Wednesday, 26 May 2021

Three Key Steps to Claiming Victory in Life's Battles

'I'm living out the victory, doesn't mean I won't feel the heat' ~ Jordan St. Cyr (Fires) ~

It has been a rough couple of years, and I can't think of anyone who remains unscathed from the struggles. As war-torn and battle-weary as we are, sometimes we forget who we are and what we have been given. And in the forgetting, fear and stress creep in and the wearing down begins. We feel discouraged by the string of punches life throws at us and inept to come up with a fight strategy, much less execute it. We may even resign ourselves to accept: “This is how it’ll always be, down for the count.”

But, my friend, getting used to defeat is not for us. Sure, it will pop its ugly head in from time to time and may even throw us a sucker punch and knock us straight out. In fact, as believers, I think it’s almost inevitable that we experience these seasons in our lives. Times when we feel especially attacked as we try to honour God in our lives, or we struggle to overcome a repetitive sin that we just can't seem to conquer. Yet we don’t stay down, we get back up, jabbing and blocking blows as we move forward.

But, how do we do it? How do we remember who we are and claim the victory we have been given? Lean in close, and let me share with you what I've been learning. 

Stay Watchful

It starts with keeping our eyes open. My son always teases me that I’m not spatially aware. I may bump into people on the street, for example, because, according to him, I’m not aware of my surroundings. Well, knocking into some poor unsuspecting stranger is mild compared to what can happen when I remain spiritually unaware of what’s going on around me.

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.(ESV) ~ 1 Peter 5:8-9 ~

You see, we must not forget about the battle. Ongoing, even now, in a realm that we can’t see. It’s fierce, and it’s real.  When I remember this, I’m not surprised by the left hook striking from the corner, in fact, I’m expecting it, and I’m ready. It’s true sometimes, I get distracted, and that left hook sends me reeling, but the blow reminds me. It reminds me of where I am and who I’m fighting.

Most of all it reminds me whose side I’m on - the Victor’s side. He has chosen me, and He fights for me. Remembering gets me back on my feet and steels me for the fight. It makes all the difference.

Suit up and Fight 

First I remain watchful, and second, I fight. 

But I’m not alone in the fight. There is Someone in the ring with me and He offers me His armour empowering me with strength, wisdom, and discernment. I cannot lose.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. ~ Ephesians 6: 10-13 ~

In my battle against sin, I must remember this. For example, in my last post: How to Get Real & Embrace the Gift of Apologising to God, we talked about the gifts of confession and forgiveness. Being both deeply sorrowful for our sin and deeply thankful for God's grace, we get to come to Him just as we are and enjoy the sweetness of renewed fellowship with Him. But as I reflected on how often I return to God with the same sin, I found this article from Pastor John Piper which challenged my fight strategy, or lack thereof. 

First, there is confession that, at one level, is expressing guilt and sorrow for sinning, but underneath there is the quiet assumption that this sin is going to happen again, probably before the week is out.

In other words, this kind of confession is very superficial. It’s a cloak for fatalism about your besetting sins. You feel bad about them, but you have surrendered to their inevitability. That’s one kind of confession.

The other kind of confession is that you express guilt and sorrow for sinning, just like with the first kind, but your hatred of the sin is so real that you have every intention as you confess of making war on that sin tonight, this weekend. You aim, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to defeat it. You are going to seek out whatever ways are going to help you put this sin to death. You are going to rob it of its power. That’s the plan — no hypocrisy. Now, those are the two ways of confessing sin. (desiringgod.org interview)

And just like God knew I would, I saw my error. I was looking for grace, receiving grace, but not expecting victory. I was not actively making war on my sin, but rather I was living defeated, accepting my inability to overcome. But didn’t God tell me that He has given me everything I need to overcome sin?

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. ~ 2 Peter 1: 3-4 ~


 

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ. ~ 2 Cor. 10:3-5 ~



No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. ~ 1 Cor 10:13 ~


What I need is to start living like I believe in victory. To fight like I can taste it. To block the fiery darts and wield my gifted sword. To live convinced that God is indeed ‘greater than he who is in the world’ and equips me, even me, to overcome. (Romans 8:37



Taste the Victory

Finally, step three: I need to celebrate. I’m on the winning side, after all. No droopy shoulders, or head hanging low, just look at these passages from Scripture, we have a lot to celebrate. 


