Designed for Victory
Carl H. Stevens Jr.
- Table Of Contents
- Love That Comes From Life
- Trust God Through Obedience
- Equipped To Go Forward
Your vocation — the specific call of God in His overall plan for your life — was designed by God to give you a life of victory.
In order to live in our vocation, each of us must be rooted and grounded in the Word of God. This is why I encourage high school graduates to get one year of Bible college before they go on to another educational institution. In doing this, they learn how to think with God. A practical Bible college education is the highest form of education. Through it, God clarifies His plan in people’s lives.
God has a work in His Kingdom specifically designed for each one of us. Whatever we do in our occupations in the world, everything should be done to the glory of God.
If we do not take up our Cross, then we will quit our call. Without the Cross, we won’t give His call the proper priority.
Satan wants to get the believer to live in defeat. He wants to draw each of us away from God’s specific call. My prayer is that this booklet will inspire you to seek God first and experience the victory that is found in living in God’s plan for our lives.
Love That Comes From Life
“And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.
“Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.
“By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous” (1 John 4:21-5:3).
“When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said” (John 2:22).
Recently, a pastor shared with me that out of twelve students who were doing great five years ago — all but one of them is now living in sin, with some kind of addiction. The call of God, plans for the future, and eternal rewards were lost because of fulfilling elevated lust patterns. During those times, because of wrong choices, these young people lost ground they had gained spiritually throughout the year with God. Wrong decisions led to rebellion and resulted in some becoming casualties in the plan of God.
This is the problem: We must understand that God’s resurrection life comes through faith. God gives us a love that comes through that life — love that comes through the resurrection life of God when the Holy Spirit is allowed to speak to our human spirit day in and day out.
No one can love his brother or sister unless he is rightly related to God. A right relationship with God always gives me the right attitude with my brothers and my sisters.
The Degrees of Hate
One way to stop living victoriously is to live in some form of hate. Hate is characterized in many different ways.
In the original language, “hate” simply means putting something below God in order of importance. If I rate anything above God in my life, then that is an expression of “hatred” toward God. It may not be vicious hatred, but it is hatred nonetheless.
Hatred is also expressed when I refuse to have a right relationship in my marriage, with my friends, or within the Body of Christ. Wrong attitudes in my relationships reveal a wrong relationship with God.
Criticism reveals a third form of hatred. If I live in arrogance as an established way of life, I will probably be a critical person. In being critical, I exalt myself above God, just as Satan did when he pronounced the five “I wills” in Isaiah 14:12-15: “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.”
Another form of “hate” is to dislike something because of personal preference and not because of spiritual integrity. One example is musical taste. Love God so much that you will love others instead of criticizing them for their music. Some get blessed by one style of music, others get blessed by another style. Because we desire to bless the entire Body of Christ, we have a diversity of music in our services.
The final form of hatred is vicious in its expression. It involves hurting and assassinating someone’s character. Anyone who lives in this kind of hatred is obviously living in sin. They must repent and put God first.
Love Needs an Object
In the act of loving, there is a process of initiation and response. God’s life only comes through faith, and love only comes through life. Love is an action, not a feeling, though the results of love often produce feelings. Love needs an object. The only visible objects to whom love can be expressed are the children of God in the family of God.
God’s attitude toward everyone is this: He loves each one of us enough to die for us. If we say that we love God whom we cannot see, our attitude should be one of loving the brother in Christ whom we can see. This is the proof of our love. It is genuine love that is not based upon sentimentality and emotional soul power. It is a love based upon a faith that serves by love (Galatians 5:6, 13).
For this reason, people must learn to avoid the wrong crowd. We must be Spirit-filled in our relationships with others and maintain those relationships through prayer and grace.
The Word of God clearly teaches that love is not a feeling. Love is an action that needs an object.
Trust God Through Obedience
“And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
“I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
“So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
“Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
“I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
“To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (Revelation 3:14-22).
Laodicea was not a “bad” church. The people there were neither hot nor cold, but it wasn’t a bad church. Jesus was saying to these people, “Buy something better than the gold you are accustomed to. Buy of Me spiritual riches that will give you eternal wealth.” Then He said, “Let Me anoint your eyes,” speaking of eyes that enable you to see God with your spirit. Jesus was saying, in effect, “Buy of Me and trust Me for the consequences of your obedience.”
We need to trust God for the consequences of our obedience. He will always bless obedience. For example: church attendance. The more we obey and worship God by coming to church on time and participating in prayer and singing, the more we will be healed, touched, blessed, and used. We will be filled with power, with meekness, with humility, with grace, and with love.
As a result of our obedience, we will enter a life that comes through faith and a love that comes through light and life. That life of love will go out to others and bring many to Christ as it loves the brethren and glorifies God.
Resurrections Begin with Crucifixions
God needs someone just like you. He has made every one of us to be effective, productive, successful, and blessed. God has made a provision for us to go forth unto maturity. It is crucial that we understand this and redeem the time we have because the days are evil.
None of us knows how much time we have here on earth. Getting to know God is the reason we are alive. Preparing to meet God is why we are here. Our occupation is an opportunity to touch lives because of what we have received from God.
We are not here so that people can be pleased with where we went to college and to enjoy some intellectual symbol of success. Often, Bible college is made out to be a lesser thing. But the “less” is blessed by the Greater (see Hebrews 7:7) as we seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.
God never made a soul for defeat. He never redeemed a person only to let that one be defeated. God always provides for a victory. Receive this truth. Absorb it, ponder it, meditate upon it, reflect upon it, believe it, and go forward in it.
