Do you want to see Jesus come? Are you looking forward to seeing His face? Is it your ambition to see the love and joy that your Saviour has for you? I hope so, but maybe that day doesn't seem so joyous. Maybe you fear that you may experience the judgment of the wicked on that day. Maybe the day is too horrible to think about.
It is true that when Jesus comes in His awful majesty even the righteous will cry out: "Who shall be able to stand when Jesus comes?" But this fear of the righteous will not last long.
Just imagine the overwhelming joy that could flood your own heart as you hear His call of love to you. It is at that time that He will announce to you in the presence of all the angels of heaven "My grace is sufficient for you." It is at that time that the unlimited realities of Jesus, God, and heaven will be opened to you.
Then you will have direct access to your God who so dearly loves you. You will then have a place that is yours in heaven given to you personally by your loving Creator to inhabit for the ceaseless ages of eternity. You will be forever surrounded by the things that God has made for you and your life will be completely satisfying as you live and function with a purpose in this new wonderful place.
Is this something to look forward to? Are you looking forward to the time when you will live in the presence of God? I hope so because this day is coming soon, sooner than we realize. Let's ask ourselves some serious questions: Am I ready to see Jesus come? Do I want to see Him come? Do I love Him? Is it the aim of my life to see to it that both my family, friends, and I make it to the promised land of heaven?
These are questions that I keep asking myself as well. The stakes are extremely high; we either face eternal life or permanent death. It is our choice whether we will be forever happy or cease to exist. Even to imagine being outside the walls of the New Jerusalem when the wicked are facing eternal destruction is simply unthinkable.
Brothers and sisters, we must not find ourselves deprived of the salvation that Christ has offered to us! Imagine being able to lay aside the problems of this world permanently, living in the presence of Christ Himself forever. Imagine being able to fly through the universe with the host of heaven and to be greeted by the people of other worlds. All of this is soon to happen and we could be there if we choose to let Christ reign in our lives.
The words of Christ are sure. He promises supernatural help to all who ask, yet many doubt that they have any possibility of being saved. They know that they have absolutely no willpower. Even when they do ask for help, the help doesn't seem to come. Because of this they begin to think that God is willing to work for others but not for them. Some even say they were only made for the fires of hell. They know from past experiences, a lifetime of failure, that their case is hopeless. They know they cannot change. So they fear for the future thinking that God is either angry at them or He is just not interested in them.
I am here to say that you are believing a lie. Satan would have all of us believe that God does not love us. This is not true and we will see the evidence for His love shortly.
For now I am saying to you that God loves you and me.
Since God does love us, we must realize that we can be saved. We must not be hopeless as we once were. Instead we must rest assured that Jesus is willing and able to free us from Satan's grasps. Since Jesus has already given us His ultimate sacrifice, we must realize that He will also give us His victory as well. He has won our battles for us; So, it is in His strength that we will be able to live and make decisions victoriously.
I want you to understand the provisions Jesus has made for us in the battle. He helps us at every step of our recovery. This recovery is as sure as the love He has for us. Also you must understand that we need to be more intelligent in our faith than ever before. The victories that Jesus gives us come not only because of our faith in Him but also because of our knowledge of the battle itself. This knowledge of the way Jesus helps us is extremely important because it increases our dependency on God. It also helps us to recognize His answers to our petitions in prayer.
He can help us in ways that most of us don't know anything about. Most of us are ignorant concerning the realities of the battle. It is in the midst of the battle, in the heat of the attack, that we require the power given to us through Jesus that will allow us to be invincible against Satan.
If we are to realize this power and the blessings that God has planned for us then we need to understand how God gives us that power. We need to be educated in the useful battle tactics that God has given us.
He has given us specific instruction and strategy that we can use against Satan. Foremost in our strategy is our ability to call on the name of Jesus Christ so that He can help us. We are in a war and many of us aren't even aware of it. These provisions that God has given us were given to protect us from the attack of the enemy and to save us from sin. Let's take advantage of these promises that God has given us.
Our own position is very clear in this war; we are desperately wicked. We also know that if we continue on as we have, we will lose the biggest reward of all. We need to change and we know we need help.
But who can help us? To some of us our source of help is clear but others see only confusion or wise tales. Many have faith in theories that plainly do away with hope. Let's look at our real options.
