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.
In II Chronicles 20, a huge army invaded southern Israel. The king and all the people were terrified because they defeated several strongholds easily. He begged God for help and asked others to pray with him. It sounds a lot like any one of us when we are facing something that seems impossible to beat. Fear is our first response, then we beg God for help. I believe what follows in this story is something we can all learn from in these moments in life.
The first thing that happened was King Jehoshaphat got like minded people together, fasted and prayed. We are not to fight these battles alone. Fear’s goal is to intimidate you and to push you into seclusion. Don’t let it! There is strength in numbers and in fasting. Get a group of people around you who can fight on their knees and touch God for you. This first step is critical if you’re going to win an impossible battle.
In verses 15-17, God answered those praying. The Word of the Lord came back saying, “Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s” (NLT). Things only seem impossible when God is not in the equation. The battles we face are not our own, but they are God’s. We don’t have to be afraid or discouraged at the sheer impossibility of anything that comes our way because God goes before us.
As the army of Israel approached the battlefield, Jehoshaphat spoke in verse 20 and reminded them, “Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be able to stand firm. Believe in His prophets and you will succeed.” Faith will help us to stand firm when standing is all we can do. We can trust in God, and in His Word, to get the courage to keep standing in the face of impossibilities. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves to continue to trust God and His Word so we can see the victory.
Finally, the king appointed singers to praise God and he sent them out in front. At the very moment they began to sing, the Lord gave victory. We need to be able to praise God in advance of victory. We need to honor Him when all else seems to be going wrong. Praise is powerful. It activates our faith and moves our God. If you can’t find it in you to praise, play praise music until you do. Victory is dependent on God, not us. We can praise Him for that. Our impossible battles are no match for a God who says all things are possible.
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
Each one of us comes under attack throughout our lives. Sometimes those attacks are spiritual. These can happen any time, but they especially show up when you start praying strategically and walk in the purpose and plan God has got you. There are times when the attacks are physical as well. These are attacks against your physical person by people deserved or not. Then there are mental attacks. These are often generated by something some said to you, something negative that’s happened to you, or can be destructive self talk you’ve entertained.
In life, it’s not a matter of if you will be attacked one of these ways, it’s a matter of when. As a child of God though, you don’t have to be afraid of any of these attacks. You don’t have to worry that they will destroy you and everything you’ve worked for. You can have peace in the middle of an all out adult on your life because of the promise God gives us in Isaiah 54;17. It says, “But no weapon that is formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise against you in judgment you shall show to be in the wrong. This [peace, righteousness, security, triumph over opposition] is the heritage of the servants of the Lord [those in whom the ideal Servant of the Lord is reproduced]; this is the righteousness or the vindication which they obtain from Me [this is that which I impart to them as their justification], says the Lord” (AMP).
No weapon formed against you shall prosper. This is your heritage as a servant of the Lord! It doesn’t say that you won’t be attacked. It doesn’t say that you won’t suffer damage from the attacks. It says they won’t succeed in destroying you. Because of that, we can have peace, security, and victory over the attack. You are not a victim. You are a victor. You are not a loser. You are a winner. You are not the sum of your failures. You are successful in Him. You are not condemned because of your past. You are righteous according to God’s grace.
Your current situation may not have you feeling like victory is possible. It may seem like there’s no way to win, let alone get out of it. I’ll remind you that there is nothing impossible for God. Your heritage in Him is not defeat. It’s victory over this attack. Claim your victory and ask God to impart to you that which is rightfully yours as His servant. The attacks and suffering may continue for a season, but they will not succeed in destroying you. Your vindication is your coming victory. Walk in it today.
My son always wants to help with whatever I’m doing. If I’m shopping in the store, he wants to be the one to get the item off the shelf. He says, “Here, let me help.” When I’m bringing in the groceries, he wants to carry a bag. Every once in a while he gets one that’s more than he can handle. He’ll say, “It’s too heavy. Help me, Dada.” I’ll reach down and carry the bulk of the weight, but still let him do his part. I’ve been in his shoes before. I’ve had baggage that was too heavy for me to carry on my own. I’ve just haven’t been as eager to ask for help as he has. I think there are many who are in the same boat.
In Exodus 17, the Israelites were traveling from Egypt to the Promised Land. On their way, they were attacked by the Amalekites. Moses had Joshua recruit some men to go fight the Amalekites while he stood on top of a hill holding the staff. As the battle raged on, Moses, Aaron and Hur noticed that as long as Moses had his hands raised, they were winning. When his arms were lowered, they were getting beat. They encouraged Moses to hold his hands up, but after a while he couldn’t do it anymore. He needed help.
It doesn’t say if Moses asked for help or not, but it does say that Aaron and Hur acted on his behalf. They saw a need and improvised to help him out. They grabbed a stone for him to sit on so they could hold up his arms. They stood there until the sun went down and the Amalekites were defeated. Moses named the place Yahweh Nissi which is God My Banner. God gave the victory, but it was won because two people saw another who needed help and lifted him up. They sacrificed their comfort for those who were engulfed in a battle.
If you look around at the people God has placed in your life, there are those who are fighting battles and they’re growing tired. They can’t hold their hands up anymore. They’re struggling and losing the war. God is looking for people like Aaron and Hur who will go to those who need help, hold them up in prayer and sacrifice until their battle is won. By helping them, in turn you are helping others that they are holding up. When Aaron and Hur helped Moses, they had a direct affect on the army fighting below. We never know how far our help really goes.
Whose arms has God asked you to hold up? Who in your life needs you to help them win their battle? It may not be easy for you, but If God is asking you to do it, you’re going to have to make the sacrifices necessary. You’re going to have to spend time holding their hand, standing beside them and lifting them up in prayer. Your role in their battle may not be glorious, but it is vital to their victory. They may not ask you to do it, so you may have to offer it. You also may have to improvise in order to get them through the day. Do your part in holding them up until God gives the victory.