Faithlife Sermons

Overcoming Stinking Thinking!

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We will look at 5 common sayings that can hinder your progress in life.
Some of them have truth in them.
All of them if misused and misunderstood, can be harmful.

1. If the Lord wills

James 4:13–16 NKJV
13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; 14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” 16 But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.
Correct interpretation: we should not be presumptuous
Wrong interpretation: we should pray “if it be your will”, even when God’s word already reveals His will about that area.
Confident prayer already knows God’s will:
1 John 5:14–15 NKJV
14 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.
It is always God’s will to save:
2 Peter 3:9 NKJV
9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
It is always God’s will to heal:
3 John 2 NKJV
2 Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.
Wrong interpretation: fatalism i.e. whatever happens is God’s will.
This can produce laziness:
Proverbs 6:9–11 NKJV
9 How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep? 10 A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to sleep— 11 So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, And your need like an armed man.
The lazy man cannot say, “I’ll be successful if the Lord wills”
Also, “if the Lord wills” should not be used as an excuse to be unreliable and not keep our commitments!
Numbers 23:19 NLT
19 God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?
God keeps His promises, so should we!

2. All things work together for good

Romans 8:26–28 NKJV
26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
Correct interpretation: when those who love God join with the Spirit in prayer, God will work everything for their good. (“helps” in Greek means join-help)
Wrong interpretation: we can just sit back and let life happen to us because God is in control
Mark 11:23–24 NKJV
23 For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. 24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.
Similar thought: God is control.
It is true that God’s purpose will ultimately prevail.
But, we can limit God’s work in our lives:
Psalm 78:41 NKJV
41 Yes, again and again they tempted God, And limited the Holy One of Israel.
Not everything that happens is God’s will:
Matthew 6:10 NKJV
10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.
But as we partner with God in prayer, we will see His good come to pass in our lives!

3. I’m under attack!

Sometimes we give the devil too much credit!
Daniel 10:12–14 NKJV
12 Then he said to me, “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. 13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia. 14 Now I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision refers to many days yet to come.”
Can the devil do this to us today?
Colossians 2:15 NKJV
15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.
Ephesians 2:6 NKJV
6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

4. Every time I minister or move forward in God, Satan attacks me

Truth: we are in spiritual warfare
Ephesians 6:12 NKJV
12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Error: placing more faith in the devil’s power to attack us, than in God’s power to protect us.
What you focus on has power over you:
Matthew 14:30 NKJV
30 But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”
Hebrews 12:2 NKJV
2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
In the new covenant, the devil cannot just come and do anything in your life - we have authority over him!
Luke 10:19 NKJV
19 Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
James 4:7 NKJV
7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

5. All Christians must go through a personal wilderness or desert experience

i.e. a prolonged difficult time.
This is based on the observation that Israel spent 40 years in the wilderness.
Life won’t be trouble free, but we should have the attitude that God wants to bless us:
Exodus 13:17–18 NKJV
17 Then it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, “Lest perhaps the people change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt.” 18 So God led the people around by way of the wilderness of the Red Sea. And the children of Israel went up in orderly ranks out of the land of Egypt.

6. I have to learn from my own mistakes

It is true that we will all make mistakes.
But it is better to learn from the mistakes of others.
1 Corinthians 10:11 NKJV
11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.

7. All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution

2 Timothy 3:10–12 NKJV
10 But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, 11 persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me. 12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
Persecution is promised.
We defeat ourselves if we assume that everyone will hate us.
Luke 2:52 NKJV
52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.
Acts 2:47 NKJV
47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.
Romans 14:17–18 NKJV
17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.
Many time, persecution is actually because of poor people skills or a lack of wisdom.
Approaching people with the belief they will like you will more likely yield better results than if you assume they are against you.


“If the Lord wills” should not be used to doubt God’s promises, to fuel fatalism, to encourage laziness, or to make us unreliable.
“All things work together for good” applies when we partner with God in prayer
When it comes to the devil, we should focus on God and our authority over him. We are not reigning with Christ in the heavenly places.
You don’t have to go through a personal wilderness or desert experience
It is best to learn from the mistakes of others.
Whilst persecution is real, so is God’s favour!

Prayer / Discussion

In groups of 4-5, discuss what stuck out to you from today’s message.
Pray for each other’s prayer requests, and that your thought would align with God’s thoughts about you!
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