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Joshua 1:7,8 - Most people want to succeed in some area: business, family relations, music, athletics, politics, education, etc. God promised Joshua he could succeed in the most important activity in life: serving God.
People who are not Christians are sometimes overwhelmed by the sacrifices Christians must make, the work to do, habits to change. They become so discouraged they do not even try.
Christians may also become discouraged as they try to live for God and find they have failed in some area. Some give up entirely. Others pretend to serve God while living in sin and excusing themselves by saying they simply cannot accomplish what the Bible says.
These blessings are available to everyone. We must meet conditions that require effort and sacrifice, but all of us are capable of meeting these conditions. You can have God's power working in your life!
Consider the Bible promises. Note words referring to power, strength, and ability in these verses.
Some people get confused by the different teachings they hear. They say, "I don't believe I can ever understand the Bible. One person teaches it one way and the next teaches it differently. I'll never know what to believe." But God can meet this need.
2 Timothy 3:15-17 - The Scriptures are inspired of God and able to make us wise to salvation. They are profitable to provide us to every good work.
1 Corinthians 2:4,5 - Paul's preaching was in the demonstration of the Spirit and power, so our faith can stand in the power of God.
Romans 1:16 - The gospel is the power of God to save those who believe. But faith comes by hearing God's word (10:17). The gospel is able to produce true faith in the heart of any honest person.
By human power alone truly we never could determine how to obtain eternal life. But God meets our needs by giving us the means to know and believe the truth if we study diligently with an honest, open heart.
[Mark 7:14; Eph. 3:3-5; John 8:31,32; Isaiah 55:11]
John 1:12 - Jesus gave the right ("power") to become children of God, to those who believe in His name. Faith alone, without obedience, does not make one a child of God, but simply gives the power to become a child.
1 Peter 1:22,23 - The power to make us children of God is in God's spiritual seed, His word. To be purified and born again, we must obey the truth. This includes repenting, confessing, and being baptized (Acts 2:38; 22:16; 17:30; Mark 16:16; Rom. 10:9,10).
Hebrews 7:25 - Jesus is able to save us to the uttermost. By human power alone we could never obtain forgiveness and become children of God. But God has made this power available to us.
People often excuse their sins saying obedience is just too hard. "I just can't do it. God will just have to understand." We may even blame God for being too demanding.
1 Corinthians 10:13 - God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. This is true of every temptation. We can be sure this is true because it is based on God's faithfulness.
Ephesians 6:10-18 - The Lord provides strength and power such that we are able to stand against the power of Satan. We can quench every one of his fiery darts (temptations). Again, this is not possible by human power. Perhaps Satan can defeat us if we face him alone, but we can succeed by the power of God's armor.
These verses teach that a Christian can overcome every temptation. There is never any excuse for committing even one single sin. In practice we all commit sin, because we fail to use the weapons properly (1 John 1:8,10). But this is not necessary. If we believe our human nature compels us to sin and nothing can be done about it, we are looking at human power when we should be looking at God's power.
[James 4:7; 2 Cor. 10:4,5; Jude 24]
Often hardship, grief, sickness, and persecution tempt us to quit serving God. We think, "What's the use?"
2 Corinthians 1:3-10 - Paul suffered beyond power such that he despaired of life. Someone may ask, "Doesn't that prove there are temptations which are beyond our power?" Yes, perhaps we may face temptations beyond our power, but not beyond God's power. Paul here says we should learn to trust in God.
Romans 8:31-39 - No suffering or hardship of any kind is able to separate us from God's love. Rather, we are more than conquerors! We can defeat them all if we are on God's side.
Nowhere does God say He will remove all our problems. Rather He promises we can endure, remain faithful, and receive eternal life despite our problems.
[Phil. 4:11-13; Heb. 11:34]
Discouragement sometimes comes when we try to help others, but we see no positive results. We may decide to quit trying, thinking, "It just doesn't do any good."
2 Corinthians 9:8-10 - God is able to supply all our need, so we can abound in every good work and increase the fruits of righteousness.
John 15:4-8 - Jesus is like the vine that supplies the needs of the branches. Apart from Him, acting by human power alone, we can do nothing. But in Him we can bear much fruit.
2 Timothy 2:2 - Faithful men shall be able to teach others. This is part of the power God promises us.
Romans 15:14 - We shall be able to admonish one another. As in other areas, degrees of ability will vary, but all can develop some ability in teaching.
There is no need for Christians to live barren, unfruitful lives. We can accomplish much good for God if we will make use of His power.
[2 Thess. 1:11,12; 1 Peter 4:11; 2 Tim. 1:7,8; 2 Cor. 1:4]
Ephesians 3:20,21 - God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think according to His power that works in us.
Philippians 4:13 - I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
1 Peter 1:3-5 - By God's power we are guarded to an eternal and incorruptible inheritance in heaven.
2 Peter 1:3 - His power grants us all things that pertain to life and godliness.
The Bible nowhere teaches that it is impossible for a child of God to fall from grace. But it most certainly teaches that it is not necessary for us to fall!
[Mark 9:23; Isaiah 40:28-31; Eph. 1:19,20; Acts 20:32; Jude 24]
This power does us no good unless we know how to obtain it. As we study the methods God uses, note that all of them require effort on our part. There are conditions we must meet in order to have God's power.
1 Corinthians 1:18,23,24 - The power of God is the word of the cross, the message of Christ crucified.
Hebrews 7:25; 9:14 - Jesus' sacrifice is able to save to the uttermost.
"There is power in the blood." But the power is conditional. To receive it, you must repent and be baptized (see earlier discussion). If we sin afterward, we must repent and pray (Acts 8:22; 1 John 1:9).
