UNLEASHED Vol. 15 – Victory & Freedom

Unleashed Vol. 15MenOfFreedom_Logo_Color

Victory & Freedom!

     So, what does victory look like this side of heaven? I mean, we all know the end goal is to hear “Well done my good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25) when we stand before the throne; but how do we get that far? What does a victorious life look like here on earth?
Well, I know I can safely tell you it’s not about perfection or living a perfect life, though it is about the pursuit of Jesus and righteousness. I know it’s not simply by “good works” alone, we can’t earn our way or work our way into heaven. Ephesians 2:8-10 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” So we’ve got to have faith and it does seem there is some work to be done. We’ve got to believe and then move; there is internal and external work we need to do. We’ve got to, with child-like faith – Mark 10:15, accept Him into our hearts; then be willing to obey and do the work He has for us out of the overflow of joy and gratitude in our hearts. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” This has to motivate us past the selfish flesh, past our fear, past our doubt, past our comfort zones; unleashing us to live victoriously in freedom!!! In doing so, accepting His grace and love HAS to change us from the inside out; it has to begin and continuously be transforming our hearts, our minds, and our souls to WANT to live for Him! 2 Corinthians 3:18 “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” Victory is constantly seeking Jesus to lead us as we allow Him to work on our hearts internally; at the same time externally showing worship, gratitude and love to Him and love to the world by living out the double love command from Mark 12:30-31 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

1. Let’s flush this out and look at it more closely. There is a lot to consider, yet the underlining way to victory is so simple. Victory and freedom come through faith in JESUS CHRIST!!! But that is just the beginning of the new story in your life. It’s all you need, but the story should rarely end here. Victory is knowing what we are created for, to give Him praise and WORSHIP! Victory is working through the tough stuff in life and coming out the other side stronger and closer to Jesus because of it, every time! It’s putting in the time to reflect and analyze your life; to scrutinize it and allow Jesus into every part of it. Victory is the day you face yourself in the mirror and actually own what you see, then work tirelessly to allow Jesus to mold you into His vision for your life. Victory is fighting passivity and boldly stepping into the darkness in faith. Victory is doing the hard thing, not for any other reason except that it is the right thing to do and it is what Jesus would have done. Victory is being able to apologize freely. Victory is living selflessly. Victory is being a prayer warrior for you wife and family. It’s servant leadership with a happy and glad heart. Victory is knowing your enemy and overcoming him by the Blood of Jesus. Victory is quality and frequent communicating with your links of support: God, wife/family, and your brothers. Victory is uncovering your wounds so you can allow Jesus in to heal them. Victory is analyzing your resources and priorities in life, then working towards good Godly balance. Victory is giving till it hurts, and then doing it again and again. Victory is identifying idols in your life and getting rid of them in Jesus name! Victory is seeing the deceitful distractions of this world and refusing them. Victory is treating your body well and getting the rest you need to be a light every day! Victory is getting a handle on your anger and working towards love. Victory is enjoying life and not shying away from adventure! Victory is getting a brother in Christ to keep you accountable for sexual purity. Victory is being in His Word every day! Victory is standing in the battle field with no fear of the enemy. Victory is surrendering worry, guilt, shame, and all anxiety so they have no power over you. Victory is continually stepping out of your comfort zone every time He asks you to. Victory is making time to be still before Him, to slow down enough, to give Him your undivided attention enough, and to actually hear from Him. Victory is Battling Well to keep Jesus #1 in your life at all times!
2. We have to REMEMBER what Jesus did for us! Our enemy tries to get us to forget the truth constantly. All chains are broken!!! The enemy is defeated. You do not have to stay the same, your heart can be UNLEASHED to fully fight against the enemy in Jesus name! YOU ARE CAPABLE OF CHANGE! We have to remember, ignoring the lies of the enemy, that WE ALREADY STAND IN VICRTORY IN JESUS NAME! He has already won our freedom, we are already on the winning side! We are living from victory, not for victory!!! The thing is that we need to ACT LIKE IT!
a. We have to starve our flesh; overcoming the flesh, the HARDEST of the three fold enemy to beat.
b. James 1:14 “but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.” “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21
c. “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.” Galatians 5:16-17.
d. 1 Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
i. We’ve dealt with all that flesh and realized we don’t have to accept it. That junk is not who we are! We have our new identity in Him!
e. Christ gives us His authority over anything or everything!!!
i. Luke 10:19 “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.”
ii. Power to literally crush the head of the enemy under our heel. To battle well against FEAR, GUILT, and SHAME! (Those are the devises of the enemy used to hang over our heads and to wrap up our hearts; keeping us chained up).
iii. Destroying all strongholds the enemy has over you. Breaking all addictions and idols!

