JOURNEY TO FREEDOM
UNIT IV Key 1 DESIRE
SCRIPTURE PRINCIPLE: I delight to do Thy will, O my God; Thy Law is within my heart. Psalm 40:8
Christians are different from other people. Faith in Christ and His Atonement on the cross, which gives us forgiveness, life, and salvation, make us different. This faith changes our condition from lost to saved. Faith changes us from enemies of God to friends of God, and faith changes our self-willed attitudes into a desire to obey God’s will. Only a believing Christian can say, “I delight to do Your will, O God.” The only thing that faith does not do is make us perfect. That’s why we continue to sin even when our deepest desire is to serve the Lord. “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak (Matthew 26:41).
The Bible, especially the Epistles, clearly tells us that the flesh (self-will and emotions) war against the Spirit of God. This is why our Christian walk is so hard at times. This is why we have difficulties in our relationships with God, ourselves, and other people.
In the previous Unit, the focus was on identifying the lies of the enemy of our souls. The devil has not had an original thought since he got kicked out of Heaven. He does not need original ideas, because the old ones have been working well for him. As long as we continue to believe his lies, he has leverage. As long as we have weaknesses in our thinking, he has leverage. Lies are all he has to work with. He will attack at our weakest points as hard as possible.
If you fell into a sin, why did it happen? Punishing yourself with guilt is a waste of time and energy that could be better spent examining your weak points. What emotion drove the temptation? What bad thing did you believe the sin would help you to avoid, or what good thing did you think the sin was going to bring to you? If there is some temptation that is hard to resist, there is likely a bundle of lies that support it. Unless we have faith that God’s way is truly better, that salvation is a free gift, and that His truth will truly set us free, we will continue as slaves of our weaknesses. We need faith to believe that facing the truth and obeying God’s will are going to bring better and most lasting rewards.
The more the lies are exposed by the Holy Spirit working through the Word, and the more we apply the truth from the Word to our lives, the stronger we become and the more free we feel. Truth is the first piece to put into place if we are going to stand in full battle armor (Ephesians 6:14). If you have gotten this far in the Keys, you have likely learned more and more of God’s truth, and you like the changes that God is working into your life.
Sometimes we find that one weakness can set us up for a chain reaction, in which one sin leads to another, and another, and another. Sometimes identifying one lie and replacing it with truth can likewise set off a chain reaction as the newly gained truth is applied to a variety of situations that previously defeated us. A hard-won deliverance often affects many aspects of our lives.
Without faith in Jesus’ Atonement on the cross on our behalf, we have no desire to do God’s will. Without faith, we are slaves of self-destructive choices. Without faith, we easily assume that if we could just have our own way, if people and circumstances would just give us more of what we want out of life, if we were just able to indulge ourselves a little bit more, or if we could have just one more material possession, we would find peace and contentment. Without faith, we are willing to justify any sin of word or deed that will get us what we want, we feel that we have a right to be angry if we do not get it, and we are ready to be vindictive against those who stand in our way.
In the book of I Samuel, we find a unique relationship between Samuel the prophet and Saul the king. Saul had a weak faith, so he chose to sin, thinking thereby to stay in control. One sin led to lost battles, paranoid fears, increasing mental illness, alienation from his own son, the loss of his people’s confidence in him, and civil war. The more obsessed he became with control, the less control he had; the less control he had, the more obsessed he became with it. In the end, he was driven by desperation to commit the sin of witchcraft, the very thing he had tried to purge from his kingdom. The next day, having lost all control over his earthly life, Saul ended it by committing suicide.
The saddest part of the story is that Saul never repented and threw himself on the mercy of God. David fell into deep sin, but he repented, and he was forgiven and restored. Because Christ made full satisfaction for all of our sins on the cross, we need never despair of the mercy of God.
1. Please read I Samuel 9:15-16 and 10:21-22. What weakness does Saul have?
2. Please read I Samuel 11. In this chapter, Saul does several things right. What are they?
3. Please read I Samuel 13:5-14. What was Saul’s sin? What lies opened him up for temptation? What truth should he have believed? Did his sin get him what he wanted? Who really won the battle, according to chapter 14?
4. Please read I Samuel 15:1-23. What was Saul’s sin? What lies opened him up for temptation? What truth should he have believed?
5. Please read I Samuel 15:24-31. Was Saul’s repentance genuine? Why or why not?
6. Please read I Samuel 24 and 26. What did David do right, and what truths from the Word of God empowered him to do right?
7. Saul’s weaknesses are many and varied. Do you see yourself in any of his weaknesses, and if so, which ones?
8. Please see I Samuel 16:14-15 and 18:6-12. How did Saul’s attitude enable an evil spirit to torment him? Why might God have allowed it?
9. How do the following verses encourage you to overcome ssa/ma/tx or any other sin?
Proverbs 10:24 __________________________________________________________
Proverbs 15:5 ___________________________________________________________
Proverbs 16:2 ___________________________________________________________
10. By now, what are your greatest reasons for wanting to overcome ssa/ma/tx?
11. How has your self-image changed as you learn who you are in Christ?
12. How have your relationships with others changed since you began the Keys?
13. On a scale of 1-10, how victorious have you been lately (1 is lowest, 10 is highest)? Please explain your answer.
14. Did you use any memorized Scripture to battle temptation lately? What was the result?
15. How is your spiritual life in general, how are your private devotions, and how are things at your church/fellowship group?
Plan of Action: (You may want to read the rest of the book of I Samuel and consider developing a plan of action to avoid Saul’s mistakes. Focus on how he related to David, Jonathan, and Samuel, and develop a plan of action using those three men as role models.)