Being Victorious in Life
We desire to win every battle whether physical or spiritual and God is ever willing to equip us to achieve this through surrender to His Sovereign authority and obedience.

Being Victorious in Life

        Lord Jesus in the letters to the seven churches in the book of Revelation not only brought out their weaknesses and strong points but also mentioned great rewards for those who will overcome the temptations and lies of the devil. It obviously means that though being victorious is not easy but it is definitely possible for those who are chosen by God for performing great works for His kingdom. Not everyone can perform miracles though the promises of God and His power is available to all believers through the indwelling Holy Spirit. Why some can and the others cannot when the blessings are available to both?

        Believer’s new identity in Lord Jesus – The Scripture provides an exceptional identity to the believers, ‘you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light’. The reason for being chosen to be called out is specific for the task assigned is to proclaim His praises. At the beginning of creation God separated the light from darkness (Genesis 1:4). But after completion of the recreation process the situation will be totally different from the present for ‘there shall be no night there; they need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light’ (Revelation 22:5). New Jerusalem in the new creation ‘had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light’ (Revelation 21:23).

       What is the reason for the difference in the two situations? – Satan was cast out of heaven after his rebellion and became the cause of the formless and void state of the earth. During the creation process the darkness was separated from the light but was present and mankind was tasked to dominate by being ‘fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it’ (Genesis 1:28). The task included domination and subduing the forces of darkness on the earth. In the second instance the heavenly forces led by the Son of God caught ‘the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years’ and then ‘the devil who deceived them was cast into the lake of fire—-forever and ever’ (Revelation 20:2 & 10). The caution given to Cain was the same as to Adam in not eating the forbidden fruit in that ‘sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it’ (Genesis 4:7). In the letters to the seven churches some believers are likely to overcome and will be rewarded by the Lord (Revelation 2 & 3).

       How does God choose the select? – The probable reasons for this, as available in the Scripture, could be, first, righteous conduct of the individual as seen in Noah for the ‘wickedness of man was great’ and ‘Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD’ (Genesis 6:5 & 8). Secondlyattitude of obedience of the select as seen in Abram who was commanded by God to move ‘to a land that I will show you’ (Genesis 12:1). Abram blindly obeyed God and became Abraham ‘the father of many nations’. Thirdcapacity to improve, Abraham was commanded by God at 99 years of age, 25 years after being asked to move to the new land,  ‘Walk before Me and be perfect’ (Genesis 17:1).

       Fourth, not what I can do but what God wants me to do for Him for His glory, Abram was renamed as Abraham ‘made father of many nations’ while Sarai, his wife, came to be called Sarah and to ‘be a mother of nations’ (Genesis 17:5 & 15). In like manner the ‘Angel of the LORD said to Gideon’, who was threshing wheat in the winepress while hiding from the Midianites, ‘you mighty man of valor’ (Judges 6:11- 12). David was anointed by Prophet Samuel as the king of Israel after Saul while he was still a teenager (1 Samuel 16:12). The reason for this choice was revealed by God that ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will’ (Acts 13:22). King David was given the temple design; he set up worship schedule in the Tabernacle; established a great kingdom and God promised him an heir to rule on his throne forever. Judas Iscariot was chosen by the Lord, appointed treasurer of His ministry till he sold Him for thirty pieces of silver. On the other hand Simon Peter denied knowing the Lord three times but restored to ‘Tend to and Feed My lambs and sheep’ and was told ‘by what death he would glorify God’ (John 21:15-19). Ananias was told by the Lord about Apostle Paul that he is a ’chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake’ (Acts 9:15-16).

          Fifthzeal or eagerness to do God’s will – This is the desire to reach out to as many as we can for ‘My zeal has consumed me, because my enemies have forgotten Your words’ (Psalm 119:139). Those who do not follow God’s decrees are enemies but in our love for them also we eagerly pray for them also to be transformed. Sixbe attentive to God’s call – Prophet Samuel as a child was dedicated to the LORD’s service by Hanna, his mother, and he was attentive to being called. He replied, after being called thrice for he did not yet know the LORD, nor was the word of the LORD yet revealed to him, ‘ speak LORD  for Your servant hears’ (1 Samuel 3:1-9). Prophet Isaiah though awed by the presence of the LORD in the Temple, ‘heard the voice of the LORD, ‘whom shall I send? And who will go for Us?’ He immediately volunteered ‘hear am I! send me’ (Isaiah 6:8). The Word of the LORD came to Prophet Jeremiah while he was yet a child and he responded to God’s call (Jeremiah 1:4-9).

         God’s choice generally is about the future and not only about the present though obedience will bring changes in the immediate realm as well. In captivity the children of Israel were selected who were without blemish, good looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, ability to serve in the king’s palace to be taught the language and literature of the Chaldeans. Daniel and his three friends refused to eat the delicacies from king’s palace and ate vegetables and fruits yet their features appeared better and fatter in flesh than others (Daniel 1:3-4; 8 & 15). They were chosen to reveal the power of YHWH God to others through various trials that they underwent, be it interpretation of the King’s dream, being thrown into the burning furnace for the king to recognize the Son of God in the fire rescuing them or being thrown into the lion’s den for the king to accept God’s hand on them.

