I’ve been meditating on this lately. What is REAL victory? What is victory over the addiction that you have, the sin that you think is going to consume you, the depression that you can’t seem to climb out of by yourself, the idol that takes up your waking time and threatens to beat you to death? Is victory merely a change in outward actions or is it something that goes deeper?
Is victory defined by your feelings day by day (that seem to always change) or SOMEONE greater, INFINITELY above you in might, power, dominion, understanding, holiness, justice, goodness, truth, and love.
Is it freedom from one addiction, only to exchange it for another addiction?
Is it freedom to gaze at my body in the mirror, in a different way from the way I used to look at my body?
Is it eating a chocolate cupcake without analyzing the calories in it?
Is it freedom to not talk about diets and eating and food and running ALL the time?
I can’t help but give a little hint.
Matthew 11:28-30, ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’
Yes and no.
Is that confusing?
You see, I realized at one point in the journey, that the idols I had of body and food were not just ‘bad’ outward actions and manifestations. They were only externals of the deeper condition of my heart.
It’s amazing how Jesus, our Lord, really brought this out full force when He pointed at the Pharisees in Matthew 15:16-20, ‘And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding? Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.’
Here is the thing. It’s so easy for us as men and women who don’t know the condition of a person’s heart to treat a condition with bandaids when it needs major heart surgery.
The problem with my eating disorder wasn’t that I just needed a quick psychological fix. It was DEEP. It was almost overwhelmingly deep, because I realized just how hopeless I was when I ‘tried’ to solve it by just eating more. (Eating more did help, but the change in mindset came much slower.)
The world often tends to heal lightly. They send you with a ‘3 easy step’ method and expect the problems to be cured. It’s easy to send a good thought, but what if a good thought doesn’t even help? The devil is the father of lies, and he even uses a good thought and turns it into an evil one.
Where can we find victory? Where is that victory that every person, so overcome by the bondage of lust for money, lust for fame, lust for sex, lust for the perfect body, lust for the perfect life needs, so desperately?
We can’t disown the desperation of the situation. If we do, we are trying to say that those with gaping wounds, who are desperately in need of help, only need a quick ‘fix’ and they will be on their merry way.
But, what does the victorious, the truly victorious Christian life look like? What does an attitude, a life, a posture of victory, even in the midst of still fighting the spiritual battle against the devil look like? Why can we THROW off, reject, repulse the devil now? What is different in our life?
Jesus Christ came.
In essence, Acts 4:10-13 says it all, ‘Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.’
Is the victorious Christian life wretchedness and despair? Is it depression without hope? Is it a desert without water?
No, it isn’t.
John 7:37-38 says, ‘In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.’
Jesus didn’t say that the person who believed on Him would have a perfect life her on this earth, but He did say that we would have life, that living waters would flow out of us, because He is life.
In Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, life isn’t a living death. Life isn’t a drag. In Christ, we can do all things; and by His Might, we can overcome any lion.
Before, we can’t. I’ve never seen a man save the world. In fact, I’ve never seen any mere man save a single person from hell. But, I have seen Jesus Christ and the power of God save people and continue to save people from their sins everyday, from the corruption of our hearts.
What does this power do in us?
There are so many passages in the Scriptures that talk of the victory we have in Christ Jesus, the victory we have as poor, broken, wretched, dead dinners, that I couldn’t possibly list them all here.
This is for those of you brothers and sisters who are struggling under depression and difficulty, straining to see the light at the end of the tunnel. This is an encouragement that though the devil wants to overwhelm you he NEVER can, because Christ has truly won the victory.
The victory doesn’t depend on you. It depends on God Almighty, and God Almighty is altogether different from us. He is faithful when we are faithless. He is holy and pure, though we are dirty. His plans are perfect, when ours seem to be going all over the place like a roller coaster. He stays the same through the ages. His plan of salvation was and is perfect. It’s not old-fashioned. It’s just exactly what every human heart needs. And only God Almighty could know that, because He designed our hearts, bodies, souls, and minds, and only He can save us through His Son Jesus Christ.
Through that salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ this is the victory you have EVEN over sin, the greatest power in our lives before Christ Jesus came to save our souls.
Romans 6:6-11 sums this up in such a glorious way. ‘Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him; Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.’
Do you know that that is why Christ died and rose again? Christ died, fulfilling the desires of the law, the condemnation that God had against us for all of our sins and transgressions of His holiness. If our old man, all those sins and desires that dominated us, died with Christ, what do we say? What should we say when sin tempts us?
Thanks be to God Almighty! We can say, ‘I am DEAD to that sin. Christ died so that I could die to that sin. Sin. You have no more dominion over me, because Christ has won. Yes, you annoy me sometimes, but by God’s grace, you are no longer my master.’
In Christ Jesus, our relationship to sin has changed. It is no longer what it used to be. Sin used to dominate us. It used to be the lord of our life, but when Jesus Christ came, there is no other God beside Him.
Psalm 86:8, ‘Among the gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord; neither are there any works like unto thy works.’
This victory is full in our Lord Jesus. Yes, we may not see the FINAL consummation while sin is still annoying us on this earth, but in a sense, Christ Jesus has already glorified us, because in Him, the promise of salvation is complete. There is no going back on the work which He has begun.
You are now equipped, fully equipped to face every spiritual power that comes against you, not because you are enough, but because Christ is enough. Ephesians 6:12 says, ‘For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.’
Now, you aren’t staggering. You aren’t failing. You are standing, in the grace of God. This is GOD’s power. It’s impossible to describe, because His power is infinite. His power doesn’t have limits like ours, and you stand in GOD’S power. This about God Almighty, our Father, not you.
So what if we do despair? 2 Corinthians 5:1-2, ‘For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:’
We don’t groan as people with no hope. Now, we groan, because we can’t wait to be with Jesus, to put off the last effects of sin, and be with Him. We marvel that such broken people like us can be with Him, and we know that it’s only the power of God, saving, redeeming, restoring, re-making the shattered vessels.
Even Jesus groaned. He didn’t sin at all, but in His ministry on earth, He saw how sin had affected people, and our Lord groaned, burdened by the effects of this sin. And in His infinite compassion, wherever He saw those effects, He never took long to impart the temporary effects of physical healing and the everlasting effects of spiritual healing.
Mark 9 gives a tremendous example of Jesus groaning at sin’s effects and pouring out His divine power to redeem a young boy from the terrible effects of demon possession. Mark 9:19-27, ‘He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me. And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming. And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child. And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us. Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things arepossible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him. And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead. But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose.’
Then, after all this, what is this liberty?
2 Corinthians 3:17-18 says it, ‘Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
Galatians 2:20 says this victory! ‘I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ liveth in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.’
Through Christ we can mortify the flesh with its lusts and desires. Before we couldn’t. We would throw out one sin and idol, and the other would come back with full force.
This truly takes a change of mind, a change of thinking. Are you victorious because of Christ Jesus? Can you say with Paul in Philippians 3, ‘Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.’
Paul knew that he hadn’t attained yet. He knew that he hadn’t made it to perfection, but he knew WHO completes the good work in us. He knew that in God, every promise is true. Let God be found true in our lives and every man a liar, including the false lies of the devil in our hearts. If Christ shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.
Philippians 1:3-6, ‘I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ…’
In Christ Jesus our Lord, you can ASCEND the highest mountains. It is not your strength. It is the strength, the power, the endless might of the Lord God Almighty!
With that, let’s press onto VICTORY in every area of our lives this Marvelous Monday! Thank you Katie for letting me share!
Where have you seen victory lately in your life?
Do you ever tend to get down about failures in your life? How have you been encouraged in the Scriptures during those times?