Lesson # 15: VICTORY
Tonight’s lesson based on Principle 5 and Steps 6 & 7
Principle 5: “Voluntarily submit to every change God wants to make in my life and humbly ask Him to remove my character defects.”
Step 6: “I am entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.”
Step 7: “I humbly ask Him to remove all my shortcomings.”
Tonight going to attempt to answer question: How can I have VICTORY over my character defects?
START with Word of God: READ James 1 (all of it)
Get right into tonight’s acrostic : VICTORY (take out your handout)
First letter “V” stands for VOLUNTARILY submit to every change God wants you to make in your life and humbly ask Him to remove your shortcomings.
In Romans 12:1-2 it says we are to make an offering of our very selves to God: “Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service and pleasing to him… Let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind…”
Once you accepted Jesus as Lord & Savior you made one of the most important decisions of your life – turning your life over to God’s will.
Then you began to work on YOU.
You made that INVENTORY
You then came clean by admitting and confessing to yourself, to God and to another person all of your sins
NOW for most of us that was the first time – perhaps – in our lives that we were able to take off the muddy glasses of DENIAL and finally look at ourselves with a clean & clear focus.
Last week we saw that we were finally READY to have God remove all the defects of Character.
You are at that place in your recovery where you say: “I don’t want to live this way any more. I want to get rid of my HHH. But HOW do I do that?????”
Good News: You DON’T do it!!!
Step 6 does not read: “I am entirely ready to remove all of my defects of character.” NO, It says: “I am entirely ready to have GOD remove all my defects of character.”
OK, then, so how do you go about allowing God to do just that???
START by going to the next letter in the acrostic – The letter “I” which stands for: “IDENTIFY”.
You will IDENTIFY which character defects you want God to work on first.
Remember last week we learned that He/God is not going to make you work on everything all at once. He may even wait a long time to work on some of the more minor things. BUT Has to start somewhere.
SO: Go back to your Inventory you filled out a while back:
Look at the part where you filled in your Wrongs, shortcoming, and sins that you wrote down.
As you look at these again, remember that “Falling down isn’t what makes you a failure – it’s staying down that makes you a failure.”
God doesn’t just want you to admit your wrongs – No, He wants to make us right!!
He wants to give us a future and a hope
He doesn’t want to just forgive us – He wants to CHANGE us.
SO, Ask God to first remove those Character Defects that are causing the most pain
Remember last week when we identified what some of those might be
Poor self image / self hatred
Lying to self – others
Always making excuses for yourself / trying to justify your sin
Selfishness / ego centric
Resentment / un-forgiveness
Proverbs 16:9 helps us here: “ In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” Awesome !
OK, let’s move on to next letter in acrostic: “C” which stands for CHANGE your mind.
II Corinthians 5:17 tells us that when you become a Christian, you are a new creation – a brand new person inside. The old nature is gone.
ASK: Do you ever feel like that doesn’t describe you? That you still have plenty of the “old person” left inside. OR worse – that the “old nature” is in fact NOT gone but rather very much present and alive and living in and through you?
WELL, those changes that are going to take place WILL BE the result of a TEAM EFFORT!
Your responsibility is to take the initiative (action) to follow God’s direction for change
God then comes in and does His part by transforming you (changing you) by the renewing of your mind.
Let’s look at Romans 12:2 for more direction here: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Clear? OR Clear as mud?
We need to let God pull them out by the roots – often hurts, but results are worth it. We need to let Him “transform our minds”
Remember the God’s Chisel video here.
Just changing our behavior is like just mowing down the weeds in our garden. Instead of plucking them out by the roots.
God wants to change more than just our behavior – He wants to change the way we THINK (“…by the renewing of our minds” as Romans says)
OK then, God says “…by the renewing of our minds, But, HOW do we renew our minds? (The answer in a moment,#7 below.)
OK, to “Transform” something means to change its condition, its nature, its function, and its identity.
ASK: How do you think YOU do this?
OK, to answer the “HOW?” question we need to look at the next letter “T” in our VICTORY acrostic = TURN
We need to TURN our character defects over to Jesus
Relying on your own willpower has blocked your recovery
Your past efforts to change your HHH have been unsuccessful
BUT James 4:10 tells us : “…if you humble yourselves before the Lord he will lift you up…”:
This idea of humility is not a Bad Word.
Doesn’t mean you are weak
Baker quote: “Humility is like underwear – we should have it but shouldn’t let it show.”
Humility is seeing ourselves as God sees us
You can’t proceed in your recovery until you turn your defects of character over to Jesus.
Let go - Let God
The next letter is “O” ONE day at a time
Idea here is to be REASONABLE in your expectations for change
Didn’t develop your Character Defects overnight, so don’t expect instant change.
Recovery happens One Day At A Time
Jesus provides our guidance here: In Matthew 6:34 he said: “So don’t be anxious about tomorrow, God will take care of your tomorrow too. Live one day at a time.”
When you start to regret past OR fear the future remember Exodus 3:14: where God tells us that His name is “I Am.”
Good illustration to read: unknown author (taken from a sermon): “God tells me that when I live in the past with its mistakes and regrets, life is hard. I can take God back there to heal me, to forgive me, to forgive my sins. But God does not say, “My name is “I was.”” God says, “My name is “I am.”” When I try to live in the future, with its unknown problems and fears, life is hard. I know God will be with me when that day comes. But God does not say “My name is “I will be.”” He says, “My name is “I am.”” When I live in today, this moment, one day at a time, life is not hard. God says, “I am here.” “Come to me, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest.”
Let’s look at the letter “R” in VICTORY. Stands for RECOVERY is a process. One day at a time AFTER one day at a time.
Once you asked God to remove your character defects you began a journey.
That journey WILL lead you to new freedom from your past.
Don’t look for perfection, INSTEAD, rejoice in steady progress.
A good term here is to seek: “patient improvement”
Hear these words of encouragement from Word of God found in Philippians 1:6:
“And I am sure that God who began a good work within you will keep right on helping you grow in his grace until his task within you is finally finished on that day when Jesus Christ returns.”
The last letter in victory is “Y” Stands for YOU. YOU must choose to change.
Not your mother/father, spouse, but YOU. Even God won’t do it for you. You have to CHOOSE.
You must voluntarily submit to every change God wants you to make in your life.
All you need to do is to humbly ask him . He is waiting to do it.
James 4:6-8 sets this up for you: “God gives strength to the humble… so give yourselves humbly to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. And when you draw close to God, God will draw close to you.”
NOTE: Satan will hang around you if your falter in your resistance !) so don’t hesitate to RESIST – get to it
“Dear God, show us your will in working through our shortcomings.
Help us not to resist the changes that you have planned for us.
We need you to direct our steps
Help us stay in “today”, and not get dragged back in the past or lost in the fear of the future
We ask you to give us the power and the wisdom to make the very best we can out of today.
In Jesus name we pray, Amen