       The process of selection of the few – God never forces anyone to do anything against his choice and free will, though through various situations we are goaded into a particular position. Before testing us God accepts being tested. Gideon asked the Angel of the LORD, ‘show me a sign that it is You who talk to me’ and then asks Him to ‘wait till I come to You and bring out my offering’. His offering of meat and the unleavened bread when placed on the rock was touched by the end of the staff by the Angel and fire rose out of the rock and consumed the meat and bread (Judges 6:17-21). Gideon then again tested God twice by demanding that only the fleece placed by him on the threshing floor should receive the dew while it be dry on the ground all around. It was so and ‘he wrung a bowl full of water from the fleece’. The second time Gideon asked the LORD to let the fleece be dry but there be dew all around it (Judges 6:37-40). The twelve disciples were witness to everything that Lord Jesus did, yet in the storm when Apostle Peter saw Him walking on water called out, ‘Lord, if it is You command me to come to You on the water’ and he did walk on the water to go to Lord Jesus (Matthew 14:28). Nathanael was called by Phillip to Lord Jesus but he commented ‘can anything good come out of Nazareth’ but the Lord gazed into his heart to say, ‘an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit’. Lord Jesus revealed to him that He heard his prayers when he (Nathanael) was praying under the fig tree an indicator of a Jew in Prayer to gaze into heaven and he believed immediately. But the Lord further declared that Nathanael will see angels ascending and descending on to Him for ‘I am the way’, the ladder of Jacob to heaven (John 1:45-51).

        Then God tests our faith – Apostle Peter was empowered to walk on water and in faith he stepped out. Greater the task for a believer, tougher is the test. God the Father tested Lord Jesus and He was led into the wilderness to be tested by the devil after forty days of fasting. This test included testing of body weakness for food, test of the soul to seek recognition by God and others through display of special status of protection be angels and finally the test of His whole being ‘to reign and do whatever You came to do’ through worship of Satan (Matthew 4:1- 11). On Gideon’s call to the Israelites, thirty two thousand came but God commanded him to send back all who ‘were fearful and afraid’ so that ‘you may not claim my own hand has saved me’. Only 10 thousand remained but God considered even this being ‘too many’ and commanded Gideon to bring them to the water and choose ‘everyone who laps water like a dog or one who goes down on the knees to drink’. After this only three hundred were left to face a horde of the enemy Judges 7:2-7). After listening to the sayings of Lord Jesus  many followers left the Lord and even the twelve were asked ‘do you also want to go away?’ Simon Peter answered ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. You are the Christ, the Son of the living God’ (John 6:66-68). Their faith was tested to encourage them to continue on the journey.

      God helps us in building our faith – While Nathanael received a revelation and Gideon was told by God to go at night to the Midianites camp where he heard one telling his dream to the other of a loaf of barley bread that fell in their camp and the tent collapsed. The other immediately declared that is nothing but God who has delivered their camp into Gideon’s hands (Judges 7:9-15). Joshua was encouraged by God and the Israelites ‘do not be afraid’ before he accepted the responsibility to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. In faith he circumcises all males while being in close proximity to Jericho thus disabling all soldiers for 4-5 days. Lord Jesus as Commander of the army of the LORD came over to five the battle plans for capture of Jericho to walk around the city for six days carrying the Ark and on the seventh day go around seven times to see Jericho’s walls falling inwards (Joshua 5:14).

     God ensures victory – The three hundred men were stationed by Gideon all around the Midianites camp with ‘trumpet and torches inside empty pitchers’ and to ‘blow the trumpet when I do and shout’. The enemy panicked and fled making Gideon and his band of soldiers victorious (Judges 7:16-22). Joshua saw the walls of Jericho fall down and the Israelites destroyed everything inside the city (Joshua 6:20-21).    

     Why does God test the believers through trials? – Prophet Isaiah revealed the reason for our trials through God’s word. ‘I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. For My own sake, for My own sake I will do it; for how should My name be profaned?’ (Isaiah 48:10-11). When God decides to intervene He assures victory and testing is to make sure that we shall not fall prey to the devil’s lies and seek defeat instead. God has created each of us in His image and likeness and sanctified us through the sacrifice of His Son on the cross. There is no one else who is more deserving of God’s love and success than a believer and I must act in faith in this belief.

