. We find ourselves in the crisis of no hope for ourselves, but then there is the realization:

Christ died for us because He loved us and He doesn't want us to have to fight battle after battle! His Love set us free! And we are free indeed! Free to expect that whenever sin comes even a fraction of an inch closer to our hearts, that we can say "No!" and know that God's Love makes it so that, if we believe and expect the victory, there's no way for us to lose the battle.

So go with the knowledge that God is for us, and sin has nothing that can stand up to His Love for us. As a final thought, here is an excerpt from John Mark McMillan's powerful song "How He Loves":

We are his portion and He is our prize
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes
If grace is an ocean we're all sinking
So Heaven meets Earth like a [passionate]* kiss
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest
I don't have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way
He loves us

* original- sloppy wet

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