     1. I have seen firsthand in my own life where Jesus has saved me from my broken, wicked, sinful ways. Sexual impurity, drugs, alcohol, lying, manipulation, gossip, hatred, and the list goes on and on. Left to my own ways I was heading straight to hell. I never thought I could live free in victory. The enemy had convinced me I was alone, worthless, used up, guilty, and unlovable. My idea of victory was getting my way, which always had a short lived satisfaction before I needed the next idol to come through for me. Jesus loved me enough to slowly but surely pull me out of the pit I had put myself into. As I began to want something more, something better, He met me at each step, destroying all that the enemy had done, forgiving me, loving me, guiding me, and giving me hope. The more He does for me the more freedom I experience, and I desire Him more fully; to live for Him and love Him more! Romans 6:20-23 sums this up perfectly, “When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
2. We have to fight to find our Joy & to live from our Gratitude! If we truly believe Jesus died for us, WE HAVE TO LIVE IT! It must show up in our attitudes, choices, and actions. Living for him, not self. HEART CHANGE, from the inside out.
a. 1 John 3:18 “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”
b. John 13:35 “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
i. Once I let Jesus take control of my heart, not only was I unleashed from all the bondage, not only did I find joy and freedom, but I found what it was like to feel real, true gratitude, and it burns so intensely in my soul that my only option is to respond with love. This love comes out of me in so many ways, the only explanation is the transformation God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit create.
c. 2 Corinthians 3:18 “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
i. At work I give 100%, not looking to take short cuts or take the easy way out. With my kids, I give them my fully present self as often as I can. In my marriage, I look for ways to love my wife in her love language and I look for ways I can serve her to take things off of her plate. In my friendships, I look for ways I can bless them with my words and help them any way I can. My wife and I have felt so much love, freedom, joy, and gratitude we heard God’s call to give it to others, so we started foster care and have adopted two children. Leading the 3:18 Men of Freedom is an act of love out of the gratitude I feel for the freedom He has given me. Within our ministry we create opportunities for men to come along side us and serve around the community with other non-profit organizations and with Habitat for Humanity. I tithe 10% at church, not because I feel like I have to, but because I want to. And that’s really to core issue with all this, the idea that I am entitled to nothing and yet Jesus gives me everything, therefore I live transformed and gladly give, love, serve, and sacrifice freely and joyfully out of gratitude for what He has done and to point all the glory, honor, and praise to Him!!! The more I give and love and serve, the more He fills me with strength, peace, and joy and it drives me on to do more of it! There is plenty of joy He has for us, it’s just not found in the things they world tries to sell us…
ii. The victory I feel everyday motivates me to live better for Him with each breath and causes me to be forever grateful for each breath, tomorrow is not guaranteed. Victory allows me to stay present and use each moment to its fullest.
iii. Our world needs more men who have been unleashed, who have tasted freedom, who have come alive, who are being transformed, and who are willing to step up and battle well EVERYDAY to be a light and to love through service and sacrifice. Jesus never said it would be easy, but He did say it would be worth it! ( Matthew 7:12-13)
3. Through transformation we will see the fruits of the Spirit abound in our lives. THIS IS TRUE VICTORY HERE ON EARTH!
a. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Galatians 5:22-24
b. Belonging to Christ; trusting and believing in Him so fully that you live a completely surrendered life entirely dependent on Him to provide, lead, and protect.
c. Victory is all about heart! It’s about growing closer and closer to Jesus and allowing Him to unleash your heart to live through His victory in freedom! “In the end, it doesn’t matter how well we have performed or what we have accomplished – a life without heart is not worth living. For out of this wellspring of our soul flow all true caring and all meaningful work, all real worship and all sacrifice. Our faith, hope, and love issue from this fount, as well. Because it is in our heart that we first hear the voice of God and it is in the heart that we come to know him and learn to live in his love.” – John Eldredge The Sacred Romance p. 3.
4. We’ve got to battle well for victory and freedom! As always, we have to remember there is an enemy out there who hates us and wants us as far away from victory and freedom as possible. In fact, those are the very things he tries to steal from us. We have got to battle well every day to stay close to our links of support and to defend our links of support.

