So how do we fight the various battles that we all face from time to time? The apostle Paul who experienced more difficulties than most of us ever will (2 Corinthians 11:23-29) said this:
2 Corinthians 10:3-4
3For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. (NIV)
Well what are those weapons with divine power that Paul is speaking about?
I think two of our most powerful weapons, which empower us to live a victorious life are mentioned in this verse:
17For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ! (NIV, emphasis added)
Weapons of Righteousness
Paul said he faced his trials with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left (2 Corinthians 6:7). Every time we feel overcome by our own sin, whether it’s an addiction we can’t seem to break free from or a failure from the past, it’s time to take hold of the gift of righteousness (Romans 5:17)! We did not earn this righteousness, otherwise it would not be a gift! So rather than feel weighed down by guilt - which comes from Satan, the accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:10) - remind yourself that you did nothing to earn the gift of righteousness so you can do nothing to lose it. You need only to receive it!
The word translated “receive” in Romans 5:17 is lambanó (λαμβάνω) meaning “to take, receive, lay hold of”. HELPS Word-Studies says lambanó means to actively lay hold of, to take or receive by aggressively (actively) accepting what is available (offered). In Romans 5:17 lambanó is in the present tense, active form, which means it is a continuous action. So we need to continuously, actively (aggressively) take hold of the gift of righteousness.
Abraham received his promises through the righteousness of faith (Romans 4:13) and we receive ours the same way (Romans 4:24). We will get breakthrough from guilt, shame and repetitive sin, and even healing from our afflictions if we keep on receiving the gift of righteousness from Jesus and not trying to earn it ourselves (which is a work of the law)!
The Gift of Grace
As well as using the gift of righteousness as weapons in our right and left hands, we have also received grace upon grace from Jesus our Saviour:
16Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. (NIV, emphasis added)
Grace is defined as undeserved favour. We receive abundant grace (favour) from God through Jesus who took all our sin upon Himself so that we could be completely forgiven. If we receive this abundant grace He offers in the same way, that we receive the gift of righteousness that comes with it (by actively, aggressively accepting it), then the promise is that we will reign in our lives.
And just as righteousness is a gift and cannot be earned so too grace cannot be earned, but is a gift given by God:
8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast.
Finally the apostle Paul gave some excellent, battle-winning advice. He said to:
4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
We are told to continuously, actively rejoice! How is this even possible especially when we face trials? At those times it doesn’t feel as if we have anything to rejoice over! Well the word “rejoice” is the greek word chairó (χαίρω) meaning “to rejoice or be glad” which comes from the root word charis (χάρις) - grace, kindness, favour. Chairó actually means to “delight in God's grace”. That is something we can do irrespective of our circumstances because we didn’t deserve for Jesus to offer us grace and die in our place, He chose to out of pure love (John 3:16). Paul also said to present our requests to God with “thanksgiving”. Thanksgiving is the translation of the greek word eucharistia (εὐχαριστία): thankfulness, giving of thanks. It literally means "the giving of thanks for God's grace." So whether we are rejoicing or giving thanks, it is all because of God’s grace! Thankfulness and rejoicing are powerful grace weapons in the midst of a trial, which will lead us to victory!
Beloved whatever you are facing today remember to aggressively take hold of the abundant grace and the gift of righteousness that Jesus offers you. And keep on rejoicing and being thankful. Those are the divine weapons which demolish every stronghold. They will lead you to victory!
If you haven't yet made a decision about who Jesus it, it is the singular most important decision you will ever make.
To help you decide, this is what Jesus said about Himself (Jesus' words in red):
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6
"Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father." John 14:9
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven." Matthew 16:15-17
"I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” John 6:51
The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.” John 4:25-26
Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”
Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” John 6:28-29
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