      Perfection and success – In the Old Testament emphasis is repeatedly laid on achieving perfection and righteousness to be successful. However, Lord Jesus has placed every believer at a high plane through forgiveness of sins and we strive to remain in that state through His transforming power. Abraham was commanded to aspire for perfection under God’s care (Genesis 17:1). The world, with sinfulness all around, looks like a palace on fire while the king passively looks on the destruction without doing anything to save. God created everything as very good and acting in our free will we set fire to it and continue to do so. God cannot violate His own act and interfere to stop us and requires us to step forward to seize the initiative. We get chosen to fight the fire and God then empowers us to enlist others like Noah, David or Apostle Paul or many others.

       But who is our enemy? – Apostle Paul has declared that ‘we fight against principalities and powers, against rulers of darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places’ (Ephesians 6:12). The Scripture further defines the opponent, ‘You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty’ and ‘you were perfect in your ways from the day you were created’ (Ezekiel 28:12 & 15). Satan is the only one who was created perfect and he wanted to be equal to the self created Son of God who is perfect in every way. This is the opposition that we face, Satan and all his forces. The call to be blameless is to aspire to reach a high level of holiness to face the temptations that will be thrown at us. We have to recognize and accept our weaknesses and seek God’s help like Lord Jesus accepted, ‘the spirit indeed is willing but the flesh is weak’ (Matthew 26:41).

       When we recognize our weakness we take steps to cover that. Lord Jesus warned the disciples, ‘Behold, I send you out as sheep among wolves’ to encourage them to be prepared (Matthew 10:16). Words ‘fear not’ is said to be used more than 365 times while ‘do not be afraid’ is said to be used more than 70 times in the Bible.

      God empowers us to face every situation – Apostle Paul encourages us that ‘no temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with temptation will also make the way of escape’ (1 Corinthians 10:13).  Then whether it is David facing Goliath with a stone or even His own Son facing the devil in the wilderness God’s Spirit moves in to help and ensure victory.

     What example has our Lord set before us – Apostle Paul shows us the way to victory to ‘Imitate me as I also imitate Christ’ (1 Corinthians 11:1). Lord Jesus, even at the young age of twelve years, ‘astonished others with His understanding and answers’ about the Scripture. To His parents He expressed His desire to do ‘Father’s business’ but went with them and ‘was subject to them’ (Luke 2:42-51). Lord Jesus was in Cana as a guest in a marriage and the wine finished and informed His mother ‘My hour has not yet come’ to intervene. But He obeyed His mother and water was turned into the best wine (John 2:1-10). He fulfilled His worldly duties even from the cross and entrusted the future care of His mother to Apostle John to ensure her well being (John 19:26-27). Expressing His obedience to do God’s will He declared, ‘I can of Myself do nothing’ and it is the Father’s power and guidance  that enabled Him (John 5:30). And we are blessed with the indwelling Holy Spirit to do likewise.

       Lord Jesus prayed for all believers ‘I do not pray that You take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one’. Lord Jesus prayed to the Father to help us in our fights against the devil. And He declared that ‘the glory which You gave Me I have given them’ (John 17:15). Hebrew word ‘kavod’ means glory or weight but it is not what we possess but in what we participate. Filled with God’s glory, we like God’s Son fulfill the purposes of God the Father manifesting His truth and we are required to manifest the Father in our actions.

       Lessons learnt from Gideon’s battle – Gideon was chosen by God to become a mighty warrior. We must understand that firstly, calamities will invariably follow when we willfully disobey God’s Word as Satan gets a foot in through the open door of sin. Second, God does not forsake us or forgets us  but like a loving Father comes looking to call out, ‘Adam where are you?’ Three, God selects us not for what we can do for Him but for what He can make us. Gideon hiding but was called a ‘mighty man of valor. Then God welcomes questions to confirm His truth for He has given us the gift of discernment and though Gideon’s offering was consumed by fire but even then God allowed him the test of the fleece. Four, He gives us time to understand, meditate upon and then decide. God tests our faith and eligibility or readiness for the task and Gideon was tasked to destroy the image of Baal and Asherah pole. Fifth, God gives us a new identity with a new name like Abraham and Gideon to Jerubbaal. Sixth, God tests our faith and preparedness. Gideon was commanded to reduce his force from thirty two thousand reduced to just 300 against a great crowd of the enemy. Seventh, God helps us in overcoming unbelief and fear like Gideon was sent to hear the dream of the Midianite soldier. Eight, God gets involved in our battles and gives us the plan for victory. Gideon and his three hundred men were equipped with pitchers and torches to make the enemy flee. Nine, Victory comes from the Lord even though the enemy may be ‘like the locusts’ in number. God uses normal people to do great works and His power works through faith but though He permits scrutiny but after that demands complete obedience and surrender.

      God created mankind for His glory and for His heavenly kingdom despite the fact that each individual is different in every aspect. Few are then chosen by Him to do greater works, though everyone must aspire to do His Divine will. He has given dominion over everything to mankind and the same has been restored back to each believer. We exercise this in the name and authority of His Son, our Messiah. In our journey on the earth we glorify God through acting in faith and gaining victory over evil by operating in His power.

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