Ephesians 3:16,17 - We may be strengthened in the inner man, being rooted and grounded in love [cf. v19-21]. All of us need to know that we are loved and cared for.
When a person knows he is wrong, he may not care if he does more wrong. He is already alienated, so what will it hurt? But when he knows he has been right and he feels a sense of being loved, he does not want to do anything to break that bond.
1 John 4:9,19; 5:3 - God loves us so much that He gave Jesus to die for us. This knowledge compels us to love God and obey Him. People in sin often talk about the sense of loneliness they feel, knowing they are alienated from God.
Love is a powerful motivation. God's love is the most powerful love there is. It is a bond that draws us to God and motivates us to serve Him successfully. But there are conditions: love must lead to obedience.
Romans 1:16 - The gospel is the power of God unto salvation.
1 Corinthians 1:18 - The word of the cross is the power of God.
Ephesians 6:13-17 - Every part of the armor of God is related directly or indirectly to the word: loins girt with truth, feet shod with the preparation of the gospel, the sword which is the word, etc.
Further, the Scriptures are involved in every area in which we need power: they are the basis of knowledge and faith, they tell us how to become children of God, they strengthen us to overcome temptation and comfort us in trouble, etc. [Matt. 4:4,7,10; Rom. 15:4]
Joshua 1:7,8 - To be successful in God's work, Joshua had to meditate on God's law. Again, the power of the word is conditional. We must study and follow the word in order to benefit from the power it provides.
[James 1:21-25; Acts 18:27,28; 20:32; Rom. 15:14; 2 Tim. 3:15-17; Heb. 4:12f; 1 Cor. 10:12f; 16:13]
Ephesians 6:18 - There is power in God's armor, but we are to take it on with prayer. We should make our requests known so God can supply what we need to serve Him.
Psalms 138:3 - In the day when I cried out, You answered me, And made me bold with strength in my soul.
James 5:16 - The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
There is no need to bear our burdens alone. We can give them to God. But again there are conditions. We must use the privilege of prayer.
Too many of us are like a man with a powerful automobile who, instead of getting in and turning on the engine, stands behind the car pushing it. He tries to do it all himself and gets nowhere.
[1 Peter 5:7,8; Col. 1:9-11; 2 Thess. 1:11; Phil. 4:6,7]
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 - Two are better than one. If one falls, his companion can lift him up. An enemy might prevail against one alone, but instead there are two to withstand him. A threefold cord is not easily broken. There is strength in working together.
Galatians 6:2 - Christians bear one another's burdens.
2 Corinthians 1:4 - They comfort one another in times of affliction. Sometimes our problems are bigger than we can handle alone. We need help. But remember, if we want others to help us, we need to be willing to help them when they have needs.
Hebrews 10:23-25 - One excellent time to strengthen one another is when the church meets. We can provoke one another to love and good works. We can exhort one another.
Again, the strength God supplies is conditional. We must make use of it. Strangely, many Christians neglect or flat refuse to use this source of strength at the very times they need it most. Facing the greatest spiritual dangers of their lives, when they are tempted to fall away, they neglect to attend church meetings.
We can only be strong when we use what God provides to make us strong!
[Heb. 3:12-14; Eph. 4:16; Col. 3:16; Rom. 15:14]
2 Peter 1:8-11 - The desire to enter the everlasting kingdom motivates us to make our calling and election sure by developing the needed qualities in our lives. Instead of being near-sighted, we should keep our eyes on our goal.
1 Corinthians 9:25 - Goals motivate us to work hard, as illustrated by athletes. Without a clear vision of our goal, we may easily give up in hardship. With a clear and valuable goal, we are strongly motivated to persevere.
Matthew 6:24,33 - But again there are conditions. We must keep our eye on the goal and not become overly involved in affairs of this life. We cannot serve two masters, but must seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. We must keep our priorities straight.
[1 Peter 1:3-5; Acts 20:32; Jude 24]
Acts 10:34,35 - God is no respecter of persons. In every nation, those who fear Him and work righteousness are accepted by Him. Everyone can serve God successfully. This is not just for other people. It includes you and me. [2 Peter 3:9; 1 Tim. 2:4,6; Titus 2:11-14; Acts 2:38,39; Mark 16:15,16; Matt. 28:18-20; Rom. 1:16]
Why then are so many people being defeated in God's service? Because they are not using the armor properly!
Suppose a powerful enemy is coming to attack your city, destroy your wives and children, causing great pain and grief. The enemy has a powerful weapon which your army is convinced it cannot defeat.
Then the soldiers learn of someone who has a powerful new weapon. Everywhere it has been used, the enemy has been defeated.
The new weapon is obtained so every soldier can have one. The weapons come with an instruction manual. Meetings are set up so the soldiers can learn how to use the weapon. Your army can successfully win the victory! All the soldiers have to do is attend the meetings, study the manual, and use the weapons provided.
Would you want those soldiers to stay home from 1/2 to 2/3 of the meetings, when they could come? Should they daydream through the meetings? Should they take the manuals home, lay them on the shelf, and rarely read them?
The enemy is Satan. You and I are the soldiers. We will surely lose, not just our lives, but our souls eternally unless we learn how to defeat Satan's forces. God has provided armor that is guaranteed to defeat Satan, but we must learn to use it. It comes with a manual we must study - the Bible. The church is instructed to provide meetings so we can learn to use the weapons.
You can successfully win the battle against Satan by the means God has supplied. Are you studying and attending the meetings diligently so you can be successful? Are you as diligent as you would want soldiers to be if they were defending you and your family in wartime? Have you even yet enlisted in the army?
Copyright 1984, 1996, 2005,David E. Pratte; www.gospelway.com
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Scripture quotations are generally from the New King James Version (NKJV), copyright 1982, 1988 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. used by permission. All rights reserved.