I asked Leigh O’Dell, one of our lawyers in the firm’s Mass Torts Section, to write the parting words section this month. Fortunately for our readers, she graciously agreed to do so.
Living The Victorious Christian Life
Over recent weeks, I have thoroughly enjoyed watching the Winter Olympics. From the artistry of figure skating to the power of downhill ski racers to the amazing tricks of snowboarders and ski jumpers, I have been in awe of the skill, strength, creativity, and incredible God-given talent of the athletes. As much as I wish I could, I know that in my own life I will never be able to match their achievements. I don’t have the talent or time or opportunity. Have you ever had that thought about another believer? Have you looked at another brother or sister in Christ and thought it would be impossible to have the close relationship with the Lord that they have? Thankfully, there is no limit on how we can grow in our relationship with the Lord. We are not limited by talent or opportunity. Each of us can live the victorious Christian life – win the gold spiritually. But, as athletes train and discipline themselves in order to reach their athletic goals. We too must train spiritually in order to live victoriously.
Remember the Cross. Jesus in obedience to the Father and because of His great love for you and me gave His life in a horrible death on the cross. Isaiah 53 says, “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” Why? Why would Jesus, the Son of God, do this for you and for me? “In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loves us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:9-10, 19). God loves you and me. And to find proof of His love, we need to look no further than the cross. Have you placed your faith in Jesus? Have you accepted His gift of love on the cross? To live victoriously, to live with a right perspective of who we are in Christ, remember the cross.
Repent of Sin. Jill Briscoe, a great Bible teacher, often says, “God can use a broken vessel but not a dirty one.” When we place our faith in Christ, we are forgiven of our sins. Jesus’ sacrifice paid our sin debt in full, once and for all. But our daily struggle with sin remains until we see Jesus face-to-face. Therefore, we need to keep a short account with the Lord of our sin. The victorious, effective Christian life is available to all those who place their faith in Jesus, but in order to walk it out on the daily anvil of life, we must recognize the sin in our life for what it is and daily (or even moment-by-moment) repent of our sin. Like a ski racer with something on his skis which hinder his speed and power, sin hinders our relationship with the Lord and we lose our effectiveness in service. Is there any sin that is hindering your fellowship with the Lord Jesus? Repent. If we confess our sins, Jesus is faithful and will forgive us. (I John 1:9) Praise the Lord!
Read God’s Word. Shortly before Jesus went to the cross, He told His disciples, “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in my love. . . . You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.” (John 14:10, 14). We show our love for Jesus by keeping His commands. As we keep His commands, we grow in our relationship with Him. The Bible is the revealed Word of God. In effect, the Bible is our “play book” for life. God speaks to us through His Word. Quality time in God’s Word on a daily basis is essential to walking in victory in our Christian life.
Resolve to Pray without ceasing. Jesus’ time on earth is marked by prayer to the Father. Throughout the Gospels, we read about instances where Jesus drew away from others and prayed. (Matt. 14:23; Mark 1:35; Luke 6:12). If the Lord needed to pray, how much more do we need that time of fellowship with the Father? How much more do we need His wisdom and power? His comfort and encouragement? In the frenetic pace of life, times of solitude in prayer can be hard to maintain, but they are mission-critical to our love relationship with the Lord.
Rejoice Always. Philippians 4:4 commands us, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” In the ups and downs of life, it is easy to become so focused on our circumstances that we forget to praise the Lord. Praising the Lord puts our circumstances into perspective. Rejoicing raises our spiritual eyes to His sovereignty, His omniscience, His power and takes our eyes off our limited resources. As we rejoice in Him, our spirits are lifted, our perspective adjusted, and our hearts filled with joy.
Do you desire to live a spiritual life full of power and effective service? Do you want to walk in victory in Christ? Because of His victory over sin and death, we can live victoriously in Him here on earth. But to do so, we must remember the cross, repent, read His Word, resolve to pray, and rejoice. Don’t settle for a mediocre Christian life. Go for the gold . . . embark on the victorious Christian life today.
February 25, 2010
All I can say after what Leigh wrote is – Amen! What a powerful message! May God bless each of you and your families during the coming weeks.
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