By James Holland, Sr.
In the pursuit of life, there are millions of challenges that one will face. It really is immaterial where on the planet you may live; you will face challenges. While the location and environment one is in may have a great deal to do with the level and frequency of those challenges, the fact remains that we all will deal with them. It’s called life, and life is about choices. “There bath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to hear it” (I Corinthians 10: 1 3).
Therefore, it is in our best interests to learn early how to make right choices. It is not a given that people will always simply make the right choices. Even in the Christian life, Christians do not always make the right choices.
We struggle so many times with these choices of life, and when we make a wrong choice it seems very hard for us to rise above that point in our life and go on. Unfortunately for some, it is easier to live in defeat, deception, and fear than it is to overcome. Many have come to believe that life is easy and, especially if I am a believer, things should just automatically be good.
Yet we see a totally different viewpoint of the Christian in the pages of God’s Word. It is referred to as a race. “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1).
This passage makes clear that we are engaged in a journey that has a destination. When you enter a race, several points of interest come to bear. First, one purposely enters a race. It’s not like the runner is on the track, looking around and wondering, “How did I get here? What am I going to do now that I am here?”
Secondly, if you are aware that you are in a race, then preparation must be made so you can run the race to the very best of your ability. You will need some training.
The third point that we realize is that the objective to entering the race is not just to show up or not just to run but also to run to win. Now, the good news is that everyone who enters the race of life as a believer can win.
Our spiritual journey is also described in the Scriptures as a war. That is, there will be opposition hi our efforts to live victoriously for God in this present world. Yet we see in Scripture that God has supplied not only the battle attire we should wear but also the weapons needed to engage in the battle so that when they are used correctly, we will secure our victory (Ephesians 6:10-18).
Then our relationship with God is referred to as a “walk” in Scripture. I would remind you that each of these examples and for that matter every example in Scripture that makes reference to the
Christian life involves action on the part of the believer. Then, of course, God does His part as well. Notice some of the references to our walk:
“So we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4).
“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:1, NKJV).
“For we walk by faith, not by sight” (II Corinthians 5:7).
“That you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory” (I Thessalonians 2:12, NKJV).
“Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God” (I Thessalonians 4:1, NKJV).
These are but a very few of the references in Scripture that refer to our experience with God. Once we begin to understand what victory is and follow the instructions that God has given to us, God partners with us to help us accomplish His goal for our lives, that being a life of victory.
Life is not a journey to the grave with intentions of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming “Wow, what a ride!”
While the Scripture is very clear that as believers we are “chosen for victory,” it is also clear that for this to be accomplished we must understand the rules and the reality of what real victory is.
I am reminded of a song that was popular in the 1960s. The artist was Bob Lind. The title of the song was “Elusive Butterfly of Love.” Of course, the point of the song was that even though you may want to be in love with someone, you will never quite catch the love you are looking for. Here are some of the lyrics:
You might wake up some mornin’ to the sound of something moving past your window in the wind. And if you’re quick enough to rise, you’ll catch a fleeting glimpse of someone’s fading shadow out on the new horizon. You may see the floating motion of a distant pair of wings, you might hear footsteps running through an open meadow.
Now, here is where it really gets good:
Don’t be concerned; it will not harm you. It’s only me pursuing somethin’ I’m not sure of! Across my dreams with nets of wonder, I chase the bright elusive butterfly of love.
This song has many parallels to the mind-set of many believers today when it comes to their victory. To many believers, victory is always just in front of them. They are ever pursuing a new horizon, a new open meadow seemingly in which to find this victory! They are never content anywhere or with anything for a long period of time. Is this victory? I think not!
When we are born again, we are empowered by the Holy Spirit not only to begin a life of victory but to aggressively war against Satan’s aggression on the souls of mankind. Christians who are not living the life of victory are singing Satan’s favorite song, don’t be concerned; I will not harm you!
It stands to reason that if Satan’s objective, according to Scripture, is to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10), we must realize that he is our enemy and that our objective is to overcome his strategies through a life of victory. Satan is radical in his desire to derail the will of God for our lives. If you and I simply choose to try to coexist with him, not to harm him, then be sure we will suffer great defeat.
Pursuing Something I’m Not Sure Of
How can you live in victory if you are not sure what victory is? Good question, so let’s see if we can answer it.
First, let’s talk about what victory isn’t.
Victory isn’t just an emotional feeling. Victory isn’t just a positive attitude.
Victory isn’t just something that I can only enjoy while in a church service.
Victory is not getting everything I want or having every situation to work out exactly as I desire! OUCH!
All of these mind-sets spell discouragement, defeat, and hopelessness in the end. It is amazing, but many within the kingdom of God really have no true biblically based understanding of what real victory is. To many, victory is something that is short lived and something that is always just ahead.
