River Church NOLA
April 7 Wednesday
  • Trading My Sorrows
  • Awesome In This Place
  • I Need You More
  • Tonight I want to talk about Getting Strong in your Spirit.
    Ephesians 6:10 NLT
    10 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
    Ephesians 3:16 NLT
    16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.
    Let me ask you,

    Do you really want to be stronger?

    The reason I ask that is because getting stronger doesn’t happen by accident. You get strogner by intentionally deciding to get stronger.
    Working Out - If you want to be stronger physically, you have to work out.
    We are going to learn from the life of Samson, who was known as the strongest man to ever live. He was physically strong, but he had several glaring weaknesses. We will see both the source of his strength and of is weakness.
    You can find Samson’s story in Judges 13, 14, 15 and 16. It’s an amazing story but a sad one at the same time. We will learn from Samson three attitudes that make you weak in spirit. Then we will learn three habit that will make you strong in spirit.
    The Bible says that John the Baptist was strong in spirit. He was string in spirit and that’s what we want you to be… strong in sprit.
    Let’s look at the attitudes that weaken our spirit. We can see each of these in the life of Samson.
    Physically, Samson was Rambo, but spiritually, he was PeeWee Herman. He was a weakling… a wimp. He had everything going for him… talent, looks, strength… God blessed him in so many ways. He started off great with early successes but he faltered and lost it all… One day he woke up and his strength was gone and he was at that moment, a failure.
    We don’t want that to happen to you. I don’t want you to wake up and all of a sudden your strength is gone.
    What happened? Samson chose a life style that sapped his spiritual strength. He fell into three traps that we need to avoid.

    Three Traps that Weaken Your Spirit

    1. Self-Indulgence weakens your spirit

    You see this in Samson’s life in Chapter 14:1-20
    Samson lived a very indulgent life. He was undisciplined and lived for his feelings. His bgi weakness was women. He was a womanizer on steroids. He goes from one bad relationship with the next bad relationship until he meets us with Delilah.
    Before he meets Delilah, he sees a woman in the Philitine camp and tells his father… get her for me.
    Judges 14:2 NLT
    2 When he returned home, he told his father and mother, “A young Philistine woman in Timnah caught my eye. I want to marry her. Get her for me.”
    There were several problems with his choice. She wasn’t Jewish… she wasn’t the woman God chose for him, but she looked good to him. she was beautiful and Samson had the wrong thing on his mind.
    There is nothing wrong with beauty, or sex appeal or even sex. God created it… for marriage. But anything out of control is harmful… food … money… sex .... sleep… Anything out of control weakens you.
    This first trap of self indulgence weakens your spirit when you make decisions based on pleasure rather than principle.

    Making decisions based on pleasure instead of principle weakens your spirit.

    You make decisions based on convenience instead of conviction.
    Samson sees a woman… doesn’t pay attention to her faith… her family.... her character… He didn’t check to see if she would be good for him… She looks good and he wants her.
    So he ignores if plans and follows his glands. He says I want her…
    Does this sound familiar to our culture we live in today? Does our culture make decision based on principle or pleasure? pleasure! If it feels good, do it.
    We often say something like, I owe this to myself. What do you have in your life right now that you keep saying, I owe this to myself? Just this once… it’s just a little bit.
    Suppose you were on a cruise and the captain said they had discovered a small leak on the ship. but they said don’t worry, it’s a small leak. That wouldn’t comfort you because a small leak will sink a ship just like a large one… just takes longer.
    Heres the point: Any area of your life that is undisciplined will eventually catch up to you and weaken your spirit.

    To be strong in spirit I must discipline my desires

    Desires are good, but have to be disciplined.
    1 Peter 4:1–2 GNB
    1 Since Christ suffered physically, you too must strengthen yourselves with the same way of thinking that he had; because whoever suffers physically is no longer involved with sin. 2 From now on, then, you must live the rest of your earthly lives controlled by God’s will and not by human desires.
    He is saying that just because you want something doesn’t mean you should have it. Just because you can afford it doesn’t mean you should buy it. Just because it brings you pleasure doesn’t mean it’s good. And just because “everybody” is doing it doesn’t mean I should do it.

    2. Resentment weakens your spirit.

    This was the second trap that Samson fell into. Resentment and seeking revenge will weaken you spiritually.
    In chapter 15, we see Samson lived in a constant state of disappointment, anger, resentment, bitterness and in seeking revenge. he was an angry man… very angry.
    When he felt misunderstood or mistreated, he reacted violently. As a matter of fact, he reacted violently to everything. His primary motive in life was revenge and getting even. He had a real victim mentality.
    Do you ever feel this way? Like everyone is against you? If you do and you hold onto that, it will weaken your spirit.
    On time Samson killed 30 men to get even on a bet. He was resentful and angry and bitter. His excuse?
    Judges 15:11 NLT
    11 So 3,000 men of Judah went down to get Samson at the cave in the rock of Etam. They said to Samson, “Don’t you realize the Philistines rule over us? What are you doing to us?” But Samson replied, “I only did to them what they did to me.”
    Let me ask you, who has hurt you that you are holding onto that hurt? You need to let it go or it will weaken your spirit.
    We all get hurt in life either by what people say, by what they do or what they think. You cannot live in this broken world and not get hurt.

