Robert Jeffress - These Boots Were Made For Walking
Hi, I'm Robert Jeffress, and welcome again to "Pathway to Victory". At some point or another, everyone begins to wonder about their true purpose in life. We naturally long for something more than simply going to work, coming home, eating dinner and going to bed, because God created us for something far greater. In fact, identifying your purpose in life is not only essential to your fulfillment, it's also a key to thwarting the attacks from Satan in your life. My message is titled, "These Boots Were Made for Walking," on today's edition of "Pathway to Victory".
The playwright George Bernard Shaw once wrote, "This is true joy in life. Being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one. Being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish, little clod of ailments and grievances, constantly complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy". George Bernard Shaw was not a Christian, but he understood the value of a clearly defined purpose in life. Purpose gives us enjoyment in life. But that's not all. As we're going to discover today, understanding your God-given purpose in life can be a strong deterrent to Satan's attacks upon your life.
If you have your Bibles this morning I want you to turn to Ephesians 6. Ephesians 6. And we began looking last week at the third piece of spiritual armor, the third strategy for defeating Satan's plan to destroy us. Ephesians 6:15 says, "Having your feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace". Now we don't talk about shodding a whole lot in today's culture, but what he's talking about is making sure you have the right spiritual footwear, the right boots. Remember the Roman soldier had to wear the right boots to successfully engage in battle. Those thick-soled metal-enhanced boots, it gave the Roman soldier stability when he was in hand-to-hand combat. It also gave him protection from stones and sticks that the enemy placed underground.
In the same way, we Christians need the stability and protection that having the right purpose in life provides. And that leads to the fourth statement we're going to look at today about purpose. Living your purpose helps you to thwart Satan's attack. What is the connection between sharing the Gospel, making that the foundation of your life, and being successful in the spirit wars? Well, that's what we're going to talk about today. The fact is, when you really keep your God-given purpose in life in the forefront of your mind, you will find that it is a powerful deterrent to Satan's attacks. Because when you understand your purpose it will help you make three crucial choices in your life that are absolutely essential to victory in spiritual warfare.
What are those choices? Number one, write it down, choosing purity over immorality. When you understand and you live your purpose in life, you'll find it much easier when temptation comes to choose purity over immorality. This week I was visiting with a man in another city and he was telling me about his dad. His dad had become addicted to a enslaving habit. A habit that had destroyed the man's family. And so I asked this man about his dad. I said, "Is your dad a Christian"? He said, "Oh, yes, he's a Christian". He said, "In fact, years ago when I was growing up he was the one who was our spiritual leader in the family. He would insist that we go to church every week. But then it was discovered that the pastor of our church was having an affair. And when my dad found out that this pastor was having an affair he became so disillusioned that he quit going to church, he fell away from God and fell into this addiction, and he's never darkened the door of the church since then".
And I was thinking about that pastor as he told me that. You know, I doubt that that pastor said, "I'm going to spend three years training in the seminary. I'm going to sacrifice, I'm going to work hard, I'm going to give my life so that I can see how many people I can disillusion with Christianity and cause to fall away from the faith". I doubt that's the reason that pastor entered into ministry. He had the right purpose, no doubt. He probably wanted to make a difference for the Kingdom of God. But for a moment he forgot his purpose. And because he forgot his purpose, because he believed that his purpose was to fulfill himself instead of God's purpose, he fell into sexual immorality.
Now, I realize most of you listening to this message, watching on television, you're not paid professionals in the ministry. You don't get your paycheck from the church. But just because you don't receive your paycheck from the church, you are no less a part of God's kingdom purpose than I am. We are all in this for the same reason. We are all here on planet earth for the same purpose. And that is to expand the Kingdom of God.
Now, think about this. If that is your life purpose, to influence people for Jesus Christ, what effect would sexual immorality in your life have on that life purpose? If you're the leader of a small group or a Sunday school class, how would the news that you were leaving your mate, how would that affect your influence in that small group Sunday school class? Or let's say you, at business you have a group of fellow employees you've been trying to witness to and share the Gospel with. How would they react to your witness if it was discovered that you had pornography on your computer at work and you were dismissed? How would it affect your mate? Your children whom you're trying to influence for Jesus Christ if it was discovered that you were involved in an elicit sexual affair?
You see, the reason most Christians fall into immorality is they forget the mission. They think the mission is to please themselves rather than to serve God and expand his kingdom. And that's why in 2 Timothy 2:3-4 Paul said, "Suffer hardship with me as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life so that he might please the one who enlisted him as a soldier". If you're going to be a soldier in God's kingdom, keep the mission in mind. It's not to please ourselves. It's to please God, the one who enlisted us. And then in verse 22 he says, "Therefore, flee from youthful lust and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart".
Do you want to avoid the trap of sexual immorality in your life? The best deterrent to keep yourself from falling into sexual immorality is to remember your purpose in life and to live out that purpose. Understanding our purpose is a strong motivation to choosing purity over immorality. But there's a second choice our purpose helps us to make. And that is choosing generosity over greed. You now, sexual immorality is not the only trap Satan sets for us to turn us away from God. The fact is, a preoccupation with money, materialism can also cause us to fall into sin.
By the way, you don't have to be rich to be preoccupied with money. People with no money can be just as fixated on finances as those with a lot of money. In fact in sometimes more so because they imagine money. "If I only had this amount of money I could really take care of all of my needs". Fact is, people get fixated on money for a lot of reasons. Some people appreciate the luxuries that money can buy. A beautiful home, designer clothes, a foreign automobile. Other people like money, and they love money because of the independence that it provides them. They think, "Boy, if I have this amount of money then, boy, I can go to my employer and say, 'take this job and,'" well, you know the rest of the sentence there.
