Victory Steps

27 November 2016 AM – James 4:7-10 – Jas16 – Scott Childs

Introduction: Bible heroes like Joshua, Gideon and David defeated overwhelming enemies because God was with them. In Romans 8:31 we read, “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” We too can defeat overwhelming temptations if we follow God’s instructions and let Him take control.

Transition: This morning we are going to examine God’s 6 Victory Steps to overcome selfish lusts.

1.        Submit to God

a.         Note first the word “therefore”
1)         “Therefore” ties this verse with the previous section on selfish lusts. Last week we learned that selfish lusts are the roots of all conflicts. Our selfish lusts cause conflicts, they do not satisfy and they destroy spirituality. Thankfully, God gives more grace to the humble.
2)         In verses 7-10, James is giving us God’s prescription for victory over selfish lusts.
b.         Let’s take look at the word “submit”
1)         Submit means to give in to another’s control. It is arranging yourself under another’s authority. It is obeying.
2)         The word is a command in the passive voice. That means God is commanding us to allow ourselves to be subjected to Him. Our pride often keeps us from submitting to God. We want to do things our way.
a)         To allow yourself to be subject to God you must first recognize God’s sovereign authority over you. He created you. He sustains you day by day. If you are saved, He paid your sin debt and you now belong to Him. He has the right to tell you what to do.
b)         You then must humbly obey, even when you do not feel like it.
3)         During conflicts, we often make bad choices. We say the wrong thing. We respond selfishly. God is telling us that the first step to victory is to allow him to control us. We must let Him lead and guide. We must pray as did the Psalmist. (Ps 119:133) “Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.” (Ps 86:11) “Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.” (Ps 19:14) “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.”

2.        Resist the devil

a.         The devil is fueling our selfish lusts
1)         Back in James 1:14-15 we learned that we are tempted by our lusts.
2)         Then James told us in Jas 3:15 that human wisdom that promotes bitter envy and strife is encouraged by the world the flesh and the devil.
3)         While our flesh is much to blame for selfish lusts, the devil is also actively working against us. Peter also warned us of this. (1Pet 5:8) “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”
b.         We must resist the devil
1)         Resist means to set one’s self against, to oppose, to refuse to obey, to “say NO”.
2)         When the devil encourages us to obey our selfish lusts and to return evil for evil, we must refuse to obey him.
a)         (2Tim 2:22) “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” Run, walk away, leave.
b)         Jesus resisted the devil by quoting Bible verses. If you do not have Bible verses memorised that will help you when selfish lusts tempt you to argue and fight, you are in danger. You need to memorise some!

3.        Draw near to God

a.         This means to get close to God.
1)         If you are saved, the Holy Spirit lives in you – you live in the Spirit (Gal 5:25)
2)         To have victory, you must walk in the Spirit – you must walk in harmony or closeness with Him. (Gal 5:16) “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.”
b.         Staying close to God takes work
1)         To get close to another person you must spend time together, fellowship, talk, share, listen, open up to them.
2)         The same is true with God. Read His Word, talk with Him, thank Him, praise Him, worship Him, share your thoughts and burdens with Him.
3)         In this case, run to Him for protection as a chick hides under its mother’s wings for protection.

4.        Clean your hands & purify your heart

a.         Understand the picture
1)         Your hands represent things you DO. (Outside)
2)         Your heart represents things you THINK. (Inside)
3)         What does cleaning and purifying do? It gets rid of the dirt. God is talking about getting rid of the sinful dirt in your life.
b.         Take action
1)         Get on your knees before God and tell him what you have done wrong. Confess your selfish lusts and wicked habits as filthy sin.
2)         Do not be too proud to admit your wrongs to God and to ask Him to forgive you. (Proverbs 28:13) “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.”

5.        Be afflicted and mourn and weep

a.         View sinful lusts from God’s perspective
1)         When someone lies about you or says bad things about you, it hurts deeply.
2)         When we sin, we hurt God. If we continue in known sin, it is like spitting in God’s face.
b.         We ought to feel miserable about our sins.
1)         Selfish lusts and other sins offend God and hurt us and often hurt others.
2)         Our sin ought to afflict us. We ought to cry over our sin and be truly sorry for it. We should cry as David did over his sin with Bathsheba. (Ps 51:1-3) “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.”
3)         You may never get victory over that sinful habit or selfish lust until you see it as wicked and evil enough to weep and cry over.

6.        Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord

a.         What does this really mean?
1)         James began the victory steps with submit yourself and he ends them with humble yourself.
2)         Humble means to lower yourself in the sight of the Lord. Again this is a command in the passive voice – you must allow yourself to be lowered in the presence of the Lord. Admit your failures. Stop making excuses for your sin. Seek God’s forgiveness and His victory strength.
3)         God does not help those who think they know how to handle their own conflicts. He helps those who see themselves as helpless and who depend on God for help.
b.         God will lift you up
1)         He will forgive your humble confessions.
2)         He will give you victory over selfish lusts.

Conclusion: If selfish lusts or other sins have overcome you, this morning you need to submissively allow God to take control, resist the devil, draw near to God, clean your hands and heart, sorrowfully repent and seek God’s forgiveness. Stop making excuses. Let God give you victory!

If you are not a Christian, many sins have piled up in your life and you cannot get rid of them or their guilt by yourself. Jesus, God’s Son, came to earth 2000 years ago. He lived a perfect life, died to pay for your sins, and rose to life again to give you eternal life in heaven. If you will humble yourself before God, believe that Jesus died for your sins, admit your sin to him, and ask him to save you, he will.

Song: I Surrender All – 394