Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.
Despite what some people would have you believe, being a Christian doesn’t mean everything in your life will be fixed. You won’t win every battle, get every promotion, get rich, be the most attractive, be admired by everyone or be free from problems and stress. Those are not promised to us for being a Christian. In fact, Jesus put it this way in John 16:33, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (NIV).
In my life, I’ve been defeated, hurt, abandoned, broke and sucker punched. Those things didn’t make me less of a Christian. Instead they revealed how deep God’s grace is. When I’ve lost battles I desperately wanted to win, I found the peace that passes understanding. When I hit rock bottom and all my hope was gone, I found a firm foundation on which I could rebuild. The hardest times in my life didn’t make me less of a Christian. I would argue they made me a stronger one.
No matter how defeated I’ve been or how hopeless I’ve felt, God has used the struggle to strengthen me and my faith. He has brought healing to my deepest wounds and restored what the locust have stolen. His grace has been sufficient when my strength was gone. His love has endured through every trial and test. When my faith has failed, He was graciously patient with me and restored it. When I’ve lost battles I should have won, He gave me the strength to fight again.
Psalm 136:23 says, “He did not forget us when we were defeated; his love is eternal” (GNT). Of all the promises in God’s Word, this is one I really hang on to. When I’m defeated, He will not forget me. He won’t abandon me and leave me to drown in my self pity. His eternal love will restore my soul, fit the broken pieces back together again and be able to use me no matter how badly I’ve failed. In my weakness, I’ve found that He is strongest in my life. No matter what you face or are going through, God will not forget you. That’s a promise you can hold on to.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s that we all need some encouragement in one way or another. Some of us need encouragement to get up and face the day. Others need encouragement to try one more time. Some receive love through words of encouragement. I also think we all need our faith encouraged at times because we all face difficult times that challenge what we believe. The great news is that all of us are capable of encouraging someone else.
Each of us can send a text, a meme, make a phone call, or talk to someone today to encourage them. It can be as simple as, “I’m praying for you.” It could be, “Smile. God loves you.” It doesn’t have to be complicated. There are a lot of people who struggle this time of year and they need your words of encouragement. Today, ask God to put people in your path and on your heart who needs words of encouragement, then speak to them what He puts on your heart. B an encourager today even if you need encouragement yourself. You’ll be surprised how it encourages you too.
Here are some Bible verses on encouragement.
1. But those who proclaim God’s message speak to people and give them help, encouragement, and comfort.
1 Corinthians 14:3 GNT
2. Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.
Ephesians 4:29 NLT
3. Therefore encourage (admonish, exhort) one another and edify (strengthen and build up) one another, just as you are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 AMPC
4. The words of the godly encourage many, but fools are destroyed by their lack of common sense.
Proverbs 10:21 NLT
5. Everything written in the Scriptures was written to teach us, in order that we might have hope through the patience and encouragement which the Scriptures give us.
Romans 15:4 GNT
We sang a song at church yesterday by Planetshakers. The words are still ringing in my mind this morning. It says, “Hallelujah! You have won the victory. Hallelujah! You have won it all for me.” As we sang it yesterday, I began to wonder, “How many Christians out there need a victory that has already been won for them?” Think about that for a minute. The victory many of us are looking for has already been won. Why do we still walk around defeated?
I see so many Christians who walk around with a defeated attitude. They aren’t walking in the victory that they are supposed to. Everything is doom and gloom. Nothing is going their way. They hang their head down and drudge along. They’ve allowed a culture of defeat to come reign in their life. That is not the life God intended Christians to live. That is not how someone who has had the war won for them should act.
Yes, we go through battles, trials and struggles. We aren’t going to be victorious in every one of them. We may even lose a lot in a row. Don’t confuse losing battles with losing the war. Battles are what we fight through to get to the end of the war. If you knew you were going to win the war in the end, wouldn’t you keep on fighting no matter how bad things looked now?
The person who has never lost a battle has not learned as much as those who have. It’s in our losses and failures that we find better ways to strategize and to grow. It’s in our losses that we get the determination to get back up. Proverbs 24:16 says, “The godly may fall seven times, but they will get up again.” It doesn’t say the godly won’t fall. We will. It’s part of life. It’s part of growth. Its part of what makes us who we are.
When I’m going through a time of multiple defeats, I hang on to Romans 8:37: Despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours (mine) through Christ who loves us (me). I change it a little to personalize it. I make it my own promise from God. You should too. If you’re feeling defeated today, read that scripture again. Out loud. Proclaim it. Louder! Overwhelming victory is yours through Christ who loves you. You are not defeated. You are victorious in Jesus’ name.
You don’t have to walk around with your head down. You don’t have to keep your head down just because you’ve failed or lost a few battles. The war has already been won by Jesus. No matter how bad things get, keep that in mind. You can and will survive this and will be victorious in the end. Walk in victory today through Christ because He has won the victory for you. Hold your head up, child of God. You are victorious.
Click here to listen to that Planetshakers’ song on YouTube.