Jesus loves us and made provision to save us even before our world was created. He truly is our best friend and source of strength. He knows that we are absolutely helpless without Him and He actively works to save us. He also knows what it is that will satisfy us and make us happy; after all He is the one who made us. He wants us to come to Him so He can change us making our hearts white as snow. All this will allow Jesus to take us home with Him to live forever. We are the object of God's attention. He actually yearns for us with such intensity that we can't imagine.
On the other hand, Satan is jealous of our receiving the love and home that he lost. So he does everything he can to destroy us and to keep us from realizing the blessings that Jesus would give us. He hates us. His animosity toward us is so great that he works day and night, never resting, to destroy us.
In addition to his direct attacks, Satan has sought to confuse us with a multitude of world religions and philosophies. His religions are especially designed to separate us from the only God who is able to help us. This is often done by making God to be an angry judge or by being unloving. Many times the theology of these religions picture God as one who doesn't even meet man's low level of human decency.
In some of these world religions, Satan strives to make the lives of his followers hopeless and filled with fear. Many of these people are fearful of evil spirits because they are harassed by them night and day. The only way they know to find relief is to appease the very same spirits that are striving to destroy them. Satan is just playing games with them. In all of this Satan keeps his people captive by fear. He will never let them go peaceably if he can help it.
Other religions do promote righteous living for their followers as a necessity, but the ability to become righteous is not given them. Instead, they must raise their goodness by their own efforts. Many of them work much harder than Christians do to be good. Of course, this is impossible, none of us in this world of corruption and rebellion are able to become righteous in ourselves. This is because we are not righteous in the first place. Only God is the source of all righteousness.
Satan also uses world philosophy, which can pose as a religion to confuse the masses. It is especially designed to entrap intellectuals and those who follow them into thinking that there is no future at all. Its purpose is to make our only source of help seem humorous at best and something to be scoffed at.
Satan is the source of this confusion. Discouragement, despair, hopelessness, and doubt are the workings of his mind and he wants us to gain the same destructive attitude. After all, he is jealous and desperately wants us to share his fate with him.
This comparison between Christ and Satan is important because we need to realize our own desperate situation. Our thoughts are evil continually and even though we see the difference in the character and workings of Christ and Satan, we keep doing those things that fit us only for destruction. We want to be on Christ's side but we keep acting out Satan's agenda.
As I personally study into the character of Christ, the choice and reason for choosing Him over Satan become crystal clear. However, in spite of the choice I have made, I can only respond with anguish since I know I can't do what I know I should do. This is my dilemma: How will I ever get rid of my evil nature? I have been battling over these sins now for a long time and I have gotten no better. In fact, Satan has so entangled me with my sins that they have become a part of me, and I do not want to give them up.
At the end of this world's history, there will be a time when the whole world will be entangled in their sins. Everyone will believe Satan's lies. Even the knowledge of right and wrong will be eliminated. In place of the high moral values that God has given us the Devil will try to rule the world by filling it with his hatred and selfishness. His hold on the minds of the people will be so strong that our whole planet will become a chaotic nightmare full of death and destruction and they will try to kill off all those who follow the example of Jesus.
This time of trouble has never looked like a good time to be alive and as that time approaches it looks even worse. Organizations that are now being set up could very well initiate the conditions described in Daniel and Revelation.
At that time there will be a world organization that will take over all the aspects of our lives. In this system, individual freedoms will be taken away for the benefit of the majority. The Christian should expect persecution for his or her beliefs when this power takes over the world.
The New World Government is amazingly similar to the description of the beast that comes out of the sea in Revelation 13. In fact, this world system, known as the New World Order, could be the very organization that is described in Revelation 13 and Daniel 7. Who knows? It is easy to see how Satan could use an organization like the New World Government to rule the whole world. Satan has wanted to rule the world for a long time and it is only at the end that his plan can be set in motion.
Why are we so fearful of these events? Yes it's true, it's not too pleasant to die a painful death. But if we have the peace that passes all understanding and if we know that God will be with us at every moment, doesn't that help alleviate our fears? What if we realize that He will provide us with sufficient strength and fortitude to survive the ordeal, or that He will not allow anything to occur to us that is beyond our ability to bear. Does this help?
Many of us are aware that these thoughts should help bring us comfort. But they don't always. For some of us they don't give comfort at all. We can see only pain and death, and the end of all things. Something must be wrong with our whole approach if we cannot receive comfort from the words of Christ.
For many of us the problem is staring us in the face but we don't want to recognize it. Our real problem is this: we are unsettled inside. If we truly want to go to heaven to live with Jesus in a place of complete unselfish love, if we want to be kept secure in Christ this time ahead, then why don't we act out our wish and desire to live with Him? Why don't we do what we know is right?
