Victory in Christ

I heard an old, old story, how a Savior came from glory, How He gave His life on Calvary To save a wretch like me; I heard about His groaning, Of His precious blood’s atoning, Then I repented of my sins And won the victory. This is the beginning of a great old hymn of the church that I have sung many times growing up, but has taken me many years of spiritual growing up to come to an understanding of the truth in this song. Victory is something we can have in our lives but only through Jesus.
Jesus told his disciples, 33 “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.” (John 16:33 NIV) Jesus through his incarnation, life, death and resurrection defeated Satan and sin. It was through the Cross that sin’s full effect was laid upon our Lord. He took on man’s full disobedience and the penalty of said defiance, death. 1 Peter 3:18, “18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God….” Jesus fought the battle we could not fight ourselves and secured for us what we were unable to do. With this knowledge then, we can know how to have victory in our lives.
Victory comes from our knowledge and faith in Jesus. I used to watch the GI Joe cartoons growing up and they would always say “knowing is half the battle.” When we read and learn about God, we gain understanding into the nature of who God is. As we dive into the scriptures, we see key attributes that can strengthen our trust in Him. God is all powerful, all present, gracious to us, caring, and all knowing, to name just a few. It is through coming to know Him that we can see God is the source of our victory. Jesus cares for our situation; gracious to pick us up if we fall, powerful to deliver us from our situation and faithful to be with us even in our deepest darkest moment in life (see Psalm 23). Knowledge of a God who cares and even shares in our afflictions (Jesus was tempted, mocked, despised, suffered pain) can help us gain the victory we need. With knowledge then, it becomes whether we have faith.
Paul tells the church in Ephesus to take up the shield of faith (Ephesians 6) to protect against the attacks of Satan in our lives. Knowing facts about God takes us only so far; it is living in and out the knowledge we gain from the bible that faith is built. You see salvation is more than just gaining a ticket to heaven, to remove the punishment of our sins. Salvation begins a relationship with us and God through Jesus. Just like any relationship, it is built on a mutual trust, us placing our trust in God and God working through our lives. As we place our trust in the Lord, we begin to see the difference He makes. This may not always be instantaneous or without pain, but as we walk with Jesus, we can see the victories as we grow in Him.
So, you might be asking, “what’s our part.” I think Jesus is the best example to use when it comes to this question. In Revelation 5, John gives us an imagery of Jesus that I think works well in our own lives. John is waiting for someone to be worthy of opening the scroll before God and it seems like no one can be found on, under and over the Earth, that is until an Angel tells him to take courage and look. John is told here comes the Lion of Judah, the majestic symbol of the King of Israel, One who has the power of God. As John looks however, he sees a lamb that is slain. In this symbolic picture of Christ, we can see how Jesus was victorious. The power of God working through the sacrifice of God himself.
For us then, true victory comes when we sacrifice our wills to God and allow the power of the Holy Spirit to work Christ’s grace in us. Paul knew this when he told the Corinthian church, “9 But he [God] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” Paul had a thorn in the flesh that he wanted God to take from him but the Lord would not remove it because it was through it that God’s power was displayed. It is the same for us, it is not about us fighting some spiritual battle by our own will and determination, but through a will handed over to Christ so that the power of our Lord might strengthen us to His glory and praise.
What is your struggle today, where in your life are you needing victory? Have you prayed, have you searched the scriptures for God’s wisdom in your circumstance and have you fasted? Even more, have you laid it before the feet of Jesus where true victory has been won for us. Victory comes not through fighting, but through submitting to the one who fought for us.

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