Faith Chapel

Our Greatest Battle

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Tom Waters


Series Code: FC

Program Code: FC000312

00:31 Welcome to Faith Chapel, I'm Tom Waters with
00:34 Restoration International and I'm excited today,
00:37 we're gonna be talking about something that
00:40 effects every one of us especially if we are
00:44 striving in the Christian experience.
00:47 We're gonna talk about the greatest battle that
00:50 we face as Christians, the greatest battle.
00:55 The one that every one of us deals with,
00:57 if we're honest about serving out Lord
01:00 and Savior. Our greatest battle,
01:03 the battle that every man must face,
01:08 the greatest battle ever fought by man,
01:12 is the surrender of self to the will of God,
01:17 that is our greatest battle. I want you think
01:20 about this for a moment, our greatest battle
01:23 is not self. Our greatest battle is the surrender
01:29 of self to the will of God, you know there
01:33 is an old favorite hymn, and in that hymn it says:
01:38 Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way!
01:44 Thou art the potter, I am the clay. Now,
01:49 that's a very classic picture, potter and the
01:55 clay and where do we fit in this verse of the song.
02:00 God is the potter and we are the clay.
02:04 And of course we would naturally agree with that,
02:08 that's the position we would wanna be in as
02:10 Christians. But the difficulty is that
02:14 we may start the day and I hope that's where
02:17 we start the day choosing of the master that
02:20 we're going to serve. Chose you this day whom
02:23 you will serve, as for me and my house we will
02:26 serve the Lord. That's where we need to be
02:28 starting everyday in our greatest battle.
02:32 The reality of it is that for many of us I know
02:35 for myself for many years as a, as a striving
02:40 professing Christian. That the first place that
02:43 I met the battle was in the morning, because
02:48 I didn't feel like getting up. Now,
02:51 who is the potter and who is the clay?
02:54 My God is calling to me, my son he's calling
02:59 to me and he's asking me to get up.
03:02 He's asking me to do something that he can't do
03:05 for me and that is to make a choice,
03:07 now my battle is, will I chose to surrender
03:14 my self, my tired self, will I chose to surrender
03:18 myself to the will of my heavenly Father
03:22 that he might do for me when I cannot
03:25 do for myself? That's the greatest battle
03:28 if we wanna start at right at the beginning
03:29 of the day, but the difficulty is if we start
03:33 the battle in the right place and we connect our
03:36 weakness with his strength at the beginning
03:38 of the day is that it, is the battle over.
03:42 The rest of the day we've made all of our choices,
03:44 one choice in the morning takes us all through
03:46 the day. Absolutely not, because our greatest
03:50 battle, each one of us faces it over and over.
03:56 And when do we face it? Well, we face it when
03:59 we get into our day we face it when self wants
04:03 to do it my way. When we say no thank you
04:07 very much I wanna handle this myself,
04:09 I will take this into my own hands Lord.
04:12 Now, do we say it that way? Rarely.
04:15 What generally happens is when someone or
04:18 some circumstance crosses our will?
04:22 When something doesn't go my way,
04:25 the self begins to rise in us and every one of
04:28 us knows what that feels like. And it's then that
04:31 we're in our greatest battle and it's then at
04:35 that moment that we have a choice to make.
04:38 Our greatest battle in that moment of time,
04:42 when someone cuts us off in traffic,
04:44 when my wife misunderstands me,
04:47 when my child isn't doing quick enough the thing
04:51 I want them to do. It's in that moment when
04:54 self begins to rise that we are in our
04:58 greatest battle. The question is who will win,
05:02 will self win the battle, will God win the battle
05:07 working in me to willing to do of his good pleasure,
05:10 it's at that moment and at that moment the
05:12 choice is mine, the choice is yours.
05:16 Who will win the battle? If I justify myself and
05:20 these are the two basic reactions that each
05:24 of us has, now there maybe more,
05:26 many more variations. But I tell you the two
05:28 basic reactions as I looked at my own
05:32 experience for many years and how I was
05:34 failing in the Christian walk.
05:37 The two basic reactions that I had and
05:40 as I've talked to people all over the world, the
05:44 first is this, when self begins to rise these
05:48 circumstances, these feelings,
05:51 these are mine and now I'm going to justify why
05:56 I wanna honk my horn at the person that cuts
05:59 me off. I wanna justify why I'm irritated when
06:03 they cut me off, I wanna justify the words
06:06 that I wanna speak to my wife when she
06:08 misunderstands me. I wanna justify why I need
06:12 to tell my child in the wrong tone of voice.
