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Tag Archives: victory in Christ

Human Yet Victorious

I’m so glad that the Holy Spirit doesn’t whitewash the lives of the great men and women of the Bible.  He lets us see them for who they truly are.  By showing us their strengths and weaknesses, we can identify with them and follow their examples.

We see this in the life of Paul the Apostle as we continue to look at his second letter to the Corinthian church.

Now when I went to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ and found that the Lord had opened a door for me, I still had no peace of mind, because I did not find my brother Titus there.  So I said good-by to them and went on to Macedonia.
2 Corinthians 2:12-13

I find this verse to be very eye-opening.  On the one hand, Paul acknowledges that it’s the Lord opening up a door of ministry for him in Troas.  On the other hand, he had no peace of mind as he ministered in that city.

Why was that?  It was all because of his anxiety over the whereabouts of his spiritual son, Titus.  They were supposed to meet up in Troas, but Titus never arrived.

I think that we sometimes get too comfortable with the modern convenience of our smartphones.  A simple text message, “Where are you?  I just got to Troas.  What’s your ETA?” can alleviate a lot of worries.

Back then, all they could do was to set a time and place to meet up.  Then, if one didn’t show up, there was no way of finding out what the problem was.

In Paul’s case, he started to get anxious and worried about all the possibilities that could have caused this delay.  However, Paul overrides all of this anxiety by his next statement.

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.
2 Corinthians 2:14

The next words out of his mouth are an acknowledgment of the victory he has in Christ Jesus.  The phrase, triumphal procession, means a victory parade.

That’s just like when a team wins the Superbowl or the World Series.  They come back to their city and have a massive parade in the streets.  That’s what Paul is talking about here.

We need to learn this lesson.  We’re never called to deny what we’re going through.  We don’t have to pretend that everything is flowers and butterflies.  We can speak the truth of the challenge we’re facing, as long as we then declare the victory that Christ has already won.

“The doctor just gave me a bad report, but Praise God, Christ is my Healer and He has the final word.”

That’s why it’s so important to know who you are in Christ.  It’s His victory that we’re walking in.  We must learn to declare what He’s done for us.

Paul explained what Christ did in another of his letters.

And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
Colossians 2:15

This is the victory that the Lord won for us.  It’s important to see this truth.

Never deny the challenge that you face.  But, at the same time, never forget to declare the victory that Christ gives you over it.

You’ll find that this changes your whole outlook on the future.

Questions: What challenges do you face right now?  What victory has Christ already won for you?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2020 in Faith, Spiritual Walk

 

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Our Victory is in Christ

Now that we’ve seen the war against the flesh and the world, we’ll move on to the final battle.  We’re in a war against the spiritual forces of the kingdom of Satan.

As I’ve already written about, the people around us are not the enemy.  They’re prisoners of war in the spiritual battle.  They’re being held captive by the world system under the control of the devil.

It’s up to us, God’s people, to set them free and bring them to the cross.  That’s where they can find true salvation for their souls.

In order for that to happen, there are some things that we need to understand.  We can’t go into this battle with only half the information.

The first thing that we have to realize is that Christ has already won the war.

And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
Colossians 2:15

Jesus Christ has once and for all won the victory over all the power of the enemy kingdom.  However, that doesn’t mean that the fighting has stopped.

Just like in WWII, when the Axis powers collapsed, the Allied forces had to mop up the remaining troops.  They had to enter the concentration camps and free the surviving prisoners.  That’s where we are in the spiritual war today.

The trouble is that even in defeat, the enemy is dangerous.  He wants as few people as possible to be set free by the knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Just how do we thwart the devil’s plans?  The Lord already took care of this.  Look at what Christ said to His followers.

“I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.”
Luke 10:19

The same power over the enemy that the Lord walked in has been conferred upon us.  We have authority over the enemy’s kingdom.  Of course, the devil would like that to remain a carefully guarded secret.

As long as we look to the future for our victory, we’ll never see the enemy kingdom back down.  We must learn to walk in the authority of Christ that we’ve already been given.

We need to see a God’s-eye-view of the spiritual war.

