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Rest & War



We are currently in a war where our King has won the decisive victory. How can we both fight in this war and rest in the confidence we have in Him as our Savior? Ben Stuart shares a message on Rest & War, reading from James 1.

Key Takeaway

God has freed us. He's freed us to fight. We are at war with an enemy who hates us because we look like the One who shamed him. But we are not alone. God gives us strategies to struggle well.

  1. It feels like we're in a war because we are in a war. 1 John 3:8 tells us that Jesus came to destroy the enemy. The first mention of Jesus is adversity. In Genesis 3 He is described as crushing the snake's head. There has been an invasion, but He came to fight for us.
  2. He created a rescue operation. His first sermon was about release for the captives. (Luke 4:18). In Luke 11, Jesus tells a parable of a strong man beating someone up and taking his things. The plunder is us, the strong man is the enemy. The good news is Jesus was proclaiming that he was an even stronger one that has come to save us. Why else would darkness and demons flee Him? He is supreme and all-powerful.
  3. He has invited us to an ongoing mission. Victory has already been won. He hasn't set us free FROM the struggle, He set us free TO struggle. Before, we were just the victim, now, we're victorious. He's empowered us to release a war cry and take out the enemy. We have been set free. We've been set free to fight.

The Spiritual Life of Jesus is one movement in two parts.

Move away from ways of thinking and living that isolate us from God. Move toward ways of thinking and living that bring us close to God. See 2 Timothy 2:22. It's called sanctification. Sanctification comes from the word "holy" or "set apart". So, we as believers are sanctified.

Moving away is called mortification. It's the killing off of our sin. Not reveling in what my King died to set me free from.

Moving toward is called vivification. It's planting and promoting new life. It is flourishing.

Jesus is never going to leave you, the fight is for an unrestrained intimacy found in sanctification.

Your enemy hates you. You look like the One who shamed him. His goal is to get you to sin, to take a willful step away from intimacy with God. So he has to make the environment attractive to you. He knows you have a mind, soul, affections, and a will to make decisions. So he goes after your mind, affections, and will through your mind, heart, and hands. He stirs thoughts of the mind to fuel your affections which are the engine of our actions, to get us to enact our will to sin. The process is called temptation.

His process is simple. He lures us by turning our minds, then we are enticed by our stirred affections, and before we know it, we are on the hook and have enacted our will. We experience this daily, but we often forget there is someone behind the whole thing, our enemy. The best self-knowledge you can have is to know how he gets you. It's personal. See 1 Timothy 4:16


  1. Eliminate the moment. James 1:14. Eliminate the temptation. Get radical about your elimination. For example, if you struggle with your phone: keep it out of your room, set limits, etc. Practice scripture before social media, pray more than most, and walk with God more than you scroll. If you don't like your outcomes, consider our inputs. In Matthew 26:41, Jesus told his disciples to watch and pray to not be led into "temptation", not led into "sin". If you give into temptation, it will lead to sin every time.
  2. Paddle downstream. James 1:15. Desire and temptation aren't sin. Enacting the will is. James uses very specific language. Uniting your will with desire equals having a baby named Sin, when she's fully grown, she has a baby named Death. It's meant to shock you, because the happiest moment of your life, the bringing of new life into the world, you will bring in death. It's meant to break the spell that sin has on you. Temptation doesn't ever show you the conclusion.
  3. Look upstream. James 1:16. If destruction is downstream, then deception is upstream. The lie is that we don't believe that God is a good Dad. The enemy started with theology in Genesis 3 when he questioned God's authority. When he can make God look ugly, that's when sin looks attractive. He did the same thing when he tried to tempt Jesus.

The best defense is a good offense. Replace the "good" thing with an even more beautifully good thing.

Fight deception by looking at the devotion of our Father. The pleasure of the Father will help you fight off the pressure of the world.


“Enemy-occupied territory---that is what this world is. Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed, you might say landed in disguise, and is calling us to take part in a great campaign of sabotage.”

C.S. Lewis

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Scripture References

  • James 1:14-18
  • 2 Timothy 2:22
  • 1 John 3:8
  • 1 Timothy 4:16
Ben Stuart Ben Stuart is the pastor of Passion City Church D.C. Prior to joining Passion City Church, Ben served as the executive director of Breakaway Ministries on the campus of Texas A&M. He also earned a master’s degree in historical theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Donna, live to inspire and equip people to walk with God for a lifetime.