06:17 That self reaction wants to be justified.
06:20 And if we justify self and we carry through
06:24 the very actions that self wants to carry through,
06:27 we then find ourselves in remorse saying as
06:31 I said many, many times in my experience.
06:35 Why did I do that, I'm not gonna do that,
06:37 I'm tired of doing that and then we move to the
06:39 other side and I know many sincere people have
06:42 experienced the other side, the other basic
06:44 reaction is that when self is crossed
06:47 we say I'm not gonna go there this time,
06:50 I'm not gonna do it, I'm not gonna let myself
06:53 get angry this time, I'm not gonna do this
06:56 if it kills me. And so we try to pull ourselves
07:01 up by our bootstraps, we try to do it in our
07:05 own strength because we know what the
07:06 verses say, we know that if we wanna be in the
07:09 kingdom of heaven. We can't live like devils
07:12 down here, we know all these things,
07:17 but we still lack the power and so I would
07:20 think you know I've got strong will power
07:23 and I'm not gonna let this happen,
07:24 I'll make a new years resolution and this time
07:28 you know I thank God that he does not allow us
07:31 to do it in our own strength.
07:33 We can't do it and he knows that,
07:36 the devil sometimes lays off when we try to do
07:38 it on our own strength, when we try to,
07:40 to grit our teeth and I'm gonna do it as if
07:43 he kills me. And the devil sometimes backs off
07:45 and makes us think we're doing pretty good
07:48 and then all of a sudden he just comes along
07:50 and kicks our feet rid off from under us.
07:53 I tell you friends today what a joy it is to know
07:58 where lies the victory in our greatest battle.
08:01 And I wanna tell you today I understand
08:04 is something that it took me years to understand
08:08 that when we face temptation,
08:10 when we face our greatest battle we needn't
08:13 go first to our justifications, we needn't
08:16 go to our living it in our own strength
08:21 what we need to go to the very first choice
08:26 in temptation. The very first place we need
08:29 to go when we face our greatest battle
08:32 is to submit ourselves under our heavenly Father.
08:36 Now if we've done that at the beginning of the day
08:38 and if we're maintaining that through the day
08:42 then when that temptation comes all it is,
08:45 is a reconfirmation of that commitment
08:49 to God to stay connected to his divine power.
08:52 But when that temptation and self begins
08:55 to rise we have that choice and that choice
08:59 must first be to either maintain that connection
09:02 with God, that power outside of ourselves
09:06 or get reconnected to that power.
09:09 Because without maintaining or getting
09:11 reconnected we will not have the power and
09:14 we will end up justifying self,
09:17 losing our way or we will end up
09:19 trying to do it on our own strength.
09:21 When we try to do it on our own strength,
09:24 what happens to us? When we try to do it
09:27 my way it never works and this is what
09:31 I began to see. Now, I want you to turn
09:33 with me, there's a very precious verse in James,
09:36 get your Bibles, open with me to James.
09:39 We're gonna be looking there at the,
09:41 the 4th chapter of James and we're gonna
09:43 be looking first at verse 7, it says there.
09:48 Submit yourselves therefore to God.
09:51 Now, notice this the first thing it says is submit
09:54 yourself to God, Then resist the devil,
09:58 and he will what? Then he will flee from you.
10:04 Now this is very important, I missed this even
10:08 though I knew this for many years.
10:12 I actually had this scripture memorized,
10:15 but here's what I was missing.
10:19 When temptation would come and if I rationalized
10:23 and justified myself, was I submitting to God?
10:26 No, I was justifying self, lost my way,
10:30 the devil had me. Well, if I recognized that
10:34 I didn't want to do that, I didn't wanna justify
10:36 myself and I wanted to do God's will,
10:40 I try to do it in my own strength and so what
10:42 I did is I tried hard to resist the devil.
10:48 Because I knew if I could resist him,
10:49 he's gonna flee from me. The problem is I missed
10:52 the very important part of this text that I needed
10:55 to first submit myself to God and I tell you when
10:59 we first submit that means surrender ourselves
11:02 to God. When I first do that I have never lost
11:06 a battle is because the Lord shall fight for you.
11:10 And ye shall hold your peace, that is the promise
11:13 of the Lord. If we are surrendered,
11:16 if we first submit to God it is the strength
11:18 of God that conquers the temptation,
11:21 working out his will in us, to will and to do of
11:25 his good pleasure. It's us that makes the choice,
11:29 it's us that makes the choice to connect to God,
11:32 it's us to make the choice to submit,
11:34 to surrender to God. It is God that works in us
11:37 as we make the choice to resist the devil,
11:40 to resist the temptation and he will flee from us.
