Last Sunday, we stood together and declared: “Hallelujah, you have won the victory. Hallelujah, you have won it all for me.” But what do these words really mean? And do we really believe them?
Let’s face it. We often walk around feeling defeated. Defeated by our own sin. Defeated by the world’s sin. By spiritual darkness. Depression. Anxiety. Loneliness. Defeated by apathy, lethargy, or complacency. (Now, to be clear, facing these things is different than feeling defeated by these things.) Maybe you have accepted defeat by shelving dreams the Lord has put on your heart or accepting “good enough” as your calling.
To walk around feeling defeated (as a follower of Christ) is to walk in a lie. Let me say that again.
To walk around in defeat is to live outside of reality.
Let’s take a look at what scripture has to say.
Psalm 3: 2-3, 8
Many are saying of me, “God will not deliver him.” But you, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. I call out to the LORD, and he answers me from his holy mountain…From the LORD comes deliverance. May your blessing be on your people.
If I may, allow me to paraphrase the first part of that passage…
“I could believe what I’m hearing, that I am defeated and will not be delivered. But that’s a lie. You guard me, Lord. You are my victory and honor. And with you, I don’t walk with a downcast expression and my eyes lowered in defeat, because you lift my head up high.”
Furthermore, in John 16, Jesus tells us to have hope and courage when we face the hard things. Why? Because he’s already overcome them.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
If we already have the victory in Christ, why do we so often feel defeated?
I don’t have all the answers, but I know in my life, it’s often because I allow lies to reign. I don’t combat them with truth. I accept that whatever I’m facing or feeling is “just how it is” and forget that I don’t have to walk in what I feel is my this moment-reality, because I’ve obtained an eternal victory through Christ. And even when the lies, or the complacency, or whatever brokenness it is feels crushing, I won’t be crushed, because I have a firm foundation of victory. Even if I’m sitting on the floor feeling a little shattered, I sit on a foundation of victory, and it’s sturdy and constant and full of hope.
It may also be a faulty understanding of what victory is that prevents us from walking in it. We assume victory feels one way, when it really doesn’t. We assume it feels like power and joy and rainbows. We assume that because we face resistance and repetitive battles that we don’t have victory. But Proverbs 24:16 says,
...for the righteous falls seven times and rises again...
Maybe the victory isn’t necessarily in the not falling but in the getting up again, in having the power to get up again and again and again until you reach that place where you aren’t knocked down. And before you go thinking you don’t have that power…
1 John 5:1, 4
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God... everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world...
As we sang about victory this past week, God reminded me of dreams he’s placed in my heart, dreams I had labeled as idealistic “maybes” for the very distant future, and he spoke victory over them: “I have already won the victories for these. You just have to walk in them.”
What victories has God won for you that you need to walk in?
1 Corinthians 15:57
But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
About the Author: Ana is a Michigan native who likes putting honey in her coffee, singing in the car, and dancing when walking would do. She currently works in the Ann Arbor area as a dance teacher and as a receptionist at Arbor Woman Pregnancy Center. Her heart is for every person to know the deep love, identity, and mercy that can be found in the Father.