Douglas MacArthur famously said, “There is no substitute for victory.”
At the end of a hard-fought football game, compare the triumphant enthusiasm of the winners with the hollow, shell-shocked depression on the faces of the losing team. In a war, notice the contrast between the generals whose strategy is working compared to those who are botching the conflict. In your own heart, think of a day when you’ve fallen into temptation and sin. Then think of a time when you were exuberant in following Christ.
There’s no substitute for victory, and our God is a God of victory.
Battles rage. Enemies attack. But the bigger the opponent the sweeter and the mightier the victory when they’re defeated. If you’re looking for giant-size victories, remember: God can do great and mighty things, and we are more than conquerors through Christ our Lord.
The greatest battles we face are within us, with our own attitudes, addictions, faults, and failures. We also face battles with the circumstances of life, such as debt, disease, and family turmoil. We’re at war with the pagan society around us and even with our unseen enemy and his principalities, powers, and rulers of darkness.
Is there a battlefield in some area of your life right now? What giant or giants are in your pathway?
Let me take you on a biblical tour of victory verses, showing several passages on this subject.
Let’s start again with King David. His final campaign wasn’t a military operation. It was a project to raise the vast sums needed for building his envisioned temple. It seemed impossible to gather the necessary resources. But with God’s help, every shekel came in.
In 1 Chronicles 29:11, David praised the Lord in an exuberant prayer, saying: “Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power and the glory, the victory and the majesty; for all that is in Heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and You are exalted as head over all.”
The Lord Himself is the victory. He Himself is greatness, power, glory, majesty, and He is exalted over all things. Jesus is the Victor — and He Himself is our resource.
Someone asked Corrie ten Boom about the missionaries she met in a certain nation. She replied, “They have given all, but they have not taken all. They have given homeland, time, money, luxury, and more, but they have not taken all the riches abundant that the Word gives us from the boundless resources of God’s promises. Many do not know about two precious weapons: the power of the cross and the blood of Jesus, and every Christian’s legal right to use the wonderful name of Jesus.”
Corrie found great inspiration in a quotation found in a devotional book: “Though all the powers of Hell attack, fear not, Jesus is Victor!”
Our supplies are provided for us by Christ and conveyed to us through His promises. Andrew Murray wrote, “Your temper may be terrible; your pride may have bound you a hundred times; your temptations may ‘compass you about like bees,’ but there is victory for you if you will but trust the promises of God.”
It is critically important that we hold a firm grasp on the sword of the Spirit — the Word of God. Long ago, there was a man named Eleazar ben Dodo. He was one of David’s soldiers who found himself in an impossible spot. In a battle against the Philistines, the Israelites retreated, but Eleazar didn’t join the retreat. Suddenly he realized he was surrounded by the enemy. He gripped his sword and fought on. After the battle, his fellow soldiers had to pry open his fingers to release his grip on his weapon as they helped him off the battlefield. But it was worth it. “The Lord brought about a great victory that day” (2 Samuel 23:10).
The Bible is the Christian’s double-edged sword. Let’s keep it frozen to our hand until the victory is won.
Proverbs 21:31 says, “The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the Lord” (NIV, emphasis added). In other words, we have to saddle up the horses and dive into the battle, but it is God and God alone who gives the victory. We have to do our part, knowing the Lord will win the battle.
When Billy Graham was beginning his ministry, he spent many months preaching in England and throughout Europe. Being away from his wife, Ruth, and his little newborn baby was a test, and he suffered from homesickness and the flu. Ruth wrote him, warning him to take care of himself.
“I think sometimes it is easier to drive ourselves to actual death than it is to take ourselves firmly in hand and make ourselves do the wise thing,” she wrote him. “It is better to rest awhile above the earth than to rest forever beneath it.”
In his autobiography, Dr. Graham wrote, “I returned home from our European tour at the beginning of April 1947, having been gone for six months …Those months had also been a time of spiritual challenge and growth. My contact with British evangelical leaders … deepened my personal spiritual life. I was beginning to understand that Jesus Himself was our victory, through the Holy Spirit’s power. I developed an even deeper hunger for Bible study and new biblical insights … I quoted the Bible more frequently than ever.”
No wonder God so greatly used Billy Graham. Amid the rigors of a sacrificial life, he learned that Jesus is our victory. He took himself firmly in hand, made himself do the right thing, and quoted the Bible on every occasion.
Don’t be intimidated by the battle. Be invigorated by the victory.
As you claim your resources, grip your sword, and take your stand, don’t forget to praise the Lord. Psalm 98:1 says, “Oh, sing to the Lord a new song! For He has done marvelous things; His right hand and His holy arm have gained Him the victory”
The apostle Paul faced many trials during his dramatic ministry, but he never lost courage. He looked forward to the day when the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised, and we will be transformed. He wrote in 1 Corinthians 15: “Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory’… Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (verses 54, 57).
Sammy Tippit, who has preached the Gospel in more than 80 nations, wrote in his book, The Race: “Early in my Christian life … God gave me victory over many weaknesses as a new believer, but I continued to struggle with some deep-seated vulnerabilities. I wanted victory but failed consistently. I didn’t know how to overcome them. The harder I tried to defeat those attitudes and habits, the bigger they became. When I realized that I couldn’t overcome them, I looked to Jesus, and His strength enabled me to overcome. I brought those areas of my life to Him daily and trusted Jesus to live victorious through me. I found victory, but I could only say that it was God’s strength, not mine.”
That’s the common experience of uncommon believers. It’s what God has for us.
The bigger our foes the mightier they fall before our Lord’s authority. Ask Him to help you live triumphantly and trust His King-size power to bring you giant-size victories.
Dr. David Jeremiah is among the best known Christian leaders in the world. He serves as senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California and is the founder and host of Turning Point. Turning Point‘s 30-minute radio program is heard on more than 2,200 radio stations daily. A New York Times bestselling author and Gold Medallion winner, he has written more than fifty books.