11:44 Now, it's interesting, if you have your Bibles
11:46 there continue on with verse 8,
11:51 I like verse 8 because it really is a continuation
11:55 of verse 7 it saying in a different way.
11:57 Draw nigh to God, and he will what?
12:00 Draw night to you that are the emphasis to
12:02 that verse. That I wanna focus on for a moment.
12:06 If we will, in verse 7 submit, in verse 8 draw
12:12 nigh, notice that in both of those God is asking us
12:16 to do something to get close to him in
12:19 order to overcome temptation.
12:23 The beautiful part of this is that as God sees
12:27 our weakness, he gives us two verses that
12:31 say the same thing because he knows the
12:33 dullness of our minds. That's whats I love about
12:36 the gospels, Jesus didn't just write one gospel,
12:40 he let us have four different gospels.
12:44 And he wanted to show us in so many different
12:46 ways how to reach our hearts and to show
12:50 himself to us. So, we didn't miss it,
12:52 so in verse 7 he says submit yourselves,
12:56 surrender yourselves, in verse 8 he says draw nigh.
12:59 If we draw night to God, he promises that when
13:03 we make that choice that he's gonna draw
13:05 nigh to us. The result is we are going to win
13:09 the greatest battle that we face and that battle
13:12 is the surrender of self to the will of God.
13:16 I wanna share an illustration with you,
13:18 I was on an airplane, I had completed an seminar.
13:21 A weekend of meetings in the church,
13:25 it was Sunday in morning. Now,
13:28 usually in my family or my wife in a portion
13:32 of my family because our ministry is a
13:34 family ministry we often travel together.
13:36 But this one particular weekend I was by myself,
13:40 Sunday morning I was exhausted and I was
13:44 sitting there, it was in Dallas.
13:47 Before I was sitting on the airplane
13:49 I was sitting on the side of the airplane
13:52 had three seats. I was sitting by the window;
13:55 there was vacant seat in the middle.
13:58 And then there was a nicely dressed gentlemen
14:01 sitting in the aisle seat. As I was sitting there
14:05 waiting for the plane to prepare for take off,
14:10 I was just relaxing and I saw the in-flight magazine
14:15 in the seat pocket the seat ahead of me.
14:18 And as I was reaching for that in-flight magazine,
14:23 the Lord called to me. No, audible voice that still
14:28 small voice, the Lord called to me in quietness
14:33 of that moment. And as I was reaching
14:35 for the in-flight magazine, the Lord called to me
14:39 to take out my Bible. Now, I'm gonna be very honest
14:42 with you, because this is how our greatest battle
14:44 works and this is why I'm using this illustration.
14:46 This is real life and this is how it works for
14:49 everyone who struggles with being a real living
14:52 Christian. And that moment all I wanted to do was
14:56 relax, is there anything wrong with relaxing?
15:00 No, the Lord wants us to come apart and rest,
15:03 but I will tell you what the Lord does not want.
15:05 He does not want us to relax or hold upon
15:09 divine power and there I was reaching for the
15:13 in-flight magazine and the Lord said take out
15:16 your Bible and I began to argue with the Lord
15:18 like we often do. I began to justify that
15:22 I was tired, Lord, I'm tired. The Lord it's been
15:25 a long weekend, my mind is so weird.
15:28 I just wanna relax. The Lord brought this
15:32 thought to me, I don't need to hear your excuses,
15:38 what I need to know is my son.
15:42 Will you give me your heart? Immediately that
15:46 brought that verse to my mind,
15:49 my son give me that heart.
15:50 Proverbs the 23rd chapter and the 26th verse:
15:56 "My son, give me thine heart,
16:00 now the question is are we really willing when
16:06 we wanna do my way, are we really willing
16:09 to give him? This is to submit yourselves
16:11 therefore, this is the surrender in this moment.
16:15 It's not whether we're willing to do it at the
16:17 beginning of the day, right now my son are you
16:20 willing to give me your heart in these
16:23 circumstances. You see God doesn't need our
16:25 excuses, God doesn't need to know all of why
16:30 we're tired, he knows all these things.
16:32 Yes, we can tell him, he loves to hear but
16:35 he doesn't want us to excuse not staying
16:38 in his will. God was calling me to stay in his
16:42 present will, so there is my greatest battle.