Link #1: God – We have to know the Godhead intimately! We have got to be in constant pursuit to know God better and to spend time with Him!!!
a. We have got to know the truth, we have got to know the part of the Godhead. Jesus the Son of God, our Savior, has already won the war, and we stand in victory because of Him. Holy Spirit – a guide, we have to pray and read the Word to hear Him. God –creator of all, our loving Father, we have to rely on Him.
1. We have got to love as He loves and forgive as He forgives. We need to be love in action! We need to stay close to Him and have got to be praying constantly! 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.
2. Victory is surrendering it all to Jesus and following Him. Luke 9:23 “Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.
3. Victory is praying, listening, and obeying His will. Victory is being humble and allowing Him to prune and groom us into who He wants us to be. John 15:1-8 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
a. Victory with God is developing the self-control to live in such a way as to honor Him with every aspect of your life. To live for Him and to serve Him out of love and gratitude, not obligation; gladly sacrificing out of selfless desire to bring glory to Him.

“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:9-21

          b. Victory is understanding the importance and purpose of worship. WORSHIP IS WARFARE
4. Everything we do is an act of worship to something. Victory is knowing this and intentionally living in such a way that we are aware at all times how our worship looks to God and diligently orchestrating each moment of your life to point all honor, glory and praise to Him! It feels good to Worship Him. We were built to worship Him. When we worship we get to show Him how we feel about Him. Worship isn’t just praises and songs, though those are great and absolutely necessary; worship is shown through our thoughts, choices, actions, attitudes, and words.
5. “We don’t worship for a miracle, we worship because we were created to. So even if we don’t get the miracle we worship anyway.” – Chris Durso.
a. This mentality is victory over the enemy, because the enemy hates it when we worship God.
b. Every time we worship God with our thoughts, words, actions, attitudes, and songs we are showing the enemy exactly where our allegiance is held and we can claim victory over the enemy.

