Maybe this and the subsequent posts are influenced by March madness. I love college basketball, after all; and this is the time that is most interesting in that great sport. Sixty-four teams began (last week) pressing for a victory. The invitation alone was a great honor for them. I imagine that most, if not all, of the teams all imagined themselves in that final game on April 6th. I don't think any coach, team, or player began the season thinking, "I am going to to my deadlevel best to strive for mediocrity. Lukewarmness is enough for us!" If they did, they got what they deserved. At this point in the season, those remaining teams are beginning to believe that the ultimate victory is just a game away.
So I want to take a few days to speak about victorious Christian living. I scan a few blogs, read a number of Christian websites, and I seldom see a study or exhortation towards victory in Jesus. [I guess that it's not a popular way to say things anymore. After all, I am often surprised with some of the pop language I hear. It's a sign of being left behind, culturally-speaking--the hazard of living somewhere in South America.]
Victory is not automatic, even though we have the sure promise and great truth that Christ has already won the victory for us. There are many verses in Scripture that assure us that victory is ours. We even sing about it in many churches, from that great old hymn, "Victory in Jesus," to some of the modern praise songs about victory. It's there. It's ours.
There are two aspects about victory that we need to understand. One is that we already have the victory. Christ won it. We fight our spiritual battles from a place of victory; that is a "positional truth." That is, it's the truth about our position in Christ. One day I will write more about that. But for now I want to focus on a second point about victory.
That point is that, practically speaking, we have to press forward towards personal, practical victory. In your daily life--in the practical outworking of the Christian life, that victory is not automatic. But it is promised. It is achievable.
Our lessons about victory will come from the story of the Hebrews as they enter the Promised Land. Briefly, let me say that The Promised Land, Canaan, is not a good symbol for heaven. Why? There are wars in Canaan. There are none in heaven. There are enemies there; not in heaven. Canaan is not about heaven. But it does teach us about daily Christian living. It's found in the Old Testament book of Joshua.
We will learn more about that tomorrow. Get ready to press on for a victory.