16:47 The greatest battle that you face,
16:49 the greatest battle that I face everyday
16:52 often moment by moment is will I go my way
16:56 or will I yield to the potter who says,
16:58 I am the potter you are the clay.
17:01 Will the clay strive with the potter;
17:06 will we strive with our maker? Oh!
17:08 We often do and there I was in my
17:10 greatest battle and I sat therefore you know
17:13 this happened in split seconds.
17:16 And I'm thankful to say when the Lord called
17:18 to my heart and reminded me that all he needed
17:20 was my heart and not my excuses.
17:23 I, re-surrendered myself and I took out my Bible.
17:28 And I said Lord what do you want me to do?
17:30 And I opened my Bible and it fell open to
17:32 Ecclesiastes the third chapter.
17:36 And I began to read, that I hadn't read there
17:38 and it's, to everything there is a season you
17:40 know the verses and the plane began to take off
17:46 on the runway. And as we were going up through
17:49 the clouds within moments we were in one of the
17:52 most violent thunderstorms I have
17:54 ever been in my life. The plane, a big plane,
17:59 it was buffed, it was racked, was tossed.
18:02 And I tell you before we had been off the ground
18:07 for less then three minutes, suddenly out my
18:12 window, out the left side of the aircraft,
18:13 I was sitting so I could look right down the
18:16 leading edge of the wing. Suddenly there was
18:20 a flag there, fire lightning struck the wing
18:25 of the airplane. And rolled into a huge ball of fire,
18:30 now I wish for a moment you could have been
18:33 on that airplane with me and heard the sounds
18:36 of dignified people. Sounds that you wouldn't
18:41 expect from some people, but that plane came alive
18:44 with very interesting sounds and quickly
18:47 there after the captain came out and he said
18:50 this is your captain. He said we've just had
18:52 a direct strike from lightning,
18:54 everything is okay, but it always curls my skin
18:58 he said. I tell you it curled a lot of people's
19:02 skin that morning on that flight. But I wanna tell
19:06 you that I had chosen by faith to be in the will
19:09 of my heavenly Father. I'd chosen to not reach
19:13 for the in-flight magazine, does that mean that
19:15 I don't ever read an in-flight magazine?
19:16 No, that's not the point, the point is this,
19:19 in that moment of time God wanted me to reach
19:22 for my Bible. He had something else in mind and
19:25 very shortly after the captain went off the air
19:28 the man who was sitting in the aisle seat turned
19:32 to me and he said I noticed that you're
19:36 reading in Ecclesiastes the third chapter when
19:38 the lightening hit the plane. Wow,
19:40 very observant, he said I also noticed that you did
19:44 not have the kind of reaction that so many
19:46 people had on this airplane. He said,
19:49 tell me about it, tell me about what is making
19:53 the difference in your life right now?
19:57 Oh! What an opportunity for the next 20
20:00 or 25 minutes, God gave me an opportunity to
20:03 share this simple gospel of Jesus Christ and how
20:07 it works in the individual connection with God
20:11 in our greatest battle and then he asked me,
20:14 how does it work in your marriage?
20:16 And I began to share with him that it works
20:19 first in our marriage because as we connect
20:21 ourselves with God and we experience real
20:23 power that our wife will be the first one that
20:26 will be the recipient of that good news,
20:29 that we're experiencing. And he said,
20:31 and how does it work in parenting situations and,
20:34 we just talked for 20 or 25 minutes and
20:37 then the Lord gave me the opportunity to ask him
20:41 a question. I said so what you do?
20:46 He said I'm Associate Professor of Marriage
20:49 and the Family at Brigham Young University.
20:53 And I said praise the Lord, quietly,
20:57 praise the Lord that I did not do what self
21:02 wanted to do, not because of the in-flight magazine,
21:06 but because God had a bigger plan,
21:08 God had a soul there. And that man asked me
21:11 for all the things that our ministry produces
21:14 on the personal walk, asked for the things that
21:17 we produce on the marriage, on the family.
21:21 What an opportunity, I didn't know,
21:24 but I wanna tell you something today
21:26 very simply and very practically that if
21:28 I would have argued against God and self would
21:31 have won out and I got the in-flight magazine out,
21:35 I got my way and I left my Bible in my briefcase.
21:39 I tell you that opportunity would never
21:41 have happened for that man, because God wanted
21:46 to reach into that man's heart. Oh! Friends,
21:52 there is a bigger picture in the salvation of man
21:55 then just myself. There is a bigger picture,
21:58 God wants to reveal himself hurting humanity,
22:04 people that have needs. You have needs today,
22:09 just like I do, I know my need more day by day
22:14 because I recognize that without the Lord
22:17 regardless of what I've done yesterday,
22:19 regardless of how much good I might have done.