We actually enjoy the sinful things we do; yet we feel uneasy or even angry because we know it is wrong. Whose side are we on anyway? Why can't we get our act together?
Are we finding ourselves on the wrong side of the battle between Christ and Satan? Do we see ourselves as lost, facing eternal destruction? Is that why we are so fearful? We know we are wicked; the question is will we ever get better? Does Satan have us permanently trapped in his snare to destroy us or will we be set free?
The only answer for us is to accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour. After all, He was sent here, very specifically, to save us from total destruction. If we are ever to be saved, we need to be fully changed and we need to have Christ in us for this change to occur.
But how is that possible? I have been trying for a long time now and I am not getting any better! I've even asked Jesus for help.
The answer to our sinful acts lies at the very center of our belief. Let's look to the Bible to explore it: "For all alike have sinned, and are deprived of the divine glory; and all are justified by God's free grace alone, through his act of liberation in the person of Christ Jesus. For God designed Him to be the means of expiating sin by His death, effective through faith. God meant by this to demonstrate His justice, because in his forbearance He had overlooked the sins of the past." Romans 3:23-25 REB.
Please notice that the word "justified" means to be set right or put in good standing with God. Even better, it means to render innocent. That means we are considered innocent because God's grace has made it so. There is absolutely nothing good in us, so we have to be saved by God's grace!
This plan in saving us is made possible by Jesus Christ's death which was planned before this world was made that we might be redeemed. We now have a way out and it is not dependent on our being good or perfect. It depends upon our accepting God into our lives and allowing Him to change us. This means we no longer have our heads on the chopping block trying to do something that we absolutely cannot do.
This is good news for any of us who have been fighting and losing all our lives. Jesus came to set the captives free; Remember? Friends, this means us! He has made complete freedom accessible to all of us.
The best news of all is this: all we need to do is truly believe! Listen to what Christ said when He was on this earth: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16.
This promise is almost beyond understanding. Jesus actually tells us that if we believe in Him He will save us. Paul speaks of this same promise in his letter to the Romans: "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth to be a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law." Romans 3:23-28.
It is no wonder that David breaks in song over this: "Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin." Romans 4:7-8.
I know what some of you may be thinking: "If this is true, if all we need to do is truly believe, then what about those other statements in the Bible that demand that we stop sinning? Shouldn't we read the whole Bible? Isn't our faith based upon the whole Word of God?"
I agree, we cannot ignore these other passages. We can't disregard half of the Bible in favor of a few promises. That would not only undermine our use of the Bible, but if this practice was necessary, the actual integrity of the Bible itself would be in question.
The truth of salvation is found throughout the Bible. Because of this we need to search all the Bible to understand its true meaning, not just a few texts here and there.
Let's search the Bible for some of these opposing passages. The following verses are from the words of Christ Himself: "But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, 'Raca!' shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, 'You fool!' shall be in danger of hell fire. Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect." Matthew 5:22,48.
"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven." Matthew 7:21.
"Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing." Matthew 24:46.
"But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience." Luke 8:15.
"Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, 'See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you." John 5:14.
"She said, 'No one, Lord.' And Jesus said to her, 'Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more. . . Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death. . . . If anyone keeps My word he shall never taste death." John 8:11,51,52.
These Bible verses seem to say something quite different from the earlier texts we looked at. Instead of saying we are saved by faith these Bible verses say we must do what is right. No matter what we decide to do with this problem we definitely can not ignore the teachings Jesus gave. So lets try to make sense of the two groups of scripture.
When Jesus says to us "it is only those who keep the commandments who will be saved", He is speaking the truth. God will not allow people, who are selfish and sinful, to enter Heaven. That would only cause trouble there as well making it an unhappy place. It is clear that sin must be taken from our lives. There must be a complete change in our lives toward God and His ways.
From the earlier statements that we looked at, we should also realize we can't make these changes ourselves. We are powerless to change our behavior. Our whole lives are a testimony to this fact. Instead it must be Christ through the Holy Spirit who works in us to change us. Remember, we are saved by faith not works. But it is Jesus who makes us fit for Heaven.
How does He change us? God through the Holy Spirit works to change us by giving us His grace. As a result we who truly believe in Christ become more Christlike. In addition, the motive for our change becomes the love that He gives us. This grace that He gives us is far reaching in effect. It is this grace, God's grace, that results in our faith.