People are so afraid to let death come into their marriages. Yet, if a marriage doesn’t die, it can never be resurrected, therefore it will not have the power of God in it. The great preacher Lester Roloff had a sign on his wall that said,
“There can never be a resurrection unless there is a crucifixion.” This is so true.
To experience death, you have to be willing to risk things. Take risks by faith, and God will take care of you if you are wise, gracious, and kind. Go forward in His wisdom.
Equipped To Go Forward
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
“Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
“And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
“Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
“And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
“And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel” (Ephesians 6:10-19).
“Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
“As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:
“But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
“Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:13-16).
Many Christians today do not know how to use the armor God has given them. They never think of it, because they are just too occupied with their personal lives. But if the armor is not put on, we cannot fulfill God’s plan for victory.
With a “breastplate” of imparted righteousness and “feet shod with the preparation of the gospel,” we are ready to go against the enemy. We can walk in the Spirit, fulfilling the Word of God instead of fulfilling the lusts of the flesh. The “helmet” of salvation means that we have the mind of the Finished Work that protects our soul as the Holy Spirit speaks to our human spirit. It is important to pray every day that the Holy Spirit will speak to your human spirit, for it is in our human spirit that we hear His still small voice.
The “shield of faith” protects us from all the fiery darts of the devil, which are targeted to poison and destroy our souls with an infection from Satan’s kingdom. “The sword of the Spirit” is the Word of God, speaking of the doctrine that we are to learn, know, and absorb. We are to think of it, ponder it, live in it, and use it in practical ways every day.
In Revelation 3, Jesus said, “If you hear My voice, I will come in and sup with you.” He is knocking on the doors of the hearts of every man and woman, wanting each one to hear His voice. Romans 10:17 tells us that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. This means that every Christian needs a preacher, a pastor-teacher who lays down his life to proclaim and teach the Word of God.
Delight in Doctrine
“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
“But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
“And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
“The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
“Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
“For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish” (Psalm 1:1-6).
Delight in the doctrine of God and you won’t have a second-hand religion. My hope is that you will have a strong vertical relationship with God (see John 15:1-7). Learn to initiate wisdom, promises, power, and prayer in a gracious way with your loved ones. As salt of the earth and a light of the world, you can influence people to follow God.
By delighting in doctrine day and night, we will prosper spiritually and physically. God has made us to be blessed. Our “leaf” — referring to our entire inner life — will not wither or become dried up. We won’t be sucked into the things of Satan. Instead, we will be as trees planted by a river, bringing forth fruit in season.
Behind us is god’s Omnipotence, and we were made for victory, so we can go forward with Him.
Get Up, Go On, Go Forth
“Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD shall be a light unto me.
“I will bear the indignation of the LORD, because I have sinned against him, until he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me: he will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness” (Micah 7:8-9).
If we despair, we go on no matter what happens. If we awake discouraged, we get up and go on anyway. If we become depressed, we get up and go on anyway. We were not made for failure. We were made to be victorious.
We get up, and we go on — again and again.
We go forth. We won’t let ourselves be deceived by satanic concepts, precepts, and notions. We won’t let ourselves be ruled by the superficiality of sentimentality, loving pleasure more than loving God.
Joseph was accused of rape, lied about, and thrown into prison by Potiphar and his wife. Much later, God promoted him and he became second in command over the empire of Egypt. Daniel was carried away as a slave to Babylon, but the Babylonian rulers were impressed by his character. He was promoted to a high position and allowed to study in their libraries, among the scholars. God promoted Daniel when he was supposed to be a slave.
According to Revelation 11, during the Great Tribulation, two witnesses sent by God to testify of the Gospel will be assassinated and left in the street as the world celebrates over their dead bodies. But these witnesses will rise again. God will resurrect them before the eyes of the world, and Satan will once again be defeated and embarrassed just as he was when Jesus came forth from the grave.
Another person who had a great personal struggle was the apostle Paul (see Romans 7). He began to live a victorious life in Romans 8, through the work of the Holy Spirit in him.
Designed for victory, all of these men triumphed because of their obedience to the plan of God.
We are led into victory by the Holy Spirit.
The Word of God has so much to say about how love is shown through obedience. Obedience is experiencing the Holy Spirit in God’s design for our victory. It is only the Holy Spirit who interprets the Scriptures for us (see 1 Corinthians 2:9-14). It is only the Holy Spirit who can minister to us the spirit of adoption (Galatians 4:4-6). It is only the Holy Spirit who bears witness with our human spirit (Romans 8:16).
Only the Holy Spirit shows us ownership of our bodies (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). The Holy Spirit fills us and indwells us (Acts 2:4). Only the Holy Spirit brings truth into our memory center supernaturally and recalls that truth when we need it (John 14:26). It is the Holy Spirit who serves us, possesses us, and empowers us to reign over the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2).
The Holy Spirit produces in us the fruit of love, which results in joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, and temperance. It is the Holy Spirit who inspires truth in the preacher.
The Holy Spirit intercedes for believers and commissions missionaries. The Holy Spirit oversees the Church, giving wisdom, teaching, and serving believers, wherever they are. This is the Spirit of burning, the Spirit of glory, the Spirit of promise, and the Spirit of wisdom.
By this Spirit, understand your design for victory. By this Spirit, pray without ceasing. In other words, have an attitude of being ready to pray at any moment. Praise God. Worship God. Love God. Concentrate on God. Enter into a response with God. Fulfill your design by going on in victory.