Nearly 250 years ago, our ancestors were living under the tyranny of the British Empire. They declared their independence from England and launched the Revolutionary War. The Americans won and we became a free people.
You and I have never once fired a shot at a British soldier but every single day we enjoy the freedom our ancestors won, because they fought a war that was for us. They won the victory for us. We have freedom because of their sacrifice.
Like our ancestors fought for our freedom long before we were ever born, Jesus bled and died for our freedom thousands of years before we were alive. He faced an opponent that we could have never defeated, but through his sacrifice on the cross, he triumphed over the enemy. Because he was faithful, we can be free.
It is absolutely paramount that every Christian understands one simple truth in the ongoing fight against temptation. We can actually hate it, starve it, and outsmart it because the battle has already been fought and the victory has already been won.
We are not fighting for victory. We are fighting from victory. When Jesus was raised from the dead, he proved once and for all that all power and authority in the universe and beyond belongs to him. No one had ever defeated the enemy of death before, but Jesus did, and he gave us a glimpse into the power of the Kingdom he came to inaugurate.
The power to overcome temptation is the power of Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ lives in you through the Holy Spirit. He has made you holy, and holiness is both a position and a pursuit. Because you are a child of God by faith in Christ, your position in his family is secure. Because he has filled you with his Holy Spirit, you have the power to pursue holiness and resist temptation from your position as a forgiven, redeem child of the King.
The ability to live a holy life is found when you submit your will and your ways to the Lordship of Christ, and he gives you his holiness.
The fight against temptation is won by faith -- when you trust that Jesus has something better for you than the momentary pleasure you will receive by giving in to your urges and desires. The stakes are higher.
The Gospels record the last words of Jesus uttered before he died on the cross. He said, "It is finished." This did not mean that he was finished. It meant the mission he came to accomplish had been completed. Jesus lived a holy and perfect life for all of us who could never be holy and perfect on our own. He suffered and died in our place when we deserved to be punished for our sins. He destroyed the work of the devil and the power of sin, not with a sword or a spear or thunder and lightning but through humility and submission to his Father. And in the face of temptation, even face-to-face with Satan himself, Jesus never wavered. He remained faithful to his mission.
When he proclaimed, "It is finished," he declared victory over sin, death, hell, damnation, and judgment. He announced the Kingdom of God in all its power and beauty. God had won and Satan had lost. The curse was reversed, and was now available to all who believed in him.
Jesus' power gives you victory over guilt, shame, insecurity, regret, and temptation. The ultimate battle was fought two thousand years ago. The ultimate victory has already been won. The winner has been declared, and it is Jesus. Because you belong to Jesus, you are also one with Jesus. This means you are just as victorious as he is. His victory is our victory. You are holy in your position as God's possession, and you are empowered to overcome every temptation because Jesus overcame sin for you on the cross.
You are not trying to fight this battle alone. You're not attempting to win victory. The victory is already yours. So start acting like the victor. Learn how to live in the victory Jesus won for you. You are not fighting for victory. You are fighting from victory.
Watch Clayton King this Tuesday on LIFE TODAY. This is an excerpt from Overcome by Clayton King. Copyright ©2017 by Clayton King. Published by Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Used by permission.