For you equipped me with strength for the battle; you made those who rise against me sink under me. ~ Psalm 18:39 ~

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? ~ Romans 8:31 ~

But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.
I cried aloud to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy hill. ~ Psalm 3:3-4 ~

 

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,
for you are with me. ~ Psalm 23:4 ~

 

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. ~ 1 Cor 15:57 ~ 

Guaranteed victory! Isn’t that something to sing and shout about? In my thanks, in my fight,  and in my life, I can celebrate who God is, what He has done for me, and what He continues to do. And in the celebrating, miraculously, my weakness is replaced with His strength, and I hear the ding of the victory bell. Maybe I should do a little dance or perhaps shout from the rooftop: "Victory is mine!"

******************

What about you?

How are you battling right now?

Are you getting used to defeat? Or do you believe in victory?

Fight on, my friend, we may be battle-weary, but we can be victorious.

God has chosen us for victory, let’s be vigilant, let’s live and fight like we believe it, and let’s celebrate what God has already won for us.

 

May grace and peace be multiplied to you,

Carlie

 ********************

This post was a bonus designed to embolden us for spiritual battle. We'll continue with phase four of the Five B's of Living, Breathing, Beautiful Prayer in my next post. If you don't want to miss it, go ahead and subscribe to my blog, that way it'll be sent directly to your inbox when it's published. As a gift, you'll get a free printable of my Live Amazed Intercessory Prayer Journal which outlines all the phases and helps us to pray at all times.  

 

 


20 comments:

  1. Thank you, Carlie, I so appreciate Piper on fighting sin. I am reading in 1 Peter right now--so rich!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for visiting, Michele. Pastor Piper's teachings have been so helpful to me, and I absolutely love the books of 1st and 2nd Peter.

      Delete
  2. Thank you! Love all the reminders, battle plan and encouragement. In our instant society mindset it’s a challenge especially when weary to march on swinging our swords.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Lynda. I so appreciate your support. Yes, it's challenge but it's so worth it, isn't it?

      Delete
    2. Thank you Carlie for these great reminders. So wonderfully spoken. Blessings.
      ~Selah~

      Delete
    3. Thank you, Paula. Thanks for visiting and commenting today.

      Delete
  3. Beautiful! How glorious that victory has already been claimed for us through Christ!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! Yes, glorious is a wonderful way to describe it.I appreciate your visit here, Aileen.

      Delete
  4. Thank you for this encouragement! Blessings, Carlie!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Lisi P. Blessings to you, as well.

      Delete
  5. This was so encouraging for me to read right now, Carli. We are on the winning side and the Victor is always with us, strengthening us day by day. That's definitely worth doing a little dance about! :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yay! Smiling now, as I read this, Lois. May we go dancing into our day celebrating what God has done. Thanks for visiting.

      Delete
  6. These tips are so timely and encouraging. I have personally been working on getting real with God and repenting when I fall. He is faithful to forgive and set our feet on solid ground.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Kathryn. Yes, God is not afraid of the real us, in fact, that's exactly who He wants and welcomes with open arms. Isn't that comforting? His strength is sufficient for us. Blessings to you as you fight on.

      Delete
  7. Carlie, this was encouraging to read. It has seemed like a year long battle for so many. May we not grow weary but stand steadfast in the Lord for as we do, we will reap the harvest and reward of so doing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Joanne. Let us continue to pray for the saints everywhere; it has been tough. Let us pray for strength and hope to stand firm in the Lord. God's presence with us is a very present reward.

      Delete
  8. This is beautiful, Carlie. We need all three of those keys to stay strong in our battles. I especially appreciate #3 because we often leave that one out. But celebrating is an important part of our progress too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Lisa. I'm glad you can relate; celebrating spurs us on to even greater victory, doesn't it?

      Delete
  9. Such a positive and insightful piece. Thank you. Visiting you from the let's have coffee link up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for visiting, Lauren, glad to have you. :) I appreciate your encouragement. Blessings to you.

      Delete

If this post speaks to you, please feel free to leave a comment. I'd love to hear from you. You can log-in using one of the pull-down options or comment as anonymous.