A Recipe For Victory – Acts 1:8

Posted in Bible, Encouragement, Faith on  | 5 minutes | 4 Comments →

For some time now, I’ve felt pressed to give TWIM a bit of a new direction. Make no mistake: I will still address arguments in philosophy of religion, philosophy of mind, science, etc. However, I feel the need to share some of my writings directed specifically at believers, in the hope that they might find a different sort of encouragement here. In keeping with that, today I offer a short piece I wrote almost ten years ago, in hopes that somebody might be encouraged, regardless of their beliefs. As a matter of fact, I’ve been encouraged merely from re-reading the piece, especially at this pivotal time in my life. I hope another can say the same.

Acts 1:8 says believers will receive power from God. Power is defined as “the ability or capacity to act effectively.” The verse reads, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you…” This verse is cooperative with 2 Timothy 1:7 which reads “God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline.” So if believers have this power, why do we often experience defeat from ourselves, sin, the devil and the world?

I believe the answer lies in lack of application. All the power in the world is useless without a means of application.

If power is the ability to act effectively, then these verses are saying that God has given us the ability to act effectively. We have been given the ability to stand victorious, as He who stood the test and was found without sin. The entire concept of being “born again” was not intended as mere poetry or fanciful metaphor. Scripture says that believers literally receive a new spirit that is not of this world. So, it stands to reason that if you are a believer, you possess the ability to effectively carry out God’s will for your life. God has given it to you through the gift of the Holy Spirit. Whatever sin you struggle with, realize that you have the power to lay it down. Also realize that God commands you to lay down all sins as brought to your attention through the convicting power of the Holy Spirit. (1 Thess. 4:3)

Ephesians 6 sheds light on our means of application. We need to ask God to put the armor upon us daily. We need to study the sword of the spirit, which is God’s Word. We need to pray about situations and ask God for help. We need to confess and repent when we do the wrong thing, then be diligent and persistent in steering clear of it the next time around. Realize that on your own you cannot overcome sin. You may overcome certain sins, but without the power of the Spirit and regeneration, you can never release the stranglehold that sin, Satan and the world have upon you. You can renew your fallen spirit.

If you believe this, then every time you find yourself struggling or reverting back to sin and its demands, it is a failure to apply God’s power which dwells within you. God has called us to be holy, and has given us everything we need for such holiness. (2 Peter 1:3) Human will is ineffective against sin because it is steeped in sin; it is contaminated. It is inherently not of God.

The answer to the question “Why am I constantly…(fill in the blank with any sin or destructive behavior pattern)?” is always personal choice. We choose sin. Sometimes we find that it slipped into something seemingly innocent, as when we harbor jealousy against a co-worker, and other times it is blatantly obvious, like when we head straight for the bar to get crazy drunk after a bad day. In both cases, we choose sin.

If the aikidoka are to be believed, the way to overcome something is to supply its opposite. The opposite of sinfulness is godliness. We supply godliness when we pray. We supply godliness when we study and meditate upon the Scriptures. We supply godliness by quoting Scripture when tempted, like the example the Lord left for us in Matthew 4. We supply godliness when we keep in step with the leading of the Holy Spirit as described in Romans 8 and Galatians 5:16-18.

The place to start is always prayer. If you’re struggling with sins, realize and admit that either consciously or unconsciously you have accepted them, and ask God to forgive you. Ask God to expose the workings and tactics of the enemy in your life. Ask Him to alert you through the Holy Spirit whenever you are entering a situation that may make you stumble. He will. He will warn you silently through the Spirit. After that, diligent obedience is key. God’s warnings are useless if not heeded; when we refuse to obey we quench the spirit. (1 Thess. 5:19)

Ask for it all in accordance with God’s will.


  1. E.G



  2. Hey, CL. This isn’t related to this post, but I was wondering if you were open to speaking over email.

  3. cl





    Sure, you’ve emailed me before, you should still have the address…

  4. Matt


    I like the fact that the Bible sees feet as the identifying component of a messenger and not the mouth (as seen in Ephesians 6). It doesn’t seem as obvious to those of us with email. Isaiah 52:7 does the same thing. The messenger’s mouth that proclaims the message isn’t beautiful, it’s the feet that carried him there.

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