You know, I like the independence that money gives me. Other people love money because they have this imagination that the right amount of money will protect them from any adversity in life. "Man, if I had this amount of money, I don't have to worry about layoffs or sickness or anything else that might come into my life". It doesn't matter the reason you might love money. The results are always the same. Remember Paul's words in 1 Timothy 6:9-10. He said, "But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs". Underline that word in verse 9, the word "Snare".
A snare is a trap that was set by a skillful hunter in order to entrap an animal. Satan is a master stalker. He's right now stalking you trying to turn you away from God to devour your relationship with God. And one of the traps that he will set for you to turn your heart away from God is a preoccupation with money. You see, a focus on money, first of all, destroys our desire for God. A focus on money destroys our dependence upon God. And a focus on money will destroy your trust in God. Think about that. If Satan is successful in destroying your desire, your dependence, your trust in God, he's succeeded, hasn't he? And nothing can accomplish that goal any more than a fixation with money.
That's why Jesus said in Matthew 6:24, "No man can serve two masters. For he will either hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money". Jesus said, "You can love money, you can love God. But you can't love both". What if you find yourself focused on money, what is the fix to your fixation on money? Well, Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:19-20. Do you want to keep yourself protected from a preoccupation with money? A preoccupation that will quench your love for God and lead you into sin? Listen to what Jesus said the remedy for materialism is.
Matthew 6:19 he said, "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy or where thieves break in and steal. Instead, lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven where neither moth nor rust destroys, nor thieves break in and steal". Verse 21, "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also". And then so nobody misses the point, in verse 33 he says it again. "But seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all of these things will be added unto you".
There's a third choice that living your purpose helps you make. And it's a crucial choice. That is choosing diligence over aimlessness. Choosing diligence over aimlessness. You know, purpose is to our life what the skeleton is to our body. It gives shape to it. It's something to hang everything else off of. It's the same thing with our purpose. When you really grasp why it is God left you here, that he's enlisted you to be a soldier to expand his kingdom, it will give you the motivation to live your life with purpose. It will help you make decisions from everything in life to how to spend your time to what to eat for dinner.
You see, because a soldier is one who disciplines himself. Just as a soldier in battle or an athlete in competition will tame and train his body for maximum performance. So a soldier of Jesus Christ will understand how important it is for him to have his body as his slave rather than his master. Think about this for a moment. Your body, I'm talking about your physical body. It can either be your greatest asset or your greatest liability in serving God. Your body can either be a slave to righteousness as Paul says in Romans 6, or it can be a slave to unrighteousness.
You get to make the choice. For example, your voice. You can use your voice to lead somebody to faith in Jesus Christ, or you can use that very same voice to discourage another believer to tear them down. Your body can either be the greatest asset or greatest liability in living your purpose. And that's why Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9, he said, "Everyone who gets involved in competition has to learn how to discipline his own body". And he says in verses 26 and 27 of 1 Corinthians 9, "Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim: I box in such a way, as not beating the air, but I discipline, I buffet my body".
By the way, that's not buffet my body, it's I buffet my body. "And I make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified". Do you know what Paul was most afraid of? What kept him up at nights? He worried that in some unguarded moment he might fall into a sin that would discredit the Gospel of Jesus Christ. After spending his life sharing the Gospel with others, in one moment he might do something that would negate his influence for Christ. And that's why Paul said, "I realize what's raging in my body. I realize the wrong desires that are still present within me, and that's why I discipline my body, I make it my slave".
Folks, if we're going to be successful in life, if we're going to avoid the traps of the enemy, we've got to constantly remind our body who's in charge. It's not our body that's in charge of us. We are in charge of our body. Well, how do you do that? How do you buffet your body and discipline your body? You know, it means pushing away that second piece of dessert when you really would like to have it. It means closing "Sports illustrated" and opening up your Bible. It means saying no to that extra rerun or sitcom on television and instead spending time in prayer. It means getting up out of bed 30 minutes earlier rather than staying in bed on that cold winter's morning.
Now, it's not that there's anything sinful about that extra piece of dessert. It doesn't mean there's anything sinful about watching a sitcom on TV. There's nothing sinful about sleeping an extra 30 minutes. There's nothing sinful about reading "Sports illustrated" unless it's the swimsuit edition. You know, there's nothing wrong about those things. That's not what Paul is saying. He's saying, "The reason I say no to these things and discipline my body is just to remind my body who's in charge so that when that temptation comes I'll be able to say no".
Now, here's the point. You will never have the motivation to discipline your body and therefore stay out of sin unless you understand your purpose in life. Just as an athlete will find it very difficult to maintain his training regimen when there's no game on the calendar. Just as a soldier will find it very difficult to keep going through those drills when there's no enemy in sight. So a Christian will have little motivation to discipline himself when he doesn't understand that he has been enlisted for service to Christ, when he has a clear view of his purpose in life. The Christian who doesn't understand his purpose of spreading God's kingdom, of influencing people for Christ, will eventually give up on discipline and give in to sin.
Living your purpose in life is the best motivation I know of for disciplining yourself and avoiding the traps of the enemy. The apostle Paul said it this way in Ephesians 5. He said, "Live your life, then, with a due sense of purpose, a due sense of responsibility, not as those who don't know the meaning and purpose of life, but as those who do". Don't waste your time. Make the best use of your time in spite of the evil days. Don't be vague, but firmly grasp what you know to be the will of God.