THIS article is about defeat, not victory, because we need strategies for defeat if we’re to properly envision victory and experience it. A solid offence feels good, but it falls flat if we can’t play defense.
Now, this is the thing: Life will most certainly defeat us if we let it. Bad days and confounding moments come when we have no answer. This, we all know too well, is the nature of life.
Here’s another thing to bear in mind. Even more so do the tests of life come when we’ve promised God we’re with Him, committed to the overcoming life He won for us at the cross.
What shape does defeat come in? In obtuse designs of frustration and complaint and exhaustion and bitterness, among others, where we’re overcome.
Victory comes straddled between the twin peaks of passion and recollection; times when we run forward in advance, and other times when we’re honestly depleted and need to take stock. The latter can seem to take the form of defeat, but we don’t consider recovery as defeat at all. It is merely the necessary action in a chain of events to make our overcoming life sustainable.
Life will most certainly defeat us if we let it. Of course, we cannot let it. We must get up each day with the mind’s fresh resolve — to discern God’s will and pray for the power to carry it out — that’s all.
The business of God’s people is to make possible what the world thinks is impossible. These are the matters of our attitude to all sorts of scenarios thrust at us. Only by faith can we be observed to overcome when the pressure seems overwhelming. We even overcome by being overcome if we don’t give up.
And only by experience of defeat do we learn how to achieve victory. There is no shame in falling short. In fact, Christians, of all people, should accept this (Romans 3:23). We all fall short. When we bear no shame in falling short, we are quicker getting up from the canvas. We do get up from the canvas. We need to resolve this with our will in having the humility to rise again.
Following Christ is all about the long game. We endure defeat knowing Jesus has achieved the victory, having faith He will show us the way. That way is of learning, and that learning is about character growth in virtue. It is less about effort, more about surrender, letting go of idols, consenting to God.
In essence, it’s the prayer, ‘God, have your way in my life in every way.’ The long game is about getting there. It takes time.
Surrender to the world and go about feeling defeated or surrender to God and experience victory even through defeat.
The Christian life is an overcoming life, but it is never easy. Indeed, it is a cauldron where we must count the cost.
The moment we say we will pay the price our faith requires, we are both ready to serve Christ and about to be significantly tested.
Welcome to the Cauldron!
The enemy loves a challenge.