Read John's description concerning the results of belief: "Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves Him who is begotten of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world-our faith." 1 John 5:1-4.
This is a wonderful thing God has given us: "the result of believing," John says, "is loving God and keeping His commandments." This is not a burden because we will have given our hearts to God; also, God will have given us His character as well.
One of the joys of studying the Old Testament is found in its stories. These stories describe how God strives with man. Thus they allow us to weigh both the motives of God and man. Hebrews 11 encapsulates many of the stories of the Old Testament in one short chapter; So, let's look at a few verses:
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks.
"By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.
"By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would afterward receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
"These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth." Hebrews 11:1,4,7-10,13.
Hebrews 11 shows us that faith is connected with doing. Instead of giving lip service to God, these people lived their faith. Their faith had direct influence on their actions: "By faith Abraham obeyed." We can also see that their actions were the direct result of their faith, love and devotion to God.
It is extremely important for us to remember that the followers of God are not trying to be good so they can be saved. They are already saved through the grace and love of God. Instead they are acting out their faith in what they do. It's like an illustration I heard in a sermon long ago. Apple trees don't produce apples in order to be apple trees, they produce apples because they are apple trees. It is because of their faith in God that the righteous can truly serve God and it is God who gives them that faith when they ask for it.
Christians do Christ-like acts because they are stepping in His footsteps with the faith of Jesus, not because they are trying to prove to God that they are good enough to save.
I am not speaking of a faith that acknowledges only the existence of God; the Devil knows that God exists yet he hates God. I am speaking of a faith and a belief that actually depends upon and asks for God to work in our lives to save us.
Let's allow John to describe the results of believing: "Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God. In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother." 1 John 3:9-10.
Scripture agrees that actions indicate whom a person is following. Paul even goes so far as to say that a person born of God does not sin. So if we act wickedly, then we actually believe that the things of Satan are more important than God's promises. If we don't do the things that we know to be true, then our faith that God gives us is not strong enough to change us.
This sounds like the problem I have. I believe Jesus at least to the extent that I fear for my life but I still keep sinning. At times I lose all sense of the promises of God and all I can think of is the so called pleasure that Satan wants me to do.
My faith must not be sufficient to change my sinful habits. In fact, my faith and belief seem to leave me when Satan tempts me. I still seem to be in the same fix I thought I was in before. You see my continual sinning is evidence that my faith is defective. How can I change my faith?
We know we need faith, grace, and love but how will we ever get these gifts from God? If we search through the Bible, we can see that those who believe will love God, and those who love God will be overcomers. Read the following verses: "We love Him because He first loved us." 1 John 4:19. "But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him." 1 John 2:5.
From looking at these texts we can know that we must somehow learn to love and to give all of ourselves to God not just part of us. It is only then that our faith will be stronger. This necessity of giving all is indicated in scripture: "Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning" Joel 2:12 "And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:13.
Well, how can we possibly give our all to Christ when we can't do anything right? We seem to give in to both Christ and Satan on various issues. How can we give without holding something back? That's our nature.
Let's get serious! Let's realize that Jesus is our only hope. He makes provision for us at every step of the process of coming to Him. It is God Himself that allows us to give ourselves to Him. It is God who gives us His grace allowing us to have His faith and love. He seeks us out even before we come to Him. In fact the only reason we came to Him in the first place was because He already was working in our lives. He doesn't expect the impossible from us. But what He would like us to do is to ask Him for the ability and the inclination to love and serve Him. If we do this He will give it to us.
Why don't you kneel and specifically ask God to release you from the power of Satan, and in his place, ask for Christ's help and protection? Ask for the peace that passes understanding. Ask for knowledge to fight the battle, and especially ask that He change you into a reflection of Himself. Also don't forget to ask Jesus that He remembers you when He comes to take us to Heaven. He will truly help you. All the promises of God and experiences of people mentioned in the Bible speak of His willingness and ability to save you. Thus He will give you the ability to yield all of yourself to Him. But you need to ask for His help. We need to pray daily asking specifically for His help.
When we do this, when we give ourselves to God asking for that change, He will indeed start His change in us. We can see what the result of this change is by referring to John's writings in the Bible: "For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world-our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?" 1 John 5:4-5.
We can see that believers are overcomers, that God gives us the privilege of being overcomers. In addition Scripture strongly suggests that we must struggle in the process. The stories in the Bible speak of struggle and hardship. Yes, God does the fighting for us; however, He does not remove all the struggling we have in our lives. The strongest example we have is Christ Himself. He was perfect in every way. So if Christ struggled then why do we think we can get by without struggling?
