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.
I saw a poster recently with a picture of Michael Jordan on it. It caught my attention because it’s been over ten years since he played. Underneath his photo, in big letters, it said “Victory”. Then it wrote out the definition of victory. As I thought about it, he became synonymous with winning and victory, but that’s not his full story. Before he became a star, he couldn’t make his high school team. After he became a star, he failed at gambling, marriage and baseball. He failed in more areas than he succeeded in, but he did not let those failures define him.
You and I are the same. Our failures outnumber our successes. I get caught up sometimes just thinking about my failures. I wonder why I still try. I beat myself down because my failures seem so stupid. I think I should be able to beat them, but each time I fail, I get down on myself. I saw a friend on Facebook ask the other day, “Is it a true portrait of a man to see him when he is tempted?” I thought a lot about that. My first inclination was to say yes. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized I thought that because I allow my failures to define me.
You and I are more than who we are when we are tempted and when we fail. We are also the person who knows where to seek forgiveness after a failure. We are the person who stands on mountain tops with our arms outstretched looking up to Heaven when we’ve succeeded. We are the person who pushes through when we don’t feel like it and no one seems to care. We are complex and should never allow ourselves to be defined or think that an accurate portrait of ourselves is who we are when we fail.
In Romans 8, Paul listed all kinds of things that could define us. At the end of that list, he said, “Despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ.” It’s time we started to see ourselves as God sees us. We are not all the mistakes, failures or temptations that we face. You and I are victors. We are the very definition of victory if we are willing to get back up, seek forgiveness and to try again. We may not be considered synonymous with victory in the world’s eyes, but we are in God’s. When He looks at you, He doesn’t see a failure. He sees someone made in His image with the power to win.
Photo by Nathz Guardia on Unsplash
Have you ever been on an undefeated team? I have, but it was my seven year old soccer team at the YMCA. We were the Green Machines and we had one kid that was awesome at soccer. The rest of us were good, but without Jaimie Ramirez on our team, I don’t think we would have gone undefeated. It was a good feeling to have the confidence going into each match with Jaimie on our team. There were some close matches, and we were down some games, but we always found a way to win.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could go undefeated in life too? It would be great to have the confidence to know that whatever we face, we could be victorious. It is possible. Psalm 125:1 says, “Those who trust in the Lord are as secure as Mount Zion; they will not be defeated but will endure forever” (GNT). When we have the Lord on our side and learn to trust Him, we can go undefeated in life’s battles.
That doesn’t mean we won’t face battles or that we won’t be down at times. It means that we have Jesus Christ on our team and He’s awesome at helping us win the victory. We can have confidence going into whatever battle we face knowing that He’s on our side. I Corinthians 15:57 says, “But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (GNT).
Just like my team had to trust Jaimie to do his thing, you and I have to trust Jesus to do His. We still have to show up to the battle. We still have to do our part. Life is not going to be a cake walk just because you’ve put your trust in Jesus and you’re playing on His team. In this world you will have trouble He said. But He also told us to take heart because He has overcome the world. Yes, you and I can go undefeated in life if we trust in the Lord and fight our battles with Him.
In just about every situation you face in life, sports or in the spiritual realm, to be an overcomer, you’re going to need the keys to victory. One of the first keys to victory is to have a plan or strategy you can execute on. Do you know hat you will do in certain situations before you’re in them? The second key to victory is to be well conditioned. Paul said physical exercise is good, but to be spiritual fit is even more important. Are you exercising your faith daily? Another key to victory is to go on the offensive. Are you advancing or are you always in a state of retreat?
You and I are in the Army of the Lord and we need to understand that victory is not just given to us. The people you know who walk in victory are the ones who put in the time behind the scenes to grow their walk with the Lord. They study the Bible and pray daily as well. God made us to be victorious and has given us authority over the enemy. We need to know what our keys to victory are and then do them consistently.
Here are some Bible verses on victory.
1. Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors and gain an overwhelming victory through Him who loved us [so much that He died for us].
ROMANS 8:37 AMP
2. I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from him.
Psalms 62:1 NLT
3. Do your best, prepare for the worst— then trust GOD to bring victory.
Proverbs 21:31 MSG
4. But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!
1 Corinthians 15:57 GNT
5. For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith.
1 John 5:4 NLT