    Samson’s mistake was that he reacted instead of acting.

    Resentment and revenge is always self defeating. It will always hurt you more than the other person.
    Look at this…
    Job 5:2 GNB
    2 To worry yourself to death with resentment would be a foolish, senseless thing to do.
    to be filled with resentment makes you a fool and will destroy you.
    Job 18:4 GNB
    4 You are only hurting yourself with your anger. Will the earth be deserted because you are angry? Will God move mountains to satisfy you?
    You are the one your anger hurts. Your anger doesn’t change the world, but it hurts you. It’s like drinking poison and hoping it kills the person you are mad at. It’s like holding a gun facing you and pulling the trigger and hoping the recoil will hurt the person you are mad at. Resentment always hurts you more than it hurts someone else.

    To be strong in spirit, I must control my reactions

    you not only have to discipline your desires, you have to control your reactions. The Bible says that a person who can control his reactions is stronger than a walled city. And a person who cannot control their reactions is defenseless like a city without walls.
    Proverbs 29:11 NIV84
    11 A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.
    That was Samson’s problem.

    3. Carelessness weakens your spirit.

    This one will catch you off guard and will sap your spiritual strength. We see this in Judges 16:1-20.
    Anytime you get carless with your time… your health… your money… your words… you are heading in the wrong direction. Anytime you get careless with your commitments… you make them and don’t keep them, you are headed in the wrong direction.
    Samson had amazing physical strength which was given to him by God. It was a result of a commitment he had made. Samson had taken a Nazarite vow to love holy before the Lord and he had done the opposite. As a symbol of that vow, he could not cut his hair.... drink no alcohol… had to eat a special diet…
    People made that vow to show God how much they loved him… to be above reproach.
    Samson was careless with his vow. He made it but didn’t keep it. A lot of people do that… make commitments but don’t keep them. He didn’t keep his commitment and he toyed with temptation. His thinking was not how close to God can I get, but how close to sin can I get… how close to the fire can I get and not be burned.
    People live this way today. They say I am a Christian and I know this is wrong but I am going to do it anyway. I know I should not date the person because they are not a Christian… I know I should not spent this money, but I deserve it… right? They want to see how close they can get to the fire and not get burned.
    In chapter 16, Samson meets Delilah and once again… wants her. Samson’s enemies pay her to find out the nature of his great strength so they can take him and destroy him.
    Samson knows what’s going on but he toys with her… thinking he was too smart and too strong to be caught.
    The firs time, she asks he tells her that if she ties seven bow strings around him he will be weak. NOT. Second he tells her to ties new rope around him and he will be weak… NOT. The third time, he tells her if you braid my hair I will be weak… NOT. He is getting closer to telling her the truth and he is getting real close to getting burned.
    Is there anything that you are flirting with? Anything that you know is wrong? porn, cheating in taxes, another person? You may think that you can get away with it, but you cannot.
    You are being set up for a fall. Satan has lied to you and you have bought the lie.
    Delilah persist in asking him for the secret to his strength and he finally relents and tells her.
    Judges 16:15–17 NLT
    15 Then Delilah pouted, “How can you tell me, ‘I love you,’ when you don’t share your secrets with me? You’ve made fun of me three times now, and you still haven’t told me what makes you so strong!” 16 She tormented him with her nagging day after day until he was sick to death of it. 17 Finally, Samson shared his secret with her. “My hair has never been cut,” he confessed, “for I was dedicated to God as a Nazirite from birth. If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become as weak as anyone else.”
    He finally gives in. His lifestyle of compromise after compromise has so weakened him that he tought it cound not happen to him. He thought that he was to strong… When you say you can handle it, you are being set up by Satan.
    Listen, no one ever plans to fail spiritually… financially… as a parent… as a husband or wife… in business… at their job… It’s one bad decision after another. They add up a little at a time.
    People don’t fall off the cliff overnight. It begins with small slippages. You let this go… you don’t read your word… you don’t pray… you don’t come to church and then one day, you wake up and go, what happened? You have lost your finances and your faith, your relationships and your family…
    What’s your weakest link? A chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link… what’s yours? You need to figure it out because we want you to be stronger this time next year than you are today.

    You are only as strong as what you are committed to.