Read the story of Christ in the garden the night before His death and see if He struggled in His role to save us. Also spend time reading the whole of the four gospels to see how much time Jesus spent in prayer with His Father. We need to question His whole life on earth. Was it really necessary for Christ to spend all that time in prayer? Remember, He often spent whole nights praying and it wasn't just at the end of His life when He was crucified.
Did Jesus really struggle with God in His life here on earth? Is His struggle like our struggle? Can we relate to His struggle?
We may not have all the answers but a few comments can be made. Satan knew his existence was at stake. He knew that if Christ won, he would lose everything. You better believe Satan tempted Jesus. It was a merciless operation. Jesus was constantly attacked during His time on earth as a man. Satanic powers did all they could to ruin Christ, but they could not break Him.
If we look at what Christ did in the garden just before His death, we can see that the future looked foreboding even for Jesus. The cup that He was about to drink, trembled in His hand. Clearly, He did not want to go through the experience. But He won the battle when He fully decided to follow God's will in spite of everything. In doing so, He exclaimed, "Not My will but Your will be done." It was at this time that He decided to follow God's leading at all cost to Himself. Jesus won a powerful victory that day a victory that we can marvel at throughout eternity.
On the cross Jesus no longer wavered. Instead He was a powerful source of strength to those around Him and He was sure of purpose. This was in spite of the pain and suffering that our sins brought to Him on the cross, yet He did it willingly.
Satan and all his host had much at stake in trying to crush Jesus. We can be sure that every demon was there. Their purpose was not only to tempt Him but to look for any evidence of sin in Christ. It was a matter of survival, either Christ or they. A simple sneer of hatred on the lips of Christ would have been the end of everything that Jesus had stood for. The demons knew this but they never saw anger or hate even once. Instead they saw a loving Jesus that actually laid down His life for those who hated Him. In spite of everything, Jesus' life was dedicated to serving God with all His being and in saving us from sin.
Did Jesus need to gain strength from His Father as He has instructed us to do? If we look at Christ's struggle in the garden we would have to say yes. Jesus had to be led of God just as we must be led by God. Jesus actually sought His Father's will for Himself. He actually needed to spend long hours in prayer struggling so that He would be in absolute union with His Father. If this is not so then His behavior of praying every day was just an act. Was Jesus acting?
Listen to what Christ said: "Most assuredly, I say to you, The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do: for whatever he does, the Son also does in like manner." John 5:19. Later He said: "I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me. If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true." John 5:30-31.
Yes, Jesus actively sought God out. He had to because, as John says, "The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do", "I can of Myself do nothing". He was not acting. Jesus was fully dependent on His Father. It was a matter of His survival to know the will of His Father.
Jesus is our example. If Jesus felt the need for long hours of prayer, what does that say for us? If Jesus gave the same advice to His disciples should we listen as well? Listen to what He said to them in the garden when they were failing Him: "Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak." Mark 14:38.
Christ Himself asked us to watch and pray to keep from sinning. (Mark 14:38) We know that our own flesh is weak like that of the disciples in the garden. There must be a reason for this weakness. Satan must be attacking us. We must be in danger of losing to Satan's suggestions.
Let's gain some insight from Christ's own words to Peter: "And the Lord said, 'Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.'" Luke 22:31-32. Yes, Peter was attacked, but aren't we all being attacked? Satan would have control over all of us and sift us as wheat if he could. He wants to take advantage of our weakness any way he can. Our only help against Satan is prayer!
If we do not ask for help when we are tempted, then we might not receive the assistance we need. Or possibly the degree of help that we need and want will not be given to us.
Read these insights from Mrs. White: "I have been shown angels of God are ready to impart grace and power to those who feel their need of divine strength. But these heavenly messengers will not bestow blessings unless solicited. They have waited for the cry from souls hungering and thirsting for the blessing of God; often have they waited in vain. There were, indeed, casual prayers, but not the earnest supplication from humble, contrite hearts." Our High Calling, p. 129.
"I saw evil angels contending for souls, and angels of God resisting them. The conflict was severe. Evil angels were corrupting the atmosphere with their poisonous influence, and crowding about these souls to stupefy their sensibilities. Holy angels were anxiously watching and waiting to drive back Satan's host, but it is not the work of good angels to control the minds of men against their will. If they yield to the enemy and make no effort to resist him, then the angels of God can do but little more than hold in check the host of Satan, that they shall not destroy, until further light is given to those in peril, to move them to arouse to look to heaven for help. Jesus will not commission holy angels to extricate those who make no effort to help themselves." Testimonies, Vol. 1, p. 345.
