“The victorious Christian life” is one of those Christianese phrases that we hear often and that rolls off of our tongues easily. Indeed we have victory in the blood of Jesus – victory over the curse of sin which brings us eternal life. We read in 1 Corinthians 15:54-58: “When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ”. Pretty incredible, isn’t it?
However, when we talk about the “victorious Christian life” we usually refer to our present life, the life we now live on planet earth. By this, we mean experiencing power over temptation, living in the presence of God, and doing the things that give Him glory. Every Christian should desire this life.
Yes we want victory, but do we really want the circumstances that give rise to victory? Think about it for a second. The idea of victory means that there must be something or someone that we have victory over, which means that that there are conflicts, battles, or all out war. There is no need for victory when all is peaceful because there is nothing to fight, and thus nothing to win.
In the lives of believers in Jesus, victory tells us that we are in a war, and that war takes on two fronts. First we battle the forces of evil – Satan and his minions who work ceaselessly in their attempts to sew doubt in our minds, plant temptations in our hearts, and stir up chaos and confusion in our lives. Yes, there is a war that rages around us everyday, but there is victory when we claim that victory in the blood of Jesus and fight the spiritual battles with the armor of God that is so wonderfully explained in Ephesians 6.
The second front is “self”. Self is the old me, that part of me that wants to be God and call the shots. We fight this constantly whether we realize it or not – we struggle with obedience to God or doing what the world expects; we fight with being a humble servant as Jesus calls us to be or acting in pride and wanting our way; we battle with holiness when the world seductively whispers “go ahead you deserve to make yourself happy with all the pleasure you want”. This battle is also fierce, but there is victory, and that victory is experienced when we die to self and totally surrender to the lordship of Jesus in our lives.
Jesus wasn’t naive, He knew that this earthly life would be a battle. In John 14:33 Jesus said: 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.” He ascended into heaven and sent the Holy Spirit to indwell those who would trust Him as Savior so that we would have everything necessary to realize “the victorious life”. Ephesians 1:3 says: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ”. In order to allow the Holy Spirit to work this “every spiritual blessing in Christ” in our lives we must die to self. There is no other way.
Yes, every true Christian desires to have victory, but most don’t want the circumstances that go along with it – spiritual warfare and the battle for lordship in their lives (“self” vs Jesus). Yet, these conflicts exist in each one of us. The battles are fierce and continuous, and we must make concerted effort and take intentional steps to avoid being a casualty. But we are all in the war and must fight. There is no victory without the fight.
Are you experiencing victories in your Christian walk? While none of us is perfect, when we don the armor of God daily and die to self daily, we will realize more victories and experience the presence of our awesome God like we never did before.
We all want victory, but no one wants the battle. Remember, you can’t have the former without the latter. Are you taking the steps necessary to be victorious?