Lessons to Learn

The Truth About Christian Victories and Defeats

This is a picture of a man in boxing gloves being kicked by a leg coming out of a punching bag to represent victories and defeats.

As Christians, we all have jobs to do for the Lord. Sometimes we do well and rock the assignment so much that we give glory to God for His grace. (Because we know there was no way we could have done that well by ourselves.) But sometimes, we miss God and end up kicking ourselves for all the ways we royally messed things up. Victories and defeats are a part of the Christian walk, and this weekend, I had one of each. Later in prayer, God had a surprising “mic-drop” message for me about them both.

Friday’s Victory

I’m a teacher, and Friday God had given me a terrific lesson to bring to the high school Christian club on my campus. That morning, I showed up with a snack that was a hit and delivered a message that was anointed with the wisdom and spiritual goodness that only comes from God. The student testimonies that followed were precious. And the message about praying with other Christians (Matthew 18:20) was received. Several of the 20 or so kids who came to the meeting filled out prayer request forms for the group to pray about later.

All of this was done in the presence of my new campus principal. He was a surprise addition to the meeting. It seems that he is also a Christian and is planning to attend meetings this year as a show of faith to the Christian students on campus. The kids left with handfuls of suckers attached to cards with a Bible verse on them to invite other students to the meeting next week. Success!

Saturday’s Defeat

Saturday I was beat. It was a long week with a lot of responsibility, and I was tired. The Saturday morning Zoom Bible study planned for 11:00 AM with the ladies from my church did NOT sound appealing at all. I just wanted to sleep in, relax, and write a blog if God chose to give me one. Surely, I thought, a full-time job teaching, ministries, and church on Wednesdays and twice on Sundays was “enough,” I said to myself.

Even though the Bible study message was always good for me. Even though the other ladies counted on me to be there to pray for their needs at the end. And even though it was a little harder for my friend to do the technology part than it is for me. I. Needed. My. Time. So, I took it. I also spent the day feeling guilty, restless, and unproductive before God reminded me that we had totally had this discussion earlier this summer. It wasn’t MY TIME at all. It was HIS TIME, and I had completely left Him out of the loop on it. Ugh.

The Message for Both Victories and Defeats

When Sunday rolled around, I was still beating myself up pretty bad for making that decision for myself instead of really getting God’s heartbeat on the matter. I had repented for being willful, but a voice just kept complaining about me. Would I ever learn? 

As I knelt at the altar after church with my head bowed, I started to praise the Lord. Suddenly, though, Friday’s victory popped into my mind. I had the thought that I did a good job. After all, I had heard God’s voice clearly and obeyed God with my lesson. God had used me to deliver a super lesson to the students and even the leader of my campus. 

My spirit recoiled from the reminder. It felt wrong, like it was prideful to even think of such things. I said, “But that was the past. Today is a new day in the Lord. Yesterday’s victories don’t have any bearing on today.”

Then I heard in my spirit, “Then why are you still worried about yesterday’s defeats?”

God’s Mic Drop Moment

God really does have a way with words, and when He speaks, there is no arguing. A Christian life is filled with directions and assignments from the Lord. Some of them will end in victory, and we will praise God for His goodness that He allowed us to be a part of something amazing. Some of them will end in defeat, and we will have to live with the imperfection of our humanity. But Philippians 3:13-14 says, “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”  We can’t rest on our victories or wallow in our defeats. God’s mercy is new every morning, and each new day is a chance to live our lives for the Lord.

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