As I look into my past, I see sadly that all too often God's angels were not able to help me in my battles with evil forces. They were only able to hold Satan's forces in check when they could have been driving them back. I could have had victories instead of failures. This was the result of my weak faith. I just did not exercise my faith in calling for help. Instead I found myself in impossible situations where I just could not get the victory that I needed.
Many of us are in the same condition. We need to analyze our faith in Christ and His promises. Jesus says that faith can move mountains. We should be able to see that faith can indeed move mountains, while realizing that angels of strength are constantly waiting to help us. Faith can move mountains only if we ask for help.
Before I write of Christ's love I want to share why I have been unsuccessful in my battles. This is important because we need to understand as much as possible why we keep failing. I have known for quite some time that it is Christ's love in us that changes us. He instills faith in us. Yet, that knowledge has not changed me. Something was wrong or missing but I did not know what it was.
Most of us know that God is love. We have also heard discussions of what Jesus did for us on the cross, that He saved each one of us. These discussions I have heard often, yet I have been unmoved. I was not sufficiently motivated to make any lasting changes in my life. I had a real problem!
I see three things that have caused this failure of coming to know and love Jesus Christ. The same could be true for you.
One, I was unaware of Satan's techniques for destroying me so I did not know what the battle really was. I lost almost every time.
Two, I was spending much more time with Satan's devices such as the TV and videos rather than God's sources of help and comfort. Satan had me in a spell. It was extremely hard for me to turn off the TV. It usually didn't happen. I was trapped and I knew it.
Remember, "by beholding we become changed". I was mostly beholding Satan's temporary thrills instead of God's permanent joy and help. So knowing that God loves me did not make much of an impression at all. That knowledge was supplanted by what I considered to be real pleasure.
Three, the love that God has for me was not made personal or relevant. The love that I heard seemed to be expressed in an abstract form that did not relate to what I thought was important. Everyone spoke of the cross and its power to save us from sin. However, little was ever said about saving us from the dangers of the real world. The cross seemed worlds apart from reality.
"So Jesus died on the cross, so what," I thought. He doesn't seem to be doing anything now. Of what use is the cross if we find God isn't doing anything for us today? Or worse, what use is it if Jesus isn't coming back again? What hope is there?
If Satan isn't really attacking us, what reason is there to battle against him. Why is it that we Christians are always looking to the cross but yet denying that Satan is active today in our lives? Wasn't the whole reason for dying on the cross aimed at winning the war against Satan? Yet today Satan is mostly ignored, as if he doesn't even exist. This is why the battles that Jesus fought on the cross did not make any sense to me.
I am especially anxious to know how He is going to finish this war and save me. Let's face it, when God approaches us, we are extremely selfish. We simply do not want to be destroyed. We want and need to have some hope to live on. We need to know how all of this is going to end.
Jesus was not really able to reach me until I saw that time in this world was about to end. As I studied the events surrounding Christ's return, I saw that the time of trouble was soon to strike. I also began to see that Jesus not only worked in the distant past, but He is specifically working for us now and will soon come to take us with Him to heaven. In this important truth is the true blessed hope, that we will one day be taken out of this world to live with Jesus. This is the truth that shows me that God has teeth in His promises. His promises are sure. Our Christian faith does not only look to the past, it looks toward the future, to Christ's return!
We need to have a greater knowledge of the full great controversy between Christ and Satan, not just what happened at the cross. If the cross is taken by itself, without the knowledge of the great war, then the importance of the cross is drastically weakened. In fact the act and torture of Christ's death on the cross means absolutely nothing if it doesn't eventually result in our absolute freedom from sin and this world. It is only in this context that the sacrifice on the cross makes any sense at all.
In the following pages you will understand a new method for overcoming that is Bible based. You will also see that it is possible to be victorious in Christ. And you will also know what it means to be victorious in God's strength and not our own strength. Essentially you will learn how to allow God Himself to work in your life more effectively!
In addition, you will understand more fully the great controversy, or the battle that is raging around you as you are being tempted. This knowledge will actually enable you to be victorious by knowing when you need help from the Lord.
You will also understand how Satan works to destroy you. This will enable you to understand more fully the battles that are before you as well.
Nothing worries Satan more than to have his methods revealed to his enemies. He knows that he is completely helpless when we call upon the Name of the Lord.