Link #2: Wife – We have got to lead well here for victory in our marriages. We should BOTH be striving to be Christ-like. If I am putting Jesus first in my life and she is putting Jesus first in her life, we will both be victorious in loving each other well because we will each be putting Christ first and each other above self. There is true freedom and victory here because when we are living this out, we are thinking about each other first and considering each other in our decisions, which alleviates a whole lot of common marital issues. However, this is not easy, and not always perfect. This hinges on the fact that I am still putting God first, above my wife. Therefore, I can love and forgive her as Christ has for me REGARDLESS of her response. That’s the kicker. I can’t only do it if she responds favorably, I have to do it because it’s the right thing to do because Christ did it for me and I ultimately I want to honor Him through my marriage. This is very sacrificial, again, just as He did for us.
a. This is doing the right thing, even when it’s hard, especially when it’s hard. Loving and forgiving freely! Holding no grudges. Surprising her, when she expects a certain negative response from me and I can show her grace, love, and forgiveness; it changes her heart. She can sense I am open to talk and work it out, versus having to tighten up for a fight. It’s a way we can aid Jesus in rescuing her feminine heart, His beauty.
b. We have got to be fighting passivity!!! When challenged we tend to go passive and avoid the conflict or go passive-aggressive through blame shifting. There is real freedom and victory through honest communication. It may not be immediate, but stay in the game, stay in communication, don’t give up.
c. Look for ways to love her and sacrifice for her. Ephesians 5:25 “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Pursue her, make her a priority. Be a servant leader; regardless of her response. Know her love language and try to serve her in that capacity. Often we want to love as we feel love, which for men is almost always physical touch, and much less common in women. You may be putting tons of energy and effort into actions that don’t speak love to your wife as well as other attempts might. There is victory when your efforts are not in vain. Take the time to get to know what your wife’s love language is and be intentional.
d. Love is a powerful thing. We don’t do all this as a manipulation to get love from our wives. However, when they do respond in loving us back, there is freedom and victory in the security and satisfaction in knowing they are also honoring God in their hearts.
e. When we are in harmony, we are able to operate as one and do amazing things for the Kingdom. Serve together. Do life together!

Link #3: Brothers – Having at least one or several good godly men who you can trust and walk an authentic life with. This is essential for our hearts to be able to connect in a masculine way.
a. You have got to have men you can walk life with. Men you can trust. Men you can be 100% open and honest with. There is so much freedom when you can be yourself without fear of judgement, no more walls, no more lies, and no more defense mechanisms. Just being able to be fully known and appreciated brings freedom and victory. We all need guys who we can confide in and who will speak truth to us, whether we want to hear it or not. We need those type of guys who will listen, be understanding, give good godly advice, and shoot us straight when we need it. We all need other men in our lives who are going to help remind us of our identity in Christ and constantly point us back to Jesus. Proverbs 24:6 “Surely you need guidance to wage war, and victory is won through many advisers.”
b. We need to be a man like that to other guys. We need to be a good brother to those who need it. We need to allow for some investment of our time, energy, and resources to build into the lives of others. Hebrews 10:24-25 “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
c. We all need accountability, support for purity. You cannot walk the purity walk alone.
d. We need guys who are going to challenge us, push us, and help make us better. “Iron sharpens iron…” Proverbs 27:17.
e. We all need guys who have our back. Who are fun to be around, who build into our hearts, and who are up for adventure.
f. Do not allow the enemy to lie to you about this, that no one would want to get to know you, or that you are unlovable… Relationships are hard, but God built us for community, so don’t be an island. If friendships are hard for you, be brave, pray about it, and be open to see who God brings along.

Questions to ponder:

1. Where do you experience victory and freedom in your life right now?
2. Where don’t you experience victory and freedom in your life? What areas do you desire more freedom and victory? What areas might you feel God calling you to work on?
3. What steps do you need to take in order to claim victory and experience freedom in those aspects of your life?
4. How is your quiet time with God? Are you getting enough to hear from Him?
5. If you are married, where are you experiencing victory together? Where are you experiencing discord? What do you need to do to lead through that?
6. Do you have brothers you are walking deep with? Are you experiencing victory and freedom together?

 

Men, stand in victory through Him!!! Victory is living for something greater than yourself, it’s living for a purpose, to bring glory to God! Victory is desiring to serve out of the overflow of gratitude you feel for what Christ has done for you. Victory is actively looking for ways to serve and build the Kingdom of God here on earth. Victory is finding it a privilege to serve and put others first. Victory is loving because we have been loved and forgiving because we have been forgiven, there is where freedom is found. Victory is living on purpose, living on mission, intentionally keeping the end in mind; envisioning eternity with Him!

 

In the STRONG VICTORIOUS name of Christ,
Nick VandenBerg
3:18 Men of Freedom
Team Leader

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