The word victory means to win a battle, to overcome, to conquer the enemy, to stand and not to fall. “But how shall this victory over the world be obtained? Go to your closet, dear reader, and there plead with God: ‘Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.’ Be in earnest, be sincere; Jacob-like, wrestle in prayer. Do not leave your closet until you feel strong in God. Remain until unutterable longings for salvation are awakened in your heart, and the sweet evidence is obtained of pardoned sin. Then when you leave your closet, watch; and so long as you watch and pray, the grace of God will appear in your life.” Signs of the Times, November 18, 1886.
The first step to victory is prayer. We cannot have victory without it. Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7. Then ask and believe what God has said. He will surely fulfill His word, brothers and sisters. The victory must be gained day by day, hour by hour, yea, even minute by minute. We are told that Jesus, our Example, spent entire nights in prayer. We also need to be in constant prayer. Paul tells us, “Pray without ceasing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17. The Psalmist says, “Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my meditation. Give heed to the voice of my cry, my King and my God, for to you will I pray. My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning I will direct it to You, and I will look up.” Psalm 5:1-3 says that in our daily life, we can have that attitude of prayer. We can be continually sending up silent prayers to the Lord.
“The darkness of the evil one encloses those who neglect to pray. The whispered temptations of the enemy entice them to sin; and it is all because they do not make use of the privileges that God has given them in the divine appointment of prayer. Why should the sons and daughters of God be reluctant to pray, when prayer is the key in the hand of faith to unlock heaven’s storehouse, where are treasured the boundless resources of Omnipotence? Without unceasing prayer and diligent watching we are in danger of growing careless and of deviating from the right path. The adversary seeks continually to obstruct the way to the mercy seat, that we may not by earnest supplication and faith obtain grace and power to resist temptation.” Steps to Christ, 94
The second step to victory is the study of the Word of God. In Matthew 4:4 we read, “But He answered and said, ‘It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”’” Seventh-day Adventists used to be a people of the Bible, but this is no longer true. We are now a part of the television generation. The majority of Seventh-day Adventists spend more time watching television than they do reading the Word.
“The Saviour overcame to show man how he may overcome. All the temptations of Satan, Christ met with the word of God. By trusting in God’s promises, He received the power to obey God’s commandments, and the tempter could gain no advantage. To every temptation His answer was, ‘It is written.’ So God has given us His Word wherewith to resist evil. Exceeding great and precious promises are ours, that by these we ‘might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.’ 2 Peter 1:4.” Ministry of Healing, 181
Do you remember Peter’s experience in walking on the water? As long as he kept his eyes on Jesus, he was able to walk; but the minute he looked down and saw the waves, he became fearful. What happened? He sank. “Christ is uplifted in the pages of the Bible, that all may see that in Him alone there is ‘everlasting strength;’ and unless the sinner makes it his life-work to behold the Saviour, and by faith accepts the merits which it is his privilege to claim, he can no more be saved than Peter could walk upon the water unless he kept his eyes fixed steadily upon Jesus.” Review and Herald, September 29, 1896
One of my favorite passages of Scripture says, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” Psalm 119:11. We need to be memorizing these Scriptures today, brothers and sisters. “The heart preoccupied with the Word of God is fortified against Satan. Those who make Christ their daily companion and familiar friend will feel that the powers of an unseen world are all around them; and by looking unto Jesus they will become assimilated to His image. By beholding they become changed to the divine pattern; their character is softened, refined, and ennobled for the heavenly kingdom.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 616. Is your character being refined, softened, and ennobled for the heavenly kingdom?
This Word will make us perfect if we will hide it in our hearts. We are told, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16, 17. We need to uplift the Scriptures and be studying them daily.
“Whoever has the Word of God, the appointed instrument of salvation, abiding in him, will overcome the wicked one, and he will grow up into Christ in all things. But of how many may it be said, ‘Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God’! Their weakness is found in the fact that they do not study the Scriptures for the purpose of practicing them in their daily life.” Signs of the Times, October 3, 1895. It is important, brothers and sisters, that we so fill our minds with the Scriptures that there is no room for the enemy, no temptation for him to even get a foothold in the door.
“Do we now obey the Word of God, and live by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God? Are we established and settled in the present truth? There is need of closely examining yourselves whether you are in the love of God; for except Christ be in you, you are reprobates. Self-deception is dangerous, and not one of us can afford to go in delusion.” Youth’s Instructor, May 18, 1893. As we draw closer and closer to the end, it becomes ever more important that we have Christ abiding in our minds and hearts, controlling all of our thoughts and actions.
The third step to victory is faith. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17. As we study the Word of God, our faith will develop and grow. A.T. Jones defined faith as depending upon the Word of God only and expecting that Word only to accomplish what it says. “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth. He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap; He lays up the deep in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.” Psalm 33:6-9. That is the power we have available in our lives today.
