Stuck in the Rut and How to Get Out of it -- My Lord and Master Series
I love services that end with an altar call. This gives people the opportunity
to commit their lives to Jesus. What once was lost is found. Hallelujah! And
this particular Sunday, I had the privilege of counseling one of these young men
who had come forward and given his life to Christ.
As soon as I introduced myself, Jack (not his real name) opened up to me. With
his head hanging low, he shared with me his painful struggle with sin,
especially his sin of lust. He had tried for years to overcome it, but each time
it returned, more viciously than ever. He was hopeless. He desperately needed
Jesus' help to break free.
We prayed together and claimed Jesus' promise: "So if the Son sets you free, you
will be free indeed." (John 8:36 NIV) I never saw Jack again, but I know that if
he depends on Jesus, his victory is guaranteed. How do I know? Because I used to
have the same kind of struggle, and now I am free!
It is sad, but many believers lead a life of defeat. Sin dominates them.
Circumstances dominate them. They faithfully attend church weekly, but it seems
that something is missing in their lives. They are really no different from
those who do not know the Lord.
If you are facing defeat, and victory seems to be way out of your grasp, then
let me ask you a question: Who is really in charge of your life?
Although we are told that: "In the last days it is going to be very difficult to
be a Christian" (2 Tim 3:1 TLB), we must remember what Jesus said: "Jesus
replied, 'I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave
has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the
Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.'" (John 8:34-37 NIV)
So let me repeat my question: Who is really in charge of your life, your sin, or
Jesus? You cannot mix the holy with the filth, so it can't be both. So who is
really in charge?
Friend, are you driven by the eternal or the temporary? I know most of you wish
to be driven by the eternal, but how can you change your allegiance from sin to
It isn't easy. I know. I tried it on my own, many times, and it didn't work.
The answer is in this key Bible text: "If anyone would come after me, he must
deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." (Mark 8:34-35 NIV)
As long as we hold on to the reins of our life, we will not be following Christ.
Only by denying ourselves and accepting Jesus as Savior, Lord and Master of our
lives will victory be ours: "Overwhelming victory is ours through Christ
loved us enough to die for us." (Rom 8:37 TLB)
We were not called to be defeated. We were called to victory! How can we be
victorious? Only "through Christ who loved us enough to die for us." His death
and resurrection guarantees our victory, but it can only obtained if we deny
ourselves and follow Christ 100% of the time.
In all reality, many Christians have been deceived. They believe the devil still
has authority over them and this is why they live a life of bondage. This is far
from the truth!
There is a great difference between the word "power" (dumais in Greek) and the
word "authority" (exousia in Greek). Power means I have some ability to convince
others, and to possibly overpower them, like the power to hurt or the power to
fight. However the word authority means to have control over someone, to make
them obey, even it is reluctant obedience. The presidents, prime ministers and
kings of this world have authority over their countries. It is true that with
this authority they also have certain powers; however it is possible to have
certain powers without actually having any authority. Like the magician who has
the power of performing powerful illusions, but has no authority over any of us.
Let's look at the following text: "For he has rescued us from the dominion (exousia
or authority in English) of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son
he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." (Col 1:13-14
The original Greek text clearly tells us that the devil had authority before
Jesus' death. How did he get that authority in the first place? By deceiving
humankind in Eden (See Gen. 3:1-7 and Luke 4:5-7). However, Jesus removed his
authority at the cross. "All authority (exousia or authority in English)
heaven and on earth has been given to me." (Matt 28:18 NIV)
The good news is this: the devil no longer has authority over us! When we accept
Jesus' gift of salvation, He transfers His authority to lead victorious lives and
to overcome the power of the devil to us: "I have given you authority (exousia
or authority in English) to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all
the power (dunamis or power in English) of the enemy; nothing will harm you."
(Luke 10:19 NIV)
But what about Satan's powers?
Let's look at how the Bible describes the devil:
1. Master Liar "You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out
your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the
truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native
language, for he is a liar and the father of lies." (John 8:44 NIV)
(Be careful though. The devil always mixes truth with lies, so that it is harder
to discern his deceptions!)
2. Master Deceiver "He (satan) will go out to deceive the nations of the world…"
(Rev 20:8 TLB)
3. Steals, Kills and Destroys "The thief 's purpose is to steal, kill and
destroy." (John 10:10 TLB)
The devil may have the power to deceive and steal and kill and destroy, but he
has no authority over us.
It is possible however, for us to give authority to something that only has
power over us. Meaning, we can allow the devil to have authority over us. How?
By believing his lies. If we let him make us believe that we have no control
over our weaknesses or our sin, we will lead a life of total defeat!
How can we successfully overcome his deceptions?
1. We need to be aware of his tricks and his deceptive ways, and we must never
let our guard down: "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls
around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing
firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are
undergoing the same kind of sufferings." (1 Peter 5:8-9 NIV)
2. We need to ask God and depend on Him for victory: "This is the confidence we
have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears
us. And if we know that he hears us-whatever we ask-we know that we have what we
asked of him." (1 John 5:14-15 NIV)
3. We need to trust Him and have faith in Him: "I tell you the truth, if you
have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from
here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." (Matt
17:20 NIV) If you lack faith, claim the faith of Jesus into your life. (See Luke
4. Keep your eyes focused solely on Jesus: "Do you see what this means - all
these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means
we'd better get on with it. Strip down, start running - and never quit! No extra
spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and
finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of
where he was headed - that exhilarating finish in and with God - he could put up
with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the
place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your
faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he
plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!" (Heb 12:1-3 The
Message); "All I want is for you to be able to develop a way of life in which
you can spend plenty of time together with the Master without a lot of
distractions." (1 Cor 7:35 The Message)
Friends, we have powerful weapons at our disposal: "The weapons we fight with
are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to
demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets
itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to
make it obedient to Christ." (2 Cor 10:4-5 NIV). Let us use these to the glory
The choice is ours. We can lead a life of defeat by believing the deceptions of
the devil, or we can live a life of victory by depending solely on Jesus. Let us
pray with the authority that Jesus gave us and we will legally bind Satan! Don't
worry! God will back us up with His power!
P. S. Only by submitting ourselves to Christ's authority will His authority be
delegated to us! "'Come. Sit down. Let's argue this out.' This is GOD's Message:
'If your sins are blood-red, they'll be snow-white. If they're red like crimson,
they'll be like wool. If you'll willingly obey, you'll feast like kings. But if
you're willful and stubborn, you'll die like dogs.'" (Isa 1:18-20 The Message)