    If you are chipping away at that commitment you are getting weaker and weaker every day.
    Proverbs 18:20 GNB
    20 You will have to live with the consequences of everything you say.
    You will also have to live with the consequences of everything you do as well. You will have to live with the consequences of what you think. When you think or say, that you can get away with it this time… you are setting yourself up for failure.
    So what’s the solution? Part of it is to find that weak link in your life and the other is to develop good habits.

    To be strong spiritually, I have to develop good habits

    Today is the day to turn it around and to begin to develop positive habits in your life.
    Here are three habits that will change your life.

    Three Strength Building Habits

    1. Spend time with God every day!

    Spend time with God every day of your life… from today on. If you are not doing that, you are not growing. If you are not doing that, you are growing weaker every day.
    This begins with your daily quiet time. QT. First 15… You spend time in worship, prayer and reading the Word.
    Let me give you a reason for doing this.
    Psalm 25:4 NLT
    4 Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow.
    You need a daily QT for guidance. If you are not having a daily QT, you are trying to live life on your own and ultimately it will not work for you.
    So what does it look like? Get alone by yourself.
    Luke 5:16 NLT
    16 But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.
    This was a habit Jesus had… he did it often. You need to get into a place where you can be alone with God.
    What happens when we do this?
    John 15:7 NLT
    7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!
    One of the keys to answered prayer is spending time alone with God.

    2. Get together with other Believers Every Week

    These are not new… most of us know what we need to do, we just don’t.
    Why do you need to be with believers each week?
    Hebrews 10:25 NLT
    25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
    He says to have a habit of meeting together.
    ILL of a fire… if you take one out, it goes out… if you leave it in the fire it burns hot.
    This is what fellowship does. When you are alone, you think crazy things and you get weak. You need to be around other believers.
    Here is what it could look like.
    Acts 5:42 NLT
    42 And every day, in the Temple and from house to house, they continued to teach and preach this message: “Jesus is the Messiah.”
    They did church at the church and they did small groups on other days of the week. Right now you are in the Temple… Monday we had some small groups.
    Here is what happens when you do this.
    Ecclesiastes 4:9–10 NLT
    9 Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. 10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.
    You can help each other to finish strong and grow stronger. We all need someone at some point in our lives. We will all go through crises. It could be a storm… we live in a storm area. It could be more personal. As you develop connect in church, you develop relationships with people who will help you… people you may help at some point too.

    3. Give a tithe to the Lord every week.

    Tithing is the habit of returning the first 10% of what God blesses you with to him. When we do this, we are saying to Jesus that he is first in my life.
    Here is why we do this. The Bible tells us too.
    Deuteronomy 14:23 The Living Bible
    23 Bring this tithe to eat before the Lord your God at the place he shall choose as his sanctuary; this applies to your tithes of grain, new wine, olive oil, and the firstborn of your flocks and herds. The purpose of tithing is to teach you always to put God first in your lives.
    Is God first in your life? Does your checkbook show it?
    How do we do this? what does it look like?
    1 Corinthians 16:2 NLT
    2 On the first day of each week, you should each put aside a portion of the money you have earned. Don’t wait until I get there and then try to collect it all at once.
    This is proportional giving. If you make a lot, you give a lot… a little a little...
    Here is what happens.
    Malachi 3:10 NLT
    10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!
    He says that when you do this, he will take care of things. As a matter of fact, this is the only area that God says we can test him. If we do, he comes through.
    Conclusion
    Which one of these three weaknesses are you most likely to fall into? self indulgence? resentment? carelessness? What is God telling you?
    Here is what I know. If we will all commit to these three habits, we will grow stronger in our spirits.
    Are you ready to make daily time with God? to connect to church every week and to give a weekly tithe? If you do, it will change your life. Try it, you will see.
    Growing strong doesn’t happen by accident, it requires you committing to it.
    Ephesians 6:10 NLT
    10 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
    You can’t do these on your own, you have to have the power of the Lord in your life.
    Salvation prayer…
      • Ephesians 6:10TLB

      • Ephesians 3:16TLB

      • Judges 14:2TLB

      • 1 Peter 4:1–2TLB

      • Judges 15:11TLB

      • Song of Solomon 3TLB

      • Job 5:2TLB

      • Job 18:4TLB

      • Proverbs 29:11TLB

      • Judges 16:15–17TLB

      • Proverbs 18:20TLB

      • Psalm 25:4TLB

      • Luke 5:16TLB

      • John 15:7TLB

      • Hebrews 10:25TLB

      • Acts 5:42TLB

      • Ecclesiastes 4:9–10TLB

      • Deuteronomy 14:23TLB

      • 1 Corinthians 16:2TLB

      • Malachi 3:10TLB

      • Ephesians 6:10TLB

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