“…I will build my church, and the gates of Hades [Hell] will not overcome it.”
Matthew 16:18b

We have to come to the realization that the gates of Hell don’t move.  They don’t attack the church.  These gates are fixed around what the enemy already possesses and he’s trying to keep hold of.

The gates of Hell are around our centers of education.  They surround our political systems.  They’re also around our entertainment industry.

What we need to see is that it’s not an insurmountable obstacle.  The gates of Hell – all the power of the enemy – cannot withstand an attack by God’s people walking in the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

Too often we try to infiltrate these areas of society using the rules of the world.  That’s why we only achieve limited success.  We need to learn to take this battle into the spiritual realm.

I’m going to take a few posts to talk about what God has given us in order to walk in the victory that Christ has already won for us.

Question: What are the spiritual battles that you’re facing right now?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Overcoming the World

In my last two posts, we’ve seen what the world is and our relationship to it.  Today I want to talk about what it means to be victorious over the world system.

…for everyone born of God overcomes the world.  This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.  Who is it that overcomes the world?  Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
1 John 5:4-5

The first thing we need to see is that you can’t be victorious over the world system if you’re a part of it.  Only a citizen of the kingdom of God can win this battle.

It requires a victory over your own flesh and a renewed mind.  Only then can you direct your faith in a way that goes contrary to where the world is headed.

I think that in many ways, our generation of believers has used the term “relevance” as an excuse to join with the world.  We will very easily miss meeting with the saints in order to attend parties, sporting events, or other activities.

We want to show the world that we’re not different from them.  The fact is that in Christ we are different – very different.

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.
James 4:4

The problem is that we have a hard time differentiating the people from the system.  The people who live and work around us are not the world.  The world is the system that controls them.

The goal is to show them that we are different.  Only when they see that there’s a life uncontrolled by the world, will they want what we have.

Remember, the objective is to set them free from the enemy’s control.  But first, they need to see their condition.

They must understand that in Christ, my prosperity is not tied to the world’s economic system.  My joy is not dependent on what’s happening around me.  I’m not shaken by the threat of catastrophes that they see looming over their future.

I’ve been set free from the system that has them bound up in slavery.  It’s only when they see the difference that they can be ready to receive the truth of the Gospel of Christ.

Instead, many believers try to become friends of the system in order to reap the benefits that it promises.  In most cases, the cost is too great.  They find themselves in places and conditions that they never thought they would enter.

It’s time for us to live whole-heartedly for Christ.  Victory over the world system means living a life in total freedom from that system.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
Galatians 5:1

You were set free in Christ.  Don’t go back to the same old routine.  Walk in the victory that was won for you at the cross.  If repentance is necessary, then do it quickly.  Get back on the path the Lord has laid out before you.

Question: How have you seen freedom from the world system in your life?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on February 14, 2020 in Faith, Revival, Spiritual Walk, Spiritual Warfare

 

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The Start of Spiritual Warfare

For the past few posts I’ve been talking about the first spiritual battle between Adam and the devil.  We saw that Adam was given all the authority he needed to defeat the enemy.  Instead, he allowed the devil to use words in order to deceive him into disobeying God’s Word.

In that defeat, there were some important changes that happened.  First and foremost, Satan became the legal owner of planet earth and everything in it.  Mankind became slaves.

There was another event that most people don’t realize.  If you remember, Adam was given a bow and arrows as his spiritual weaponry (Revelation 6:1-2).  When he was defeated by the enemy, he was stripped of these weapons.  It’s clear from Scripture that they are now in the enemy’s hands.

In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
Ephesians 6:16

This verse is especially important knowing that these arrows originally belonged to Adam.

That tells me that in the garden, when Adam fell, mankind was stripped of all spiritual armor and weapons.  Humanity was defenseless against the spiritual forces of evil.

A third result of Adam’s defeat was the entrance of sin into the world system.  When Adam knowingly chose to disobey God, he picked that which was imperfect.  At that moment he stepped out of God’s perfect will for his life.

In both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible the word, sin, literally means to miss the mark.  Perfection, what we were created for, is the bullseye.  No matter how hard we try, we miss the target.  That’s the word picture of what sin is.  It’s missing the mark of God’s will.