Are you chasing something? I can assure you, you cannot identify what you are chasing, you will neither catch it nor enjoy it. Break away from the ranks of the totally bored and disillusioned who are spending their spiritual lives chasing victory yet have never taken the time necessary to understand what victory is from God’s perspective. Don’t spend another day one step behind your destiny of victory in life. Step into it today.
What is biblical victory? The biblical concept of victory has to do with something that is already done. You see, the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ secured and set in motion our victory.
Look at Some Specifics of Christ’s Victory
How then did Christ defeat Satan?
His death satisfied our debt of sin owed to God. Since the penalty of sin was not life but death, Christ had to die and, in so doing, paid the price of sin for us. Colossians 2:13 says, “Having forgiven… all trespasses.” How many of your sins were future when Christ died over two thousand years ago? Obviously, all of them since not one of us had yet been born. God anticipated our sins and included them in Christ’s death. Christ not only died for the sins of those in His day, but, thank God, He died for the sins of all who would ever be born regardless of which generation it might include.
Christ silenced Satan. In biblical times, if a placard of the man’s crime were put on his prison cell, it was returned to him when he had served his punishment. When he was allowed to take it home, it was no longer an indictment but a trophy! Across it was written, “PAID IN FULL.”
If a neighbor asked him whether he was legally free, he could show him the document. The debt of justice had been served. There was nothing left to pay. Significantly, Christ’s last words from the cross were “It is finished” (John 19:30). Our debt was paid in full.
Satan’s mouth was shut. His whimpering accusations stopped. The judge of the earth had declared us righteous! Can the failed god contradict the Lord of heaven and earth? In order to free man, Christ had to win a victory over the accuser of men. He who had tried to keep men and women in bondage had to be exposed, his power broken, his prisoners set free. When Satan accuses us who have been Indy born again, we must show him our cancelled certificate and shout, “Paid in full! Be gone!” It is written, “Who shall bring a charge against God’s (leo?” (Romans 8:33, NKJV). God is the one who justifies. Satan is the accuser. Never forget that through Christ our victory has already been secured and paid.
Just a note for those who do not accept Christ’s salvation that is available to all men. If we do not accept what Christ has done through not only be but obeying as well, then Satan’s original indictments stand against us. But for those who believe and are walking in fellowship with Christ, we have been released from Satan’s kingdom and have been born into the kingdom of God.
Christ proved He had the power of life. Satan can only kill; he cannot make alive. In order for God to prove His complete superiority, it was necessary for Him to come to this earth and to pay the price for fallen man. This is what separates the life of Christ from all other would-be messiahs who had shown up before His arrival as well as all who have come since His resurrection. Because Jesus was the mighty God robed in flesh and was, still is, and always will be the only Savior of mankind, through His death, burial, and resurrection He proved once and for all without dispute that He was Lord and King! Death, which is itself the consequence of sin, was fearful, but Christ conquered it for us.
“Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death” (Hebrews 2:14-15, NIV). While Satan does, however, hold the tyranny of death over our heads, as believers we are not held in the bondage of its fear any longer, and in the case of the unconverted, death slams the door of opportunity to accept what Christ has done for all.
Christ came to deliver us from the fear of life and the fear of death. His resurrection proved that He was stronger than the grave. And when He ascended into heaven, He opened its gates for all who would believe on Him.
Victory Is a Spiritual Position
Victory is a spiritual position, or maybe a better word would be relationship with God. It really has nothing to do with what I feel. In fact, we can ‘lever run after victory so that we have it! Our victory has already been secured; we must, of course, access this victory through our obedience to God’s Word. Victory is our spiritual base from which we operate. Hie big question I want us to honestly ask ourselves is “Am I walking in the victory that God has already given?”
God honors His Word when it is released in our lives. He does not necessarily honor our feelings or our emotions; this is why we must have a constant diet of the Word.
Don’t waste your spiritual life, as the song says, chasing something that is elusive and that you are not sure of. Understand and know what true victory is. It’s not just a quick fix for a problem. It is a lifestyle we have been called to and chosen by God to enjoy.
Potential Victories That Are Left Behind
Another line in Mr. Lind’s song is “through the long-abandoned ruins of the dreams you left behind.” God definitely does not want us to be a part of any spiritually abandoned ruins that are merely relics of what could have been.
Jesus did not come to this earth to pay the tremendous price for the sin of men as He did just to have some religious museums dotting the planet. Neither did He ever promote or promise that we as born-again believers would simply be statues of some level of victory that possibly could have come to our lives. No sir! The very essence of salvation is dripping with the anointing of deliverance. Not just in certain areas of our lives, but in every area of our lives. We have been chosen for victory. It’s time to declare the promises of God’s Word and allow the light of His Spirit to shine understanding into our lives.