22:23 There was someone last week under the influence
22:28 and power of God that today is a new day.
22:31 And I need to meet the battles of today
22:34 in the strength of Jesus Christ that I cannot
22:38 fight those battles justifying myself and doing
22:40 what I wanna do. And I cannot win those battles,
22:44 by trying to do it in my own strength.
22:48 It's only as we give ourselves wholeheartedly,
22:54 you see for many years I didn't understand
22:57 my greatest battle. For many years
23:00 I thought that I had a strong will you see what
23:04 I came to understand is that will power and
23:08 divine power are very separate.
23:12 Many people that I've need confuse will power
23:15 with divine power, they think if they have strong
23:18 will power, if they have power to do what is right.
23:21 And I tell you will power is for one thing
23:25 only friends, for one thing, will
23:28 power is choice power. Will power is the power
23:34 that God gives to every man, woman and child, just
23:37 like he gives to every woman, man, child,
23:40 youth, a measure of faith will power is given
23:45 to make choices. And those choices either
23:48 connect our weakness to his enduring might
23:53 or those choices hold on to our selfishness and
23:56 we play out our sinful self to the hurt of the
24:01 cause of God and to the hurt of ourselves
24:03 and those that we love. So, will power
24:08 is choice power, will power is the choice
24:12 to connect us with God, it is not the power
24:16 to overcome sin. When I began to understand this,
24:20 I recognized this is the difference I've been
24:25 missing, when temptation comes instead
24:28 of thinking about the temptation,
24:31 how good it looks, how good it smells,
24:33 how good it feels. Instead of focusing on all
24:36 those things like Eve did at the tree of the
24:39 knowledge of good and evil. She focused on all the
24:42 things that met her senses and she lost her focus
24:48 upon God. She lost her submission to God,
24:51 she lost being drawn nigh to God,
24:54 she began to question God, she began to
24:57 rationalize herself. And this is what we do
25:00 and so when temptation comes friends
25:01 I wanna encourage you that when it comes,
25:05 instead of focusing on what's in the refrigerator.
25:07 Instead of focusing now what I wanna say
25:09 to my wife when she doesn't agree with me,
25:11 instead of focusing upon the irritation that you're
25:14 starting to feel when someone cuts you off.
25:19 The first work that we have in our greatest
25:21 battle is to connect our weakness,
25:25 to make a choice, to use my will power,
25:29 to connect my weakness, to make a choice,
25:33 to say Lord if all you can say and I've said
25:36 it before. If all you can say is Lord,
25:39 save me and you connect your power,
25:44 you're weakened for your power to the
25:47 enduring power of Jesus Christ,
25:50 you will win in your greatest battle.
25:54 You will have power to rise above the difficulties
25:59 that we face day by day, our choice needs
26:04 to be first to connect with God.
26:08 As we connect with God the temptation begins to
26:12 lose it's strength, as we look at the temptation
26:16 it gets bigger it smells better, it looms larger.
26:20 But as we say Lord I submit myself to you,
26:25 Lord Keep me, keep my weakness,
26:27 keep my frailty. Lord, I give myself to you,
26:32 then we connect to his strength,
26:37 we need that strength to be victorious in our
26:41 greatest battle. And I wanted to take
26:43 a moment right now before we close, because
26:45 I feel such a need myself for the power,
26:49 the life changing power of God to win my
26:52 greatest battle. I want you to pray
26:53 with us right now, will you
26:55 bow with me where you are?
26:57 Father, we come to you because we know
26:59 that you have the strength and the power
27:01 and the mighty to give us the victory in our
27:04 greatest battle. And Lord, we give ourselves
27:08 to you that we use our power of choice to
27:10 connect our weakness with your strength.
27:13 That in the strength of Jesus Christ
27:15 we can win in our greatest battle against self,
27:17 that we will surrender self to your
27:19 will in Jesus name Amen.
27:25 You know I wanna encourage you today, that
27:28 you can be victorious, if you've never been
27:32 victorious before, if you've had a floundering
27:36 experience. Surrender yourself unconditionally
27:40 to Jesus Christ today and you will have the
27:44 power of God to win in your greatest battle.
27:48 You're greatest battle; you're greatest battle
27:51 will be the difference that Jesus can make.


Revised 2014-12-17