That brings me to the start of the ongoing spiritual war that we find ourselves in.  Our number one battle is not against the enemy, even though that’s a part of it.  The toughest battle we face is within our own being.

In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
Hebrews 12:4

The writer of Hebrews tells us that we’re at war against sin.  It’s that part of human nature that wants to do something other than God’s will.  Our flesh always seems to want to choose the imperfect.

This explains a lot about the Old Testament.  People often ask why there were so many sins that had the death penalty attached.  The answer is simple.  With no spiritual weapons, the only way to fight sin was in the natural.

How do you stop the spirit of adultery from spreading?  Under the Old Testament we would have no way to combat it in the spiritual realm.  The only way to stop the spirit of adultery was to put to death the adulterer.

That also explains why whole nations had to be totally destroyed.  The nation of Amalek, for example, had sold itself out to the enemy.  In that case, their sin had to be eradicated by a physical war.

This is why we have to be careful in how we apply Old Testament Scriptures.  Things have changed since then.  That’s why I feel that God is leading me to talk about the history of spiritual warfare.

We need to understand where we are today.  There are some principles that we can learn from the Old Testament, but our battle is on a different level.

Over the next few posts I hope to explain not only where we’ve come from, but how we can walk in the victory Christ has won for us.

Question: What is your biggest difficulty in your battle against sin?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Spiritual Warfare – Know Your Enemy

I’m continuing to look at the conflict between Adam and the devil.  It’s recorded in the title deed to earth (Revelation 6:1-2).  In my last post, we saw that the objective of the enemy was to take peace from the earth.

When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!”  Then another horse came out, a fiery red one.  Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other.  To him was given a large sword.
Revelation 6:3-4

As I’ve said previously, red is the color of sin.  Sin is missing the mark of God’s perfect will.  This is the enemy’s mode of transportation.  Questioning God’s will is the way he does things.  That’s his way of fighting the war and we need to be ready for it.

The Scripture tells us that he has some weaponry.  It’s a large sword.  Throughout the Bible, we find that words are a sword.

Please understand that the enemy’s sword is NOT living and active.  It’s not the sword of the spirit.  It has no authority behind it to pull down strongholds.

All the enemy starts with is a large sword – big words.  All he has is words.  No power, no authority, just talk.  On the surface, it doesn’t sound like he has much to work with.

As a matter of fact, when you compare it with what Adam was given, spiritual bow and arrows, the devil should have no hope of victory.  Adam has the authority of God to shut down the enemy before he even gets started.

Think about it.  We have a contest between two warriors.  One has a bow and arrows.  The other is approaching from the distance with only a sword.  Who would you expect to come out on top?

Personally, I would put my money on the archer every time.  However, a quick look at Genesis, chapter 3, will show that things don’t always turn out as they should.

Adam foolishly let the enemy get close enough to use his words.  The Scripture makes it clear that Adam was with Eve when the enemy attacked (Genesis 3:6).  Yet during the entire exchange, he kept his bow out of sight.

The enemy went to work questioning God’s Word and will for mankind.

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'”
“You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman.  “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Genesis 3:2-5

At that moment, through Adam, mankind succumbed to the enemy’s lies.  We’ve been caught in the consequences of that act ever since.

Know your enemy.  Understand his way of attacking.  We’ve been given life and victory in Christ.  Don’t let him convince you otherwise.

If the devil can convince you that the blessings of God are not for you, then he can steal your peace and everything else that goes with it.  Find out what God says about you and meditate on that.  It will give you the strength you need to walk in victory.

Question: What lies has the enemy used to try and stop you from receiving God’s best?

©2019 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2019 in Spiritual Warfare, Word of God

 

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Resistance is not Futile

I’m continuing to post from the book of James. He’s been telling us about how to humble ourselves before the Lord. This is important, especially when confronted by the enemy.

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
James 4:7

Causing the devil to run away sounds great. But I’ve had people come to me and tell me, “I tried resisting and the enemy kept pestering me. This verse doesn’t work.”

Things like that happen because we take things out of context. The enemy doesn’t flee simply because you resist. There’s more going on in this verse that you need to apply.