“We must have that faith in God that takes Him at His word. We can have no victory without cloudless confidence; for ‘without faith it is impossible to please Him.’ It is faith that connects us with the power of heaven, and that brings us the strength for coping with the powers of darkness… In order to exercise intelligent faith, we should study the Word of God. The Bible, and the Bible alone, communicates a correct knowledge of the character of God, and of His will concerning us.” Review and Herald, September 22, 1910
The fourth step to victory is to cleanse ourselves, healthful living. We are told that, “the controlling power of appetite will prove to be the ruin of thousands, when, if they had conquered on this point, they would have had moral power to gain the victory over every other temptation of Satan.” Counsels on Health, 574. Many people spend a great deal of time in study and prayer, but they neglect themselves physically. We need to seek the Lord through the Spirit of Prophecy and the Bible to see what He would have us to do. Anything we allow to cloud our minds hinders our understanding of the Scriptures. God has given the eight laws of health to keep our bodies as a living, holy sacrifice unto Him.
The fifth step to victory is to educate our minds, thoughts, and habits. We must be educating our minds in the school of Christ.
“To restore in man the image of his Maker, to bring him back to the perfection in which he was created, to promote the development of body, mind, and soul, that the divine purpose in his creation might be realized—this was to be the work of redemption. This is…the great object of life.” Education, 15, 16
“There are hereditary and cultivated tendencies to evil that must be overcome. The training and education of a lifetime must be often discarded that the Christian may become a learner in the school of Christ, and in him who would be a partaker of the divine nature, appetite and passion must be brought under the control of the Holy Spirit.” Christian Education, 122. Are we doing that today?
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” Proverbs 1:7. Do we love the Lord so much that we want to have this knowledge? To educate and acquire knowledge and the beginning of knowledge is to fear God.
“Educate your mind to study the Word of God. Study it with your whole heart and pray much….Educate it to dwell on the life, the character and the lessons of Christ….But you must resist the devil. You must educate yourself to a different train of thought. Put no confidence in yourself.” Testimonies on Sexual Behavior, Adultery, and Divorce, 127
Why is it, brothers and sisters, that our people are so susceptible to every heresy that comes along? It is because we have not taught ourselves to think and to reason things out. The Bible is so simple that the common man can understand it. Take it as it reads. It is not complicated, and we do not have to be highly educated to understand it. As a matter of fact, very often education gets in the way of understanding simple Bible truth. “Many seem to have no power to think….some need to discipline their minds by exercise. They should force it to think.” Testimonies for the Church at Alcott, New York, 9
Now as we go into true education, we only have one Teacher, and that is Christ Jesus. He is to be our only instructor. “Jesus was the greatest teacher the world ever knew, and He chose men whom He could educate, and who would take the words from His lips, and send them down along the line to our time. So, by His Spirit and His Word, He would educate you for His work. Just as surely as you empty your mind of vanity and frivolity, the vacuum will be supplied with that which God is waiting to give you,—His Holy Spirit. Then out of the good treasure of the heart you will bring forth good things, rich gems of thought, and others will catch the words and will begin to glorify God. Then you will not have the mind centered upon self. You will not be making a show of self; you will not be acting self; but your thoughts and affections will dwell upon Christ, and you will reflect upon others that which has shone upon you from the sun of righteousness.” Review and Herald, March 15, 1892
The sixth step to victory is sacrifice. Christ sacrificed His position in heaven. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. He became poor that we might have salvation. We are told that, “The Christian church was founded upon the principle of sacrifice. ‘If any man will come after Me,’ says Christ, ‘let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.’ He requires the whole heart, the entire affections.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 307
We need to sacrifice self daily, taking up the cross of Christ. In Testimonies to the Church, vol. 9, 53, we read, “Perfection of character cannot possibly be attained without self-sacrifice.” Paul says, “I die daily.” 1 Corinthians 15:31
The spirit of sacrifice leads us right into the seventh and final step to victory—Christian service. Matthew 20:26-28 says, “Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” We need to be servants one to another. As members of the body of Christ, we must all be involved in this work. “But no one will ever enter heaven who is not a laborer together with God.” Review and Herald, February 19, 1895
Jesus said, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 4:19. We need to be following Christ. The fields are ripe for harvest. Let us take as many as we can into heaven with us, brothers and sisters.
Our home is where our mission is to begin, but it is to extend beyond to our neighborhood. “Everyone who receives the light of truth should be taught to bear the light to others….some may be so constituted as to see failure where God intends success; they may see only giants and walled cities, where others, with clearer vision, see also God and angels ready to give victory to His truth.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 392
As we press forward, we must not become weary along the way. There may be giants in the land, brothers and sisters. Some people see sin as an insurmountable giant; but praise the Lord, there is also victory as we apply these seven steps. “It was Caleb’s faith that gave him courage, that kept him from the fear of man, and enabled him to stand boldly and unflinchingly in the defense of the right. Through reliance on the same Power, the mighty General of the armies of heaven, every true soldier of the cross may receive strength and courage to overcome the obstacles that seem insurmountable.” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, 1113
God is preparing a land for us, and He wants each and every one of us to be there. Let us say, as did Caleb, “It is a goodly land, and we are well able to go up and possess it.” (See Numbers 13:30; 14:6-9.)