Johnís life changed dramatically in his final year of college. Heíd been into partying the first three years, but became a follower of Christ during his senior year. Right away another student began meeting with him to help him grow in his relationship with God. During this process, he saw his desire to get drunk on alcohol gradually disappear. He learned he could instead be empowered by the Holy Spirit of God on a daily basis. He eventually began helping others know Jesus and discipling them in their faith.

When John graduated from college, he took a job as a regional sales representative. On the road much of the week, John suddenly found himself falling into the same temptations he had faced before he came to know Christ. Though he had previously experienced Godís power, he felt as though that power was no longer in his life. Why had all the old temptations come back with such intensity, and why was he not experiencing Godís power as he had the first year of his Christian life?

Take a moment to draw a line in the space below, charting down your own spiritual growth. There will probably be ups and downs in your graph.





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How can believers continually experience Godís power over a long haul?

1. Be Sure You Are Empowered by the Holy Spirit.

It has been said that the Christian life is very difficult, yet very simple. It is difficult to live if we are relying on our own gifts, abilities and recourses. The more we learn to rely on Godís power, however, the simpler the Christian life becomes. The secret to following Jesus is to live daily in the power of the Holy Spirit which lets Jesus change us and live through us to impact those around us.

  • 1Co 2:1-5 And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. (2) For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. (3) And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, (4) and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, (5) that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

  • Act 4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.

  • Act 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."

  • John 15:4-5 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. (5) I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

  • Eph 5:18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,

Remember: God commands us to be filled by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18), and He promises that He will grant our requests when we pray according to His will (1 John 5:14-15). You can trust the Holy Spirit to fill and empower you. This trust is based on the authority of Godís command to be filled and His promise that He will answer when you pray according to His will.

2. Be Prepared for Spiritual Conflict.

Do not underestimate the conflict that exists between God and Satan. Although the battle is ultimately Godís responsibility (2 Chronicles 20:15) and the final outcome has already been determined (Revelation 20:11-21:4), the Christian still needs to be prepared for the three sources of opposition that seek to hinder him in his walk with Jesus.

The World

1Jn 2:15-17 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (16) For all that is in the world--the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions--is not from the Father but is from the world. (17) And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

What characterizes the world?

The Flesh

Gal 5:17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.

How does this source of spiritual conflict differ from the world?

The Devil

1Pe 5:8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

What specific strategies have been tempting and devouring you?

3. Know Your Resources as a Child of God.

When you became a follower of Jesus, you were literally adopted into Godís family as one of His children (John 1:12). Since you now belong to Christ and carry His name (Christian), Godís unlimited resources are available to you.

As you read the following Bible passages, write out key words and phrases which describe the resources that are available to believers in Christ:

Ephesians 1:13-14

Hebrews 4:12

Ephesians 6:10-18

The more we understand our recourses as Godís children, the more God will produce in and through us the fruit of Christ-likeness and effective ministry for his kingdom (John 15:1-8). God does not force us to obey Him. The more we understand what he has given to us, the more we desire to do His will.

4. Live by Faith.

Living by faith means that we trust in God and His word regardless of circumstances, emotions, or cultural trends. It is usually easy to say, ďGod, I trust You,Ē when everything is going your way. It is more difficult to say, ďThank You, God,Ē when your life is coming apart at the seams, when a loved one dies, when your financial world crumbles, when illness hits close to home, or when you are experiencing relational stress. Is it possible to trust God even when life is most stressful? Letís look as some Bible passages which address this question.

As you read the following Scriptures, write out principles you discover which help believers live by faith, even when circumstances are at their worst.

Jer 31:3 the LORD appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.

Rom 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

1Pet 5:6-7 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, (7) casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

Philippians 4:11-13 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. (12) I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. (13) I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

It is our sense and imagination that are going to attack belief. Here, as in the New Testament, the conflict is not between faith and reason but between faith and sight. C.S Lewis


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