The first thing James says is for us to submit ourselves to God. That word, submit, means to place under. Its usage is like what happens in the military when a soldier takes his orders from a superior officer.

When we find our place in the kingdom of God, under submission to Christ – our Commander in Chief – we can then resist effectively. The devil flees because heaven is backing me up, not because I’m resisting on my own.

The Apostle Paul tells us pretty much the same thing.

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
Ephesians 6:13

The word stand in this verse is the same word as resist that James used. We need to stand our ground and resist the devil. We’re told that if we do this, in submission to the Lord, the enemy will flee. But I’ve found that it’s the time frame between the resisting and the fleeing that gives us the most problem.

Why would the devil ever flee from us? After all, we’re not that strong compared to him.

This is a great lesson that the church needs to hear. So many people give up when things get hard. Some of us are under the impression that working for God should be all hearts and flowers.

Why then does Paul use the analogy of a warrior, fully armed, and dressed for battle? The fact is that there are spiritual forces that don’t want us to succeed in our service to the Lord. The victory comes from knowing that it’s the Holy Spirit giving you strength, and not giving up.

We need to learn how to stand in the center of opposition. The ancient Romans knew how to do this. It was the secret to the success of their army. Each of the Roman soldiers was taught how to defend a 3-foot square of ground from an invading army. When they fought together, there was no way to break through their lines.

We need to get it into our heads that the only way to victory is to move forward in the Lord. Backing up WILL NOT get you out of the battle. It will only make you have to fight to regain that ground later.

But the thing about this verse that gives me the most trouble is when Paul says, “when the day of evil comes.” Not “if”, not “there might come a time when problems arise”. He tells us in a straight forward way that this day is coming whether you’re ready or not. So the best thing to do is prepare now.

The word that both James and Paul used for stand literally means to stand in opposition to. We must be prepared for the enemy to oppose us.

The phrase after you have done everything actually translates after you have fully accomplished your work. When you have done everything you were assigned to do by the Lord, then it’s time for the Holy Spirit to take over. One thing I’m certain about. The enemy is no match for the God I serve!

So, being forewarned with the knowledge that the day of evil is coming, we need to be ready. We must be fully armed and prepared to stand our ground in Christ. Then we will see the victory of God manifest in our situation.

Question: What are you going through right now that will require you to stand your ground?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 

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Victory vs. Our Abilities

TrophyI’ve been posting about giving yourself as a gift to God. That means that we give up all personal rights over to His will. Paul understood what this meant.

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
1 Corinthians 15:57-58

The context of this verse is the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Paul goes into great detail explaining the importance of His rising from the grave.

Paul concludes this section by talking about our victory in Christ. The resurrection is the foundation for our victory in this life. We know that the victory is ours in Christ, no matter what the situation may look like right at the present moment.

So in this passage, Paul uses the word therefore. It’s because we know that Christ is victorious – past, present, and future – that we can give ourselves fully to God. We already know the outcome, so we can give ourselves willingly.

The problem is that willingly and fully are two very different things. I can willingly serve God with only part of my life, time, and resources. The real victory comes when I willingly give all to Christ.

Jesus Christ is returning soon. The clock is ticking. God wants to do great things in our generation. The question is; do I want to be a part of it, or simply watch what happens in the lives of others?

Please understand that this has nothing to do with your abilities. It has everything to do with your willingness to fully commit your life to God. The Macedonian churches are a great example of this in the Scripture.

For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will.
2 Corinthians 8:3-5

This is one of the most miraculous verses in the Bible. How can you ever give beyond your ability? I don’t know; but that’s Paul’s testimony of what they did.

I believe that the key to all this is found in verse 5. Paul said that they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us.

Your first calling is not to a church or a ministry. It’s to God Himself.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t commit yourself to a church. What I am saying is that committing yourself to a church without first giving yourself to God is counter-productive.

It’s only when you first give yourself to God, that you can accomplish something beyond your ability. That’s when people notice that it’s God working in you. Only then will God get the glory from your life, and people will be attracted to the Gospel.

Question: How fully committed is your life to God?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
 

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