Part 4 of 4 in our “Pray Like Jesus” Series.
Living in Victory really isn’t that complicated. D.L. Moody once challenged an audience in this way, “Tell me, how can I get the air out of the tumbler I have in my hand?” One man suggested siphoning the air out with a pump. But Moody replied, “That would create a vacuum and shatter the glass.” After several suggestions, he picked up a pitcher and quietly filled the glass with water.
WE learn from the Bible that Jesus overcame our sin, that we are free, and that we are the sons and daughters of God! And, we now possess OVERWHELMING Victory in Christ! That’s wonderful, but knowledge and action are different things. So Jesus teaches us to turn to God for the power to live in the wonderful gifts God has provided for us.
Matthew 6:9-13 (NLT) Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. 10 May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today the food we need, 12 and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. 13 And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.
Our Debts (forgive us our sins)
God’s Forgiveness. Many try to clean up their act or improve themselves so they feel more worthy, but God desires that we simply come to Him. The only thing that keeps us chained to our sins, guilt, and shame is our unwillingness to admit that we have sinned.
Acts 10:43b NLT everyone who believes in him will have their sins forgiven through his name.
And this offer of always being able to “come clean” with God, never stops.
1 John 1:9 NLT But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.
God is an Amazing Father. As in the story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15, He waits for us to find the end of our road. And, He also waits for us to return to Him. God is not the problem in our spiritual journey. His forgiveness is so much larger than we can imagine. Consider, the guy who wrote such beautiful verses as “I can do all things through Christ” (Phil 4:13) or “When I am weak, I am strong” (2 Cor 12:10). You wouldn’t have liked him before he met Jesus. He called himself the greatest sinner of all, but God forgave him. King David went off the deep end, but God forgave Him. Never forget that God paid a ridiculous price for the privilege to forgive, and He is glad to use it.
Our Forgiveness. Another issue before us is that of extending forgiveness. There is a difference between “legal” forgiveness (or justification) and relationship. Relationships have responsibilities. For example, any friendship requires a level of openness, assistance, and conversation. Parental relationships require caregiving. Marriage relationships must have faithfulness. And Jesus makes it clear that the forgiven bear the responsibility of forgiving others. When we are unforgiving, we put our relationship with God in a very difficult place.
Our Tests (don’t let us yield to temptation)
We Can’t Overcome Temptation on Our Own. We need help seeing temptation for what it is. If temptation did not look appealing, it wouldn’t be tempting. Every fisherman knows how to use temptation to catch fish, and that is exactly what will happen to us if we mess around with temptation. WE WILL GET CAUGHT. We should avoid temptation whenever possible. Follow Doc Campbell’s advice from the 70’s TV show “Hee Haw”. When confronted with a patient who said he broke his arm in two places. The doc replied, “Well then, stay out of them places!“
1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.
How do we escape? Do something else. Change your scenery. Get off the phone or computer. Go spend time with someone. Get distracted FROM sin rather than distracted BY sin.
Our Deliverer (rescue us from the evil one)
God Delivers Us from the Evil One. God delivered Hezekiah when he was threatened by a wicked Assyrian Warlord. Hezekiah took his REALLY BIG problem to God and the next morning it was the Assyrian bully who had a problem. (Isaiah 36-37) Joshua had a problem at Jericho. There were some formidable defenses in place and his job was to overcome them. But one night while out worrying about it, he met the Commander of the Lord’s armies and realized that his problem was not Jericho’s walls, but whether or not he was on the right side of the battle lines God had drawn. (Joshua 5) And consider the story of Elisha’s servant. (II Kings 6) He woke up one morning to an army standing outside his kitchen window. But, when the day was over, he got to see what things were really like from heaven’s point of view and he never saw that army again.
So, what are WE afraid of… Jesus said He would NEVER leave us or forsake us. (Heb 13:5) The only thing in this universe worthy of our fear is God and He likes us! Why not learn to pray like champions?
- Are you are a patient person? Can you share an instance that illustrates your patience?
- Why do some people feel like they haven’t received God’s forgiveness?
- What is the connection between God’s forgiveness and forgiving others? (Matthew 6:14,15)?
- If we have been forgiven much, how does that impact our love for Jesus? (Luke 7:47)?
- Consider Matthew 18:21-25. Discuss Peter’s question, Jesus’ answer and His story.
- Discuss some tactics you have used to overcome temptation. Discuss James 4:7.
- Discuss God’s deliverance. Share Bible or personal illustrations of God’s deliverance.
- Did anything stand out in your reading today that you could share with someone else?