Stop chasing the elusive spiritual levels or experiences that your carnal mind with the assistance of Satan has conjured up! Get your dreams aligned with God’s Word, and position yourself to access the victory that is already available for you.
Many believers’ thinking processes are so influenced by their carnality and Satan himself that it is no wonder they are not enjoying any level of victory. Satan desires to work behind the scenes. That is, he will suggest certain ideas for our minds to consider. If we dwell upon them long enough, they be- come integrated with our thinking. Before we realize, we are believing these suggestions and actually ink they are our thoughts while the real culprit behind the thought is Satan himself.
To understand victory, you have to see victory from a scriptural perspective. You have to see the whole picture, not just fragmented pieces of it.
A short history lesson is in order. If you remember high school, then you will remember that you had to study many different leaders— good and bad who rose to power over time. One of the most prominent ones was Alexander the Great, known as Alexander, King of Macedonia. As a military commander, he defeated forces that dwarfed his own. As a statesman, he brought entire nations to his side. And as an icon, he would become known the world over as simply “Alexander the Great.”
What made him victorious as a military leader? I’m glad you asked. While there are several reasons that immediately come to the forefront, allow me to share a couple of them with you. First, he understood what victory really was. Victory is not necessarily winning each battle, because setbacks and delays come to us all. Victory is continuing to press on until you have accomplished what you know to be the purpose of God in your life. Victory is a lifestyle, not just an emotional high. Alexander the Great always knew his army’s strengths and was never afraid to use them. He also recognized his army’s weaknesses and avoided them. He also always studied his enemy until he could find their weakness and then attack them there.
Now, this is exactly the pattern that Satan uses against people. He attacks at the weakest point. However, living in victory will help us actually to know Satan’s weakness and attack him!
What in the world are you talking about? I know that’s what you are thinking right now. It is true that Satan has some weaknesses, even though he will never share this information with you. You have to figure it out on your own with the help of God’s Word.
Here are a few of Satan’s weaknesses:
1. His time to work is limited.
2. His ability to stop people from praying is null.
3. His ability to keep people in spiritual bondage is very limited once they understand the victory that God has made available for them.
4. He is fighting a losing battle. Jesus has already “gotten us” the victory.
5. He is limited in his desire to control people’s spiritual lives. That is, once we begin to live the life of victory and connect with God’s Word, Satan has to submit to the authority that is declared in God’s Word. He is no match for the Word of God.
Back to Alexander the Great. He was the first in history to defeat the formidable navy of about two hundred veteran warships owned by Persia. He did this while remaining on land. How do you defeat a navy on land? He studied his enemy. His data revealed a severe crack in their mighty naval forces. What was it? While they were a mighty naval force and Alexander’s men were, for the most part, foot soldiers, Alexander realized that these great warships for which he was no match still had to come into port at some point to take on fresh drinking water and fresh rations. Bingo! Thus Alexander seized all the ports of entry so they could not accomplish this. It doesn’t matter what kind of weapons you have to fight with; if you are starving or thirsting to death, they do you little good.
This is why when you realize that you have been chosen for victory and actually begin to live the life of victory, you will always have a fresh supply of the water (Spirit) of life and the bread (Word of God) of life. You can starve your enemy until you defeat him or he simply surrenders.
Know What You Are Going After!
The definition of the problem is often the problem. That is, how we see the problem is often the problem. If a rock is impregnable, it is because we agree in advance that it is. Perception is usually reality! We humans have a real problem with this. We rarely ever see things as they are; we see them as we are.
Consider the man who has pushed hard in life and has attained a certain level of success only to see it evaporate with financial problems or health problems. If he is not living in a victorious relationship with God, he will begin to see the world around him disappointingly and all people untrustworthy. He will begin to see God as unfair.
Fortunately, God has already reminded us in His Word that we all will have some trouble and tribulation along with joy in this world. Also, we know that our days here are numbered.
This is the entry point for Satan’s ideas many times. We must keep a clear biblical perspective through every season of our life. That is real victory. Paul evidently had this understanding. He said, “None of these things move me.” Did he enjoy going through the beatings, the cold, lonely nights, the emotions of being forsaken by those he relied upon? No-, he didn’t, yet he walked through life and left this world with his trust in God and his accomplishments still II intact, leaving a positive impact upon his world we are still affected by even to this day.
That, my friend, is the victory that God has chosen us for!
The above article, “Understanding Victory” is written by James Holland Sr. The article was excerpted from pages 9-25 of Holland’s book Chosen for Victory.
The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.