We can apply what we learn from these battles in the Old Testament to the many struggles we face as Christians with sin and temptation in our own lives. Here’s the principle: If you want to do a great work for God, you must deal first with sins that remain embedded in your life.
Listen to these words of Paul to Timothy, a young Christian leader: “If anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work” (2 Timothy 2:21).
Timothy, you want to be useful to the Master? You want to be ready for every good work? You want to be a vessel for honorable use? Well then, here is what you must do: Cleanse yourself of all that dishonors God. “Flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22).
Here is a great motive for pursuing holiness of life, for waging war against the sin that remains in your life. Think what you could be for the Lord. Think what you might do. Think how he might use you if the sins that have gained power over you were driven out! Don’t let an impure heart put you on the sidelines of usefulness to God! Any great work of God begins with a person who gets serious about the pursuit of holiness.
[Taken from Pastor Colin’s sermon “When God Says ‘No’—Part 2” in the series A Leader You Can Follow ]