Are You a Victor or a Victim?
It’s not God’s design for people to become victims of the things that happen to them. Biblical examples of people who went through devastating circumstances which they overcame include Peter (Mark 16:1-7, Acts 2), Paul and Silas (Acts 16), Job (James 5:10-11), and David (1 Samuel 30:1-6). There are also countless examples in both history and in the lives of people in our day.
God’s design is that we make the things life throws at us into stepping stones to victory. We need to allow them to take us to higher ground, not allow them to become stumbling blocks making us victims (1 John 4:4, 1 John 5:4-5, Romans 8:37, Revelation 12:11).
Be Born Again (John 3:3)
The world, the devil and the flesh are the battlefield of everyone born into this world. If we are to be an overcomer, we must be born again. This is the first step in an overcoming life. The Bible says,
“For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God” (1 John 5:4-5)?
Choose Life (Deuteronomy 30:15, Deuteronomy 30:19)
In these verses we are told that we all have set before us life, prosperity,and blessing, and at the same time death, adversity, and cursing. When life throws things at us we must choose life in order that we may live.
Some people have gone through many negative things and have been so beat down by life that you feel there is no way out. Let me encourage you that there is a way out. Our God is the God of all hope (Romans 15:13). We must get up everyday proclaiming with a loud voice “I choose life!”
Once you have made this a habit write a list of things that you can choose to do everyday to begin to turn your life and situation around. The list should consist of spiritual things that will strengthen your inner man as well as practical things that will help your situation and circumstances.
Know God Loves You (Romans 8:31-39)
In all that Paul went through as a believer and a minister of the gospel he was persuaded, without a doubt, that God was always for him and that He loved him. God’s love doesn’t change with our circumstances, it remains the same. We must have the conviction that God loves us as an individual not just the world in general. When we have such a persuasion it does three things:
- It makes us unstoppable (2 Corinthians 4:7-15, 2 Corinthians 11:23-28, Acts 14). No matter what Paul went through nothing stopped him.
- It subsides stress (1 Peter 5:7). When we are persuaded Jesus really cares about us then we can give Him our cares, concerns, and anxieties and leave them with Him (Matthew 11:28-30 and Philippians 4:6-7).
- It gives us victory (Romans 8:37). Notice it says “in all these things we are more than conquerers through Him that loves us.”
Have Faith (1 John 5:4-5)
It takes real faith to overcome the things the enemy and life throws at us. 2 Corinthians 5:7 says, “We walk by faith and not by sight.” Hebrews 11:1 tell us faith is the “substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.”
According to Hebrews 11:3, God by faith framed the world so that what we see in the natural was not made out of anything in the visible realm. It’s interesting that in our first point about choosing life is preceded by Deuteronomy 30:14 which says, “The Word is near you, even in your mouth, and in your heart that you may do it.” The verse is quoted in Romans 10:8 and referred to as the Word of Faith. There are three things that activate faith:
- See and believe (John 5:19, Hebrews 11:1, 2 Corinthians 5:7). We must see, believe and hope for what does not yet exist in the natural before in can ever materialize.
- Speak in faith (Romans 10:8, Romans 10:9-11, Deuteronomy 30:14, Mark 11:22;). This doesn’t mean we lie but begin to say what we are believing God is doing or going to do. There is something about speaking or testifying what we believe that produces life and gives us the power to overcome (Proverbs 18:20-1; Revelation 12:11).
- Act on what you believe (Deuteronomy 30:14, James 2:17-19, Mark 2:5, Hebrews 11). Throughout Hebrews chapter 11 it constantly injects that by faith they did something and they overcame insurmountable odds by acting on what they believed God for.
Strengthen Yourself in the Lord (1 Samuel 30:6)
David had just experienced what stood to be a major setback and defeat in his life. The enemy had come in his absence and had stolen everything he and his men had, all their possessions and their wives and children as well. He not only felt personal loss but his men also were blaming him for their loss. To add insult to injury, his men were speaking of stoning him to death. We read,
1 Samuel 30:6 – “And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but DAVID ENCOURAGED HIMSELF IN THE LORD HIS GOD.”
This has to do with focusing on and speaking the positive in the midst of devastation. “I have overcome bad situations before with God’s help and I will overcome this too.” “I may be going through a difficult time and have failed miserably, but I will overcome this with His help.” “I will come out on top, prosper and be victorious over it all.” In Philippians 4:8, after talking about prayer and thanksgiving in anxious times, Paul stressed for them to think on that which was positive, good and praise worthy.
David faced a major crossroad in his life. Up to this point he had been victorious over everything life had thrown at him. In his distress he could have easily given up, but instead he chose to place his faith in God and all He had brought him through to this point and he “encouraged himself in the Lord his God.” It’s significant to note that shortly thereafter David entered his reign as king (2 Samuel 2). How different history may have played out had David given up. Never give up!
Praise God (Hebrews 13:15, Job 13:15)
There’s power in praise. Prayer focuses on the problem while praise concentrates on the solution. Praise always preceded victory in scripture. Read Joshua 7, 2 Chronicles 20 and Acts 16.
Forgive Others (Job 42:10)
Job went through devastation and difficulties on more levels than you can imagine. He lost everything. All of his friends said it was his fault and criticized him constantly. At the end, once he had forgiven his friends and prayed for them, God gave him back twice of all he had lost.
Some of you have gone through struggles, difficulty, abuse, and betrayal. You are still experiencing defeat in part because you haven’t forgiven those who hurt, abused and betrayed you. Forgiveness is for us more than the offender. Harboring bitterness and unforgiveness is like drinking a cup of poison hoping it will kill the other guy. It doesn’t hurt them but us. Forgive!
Focus on the Spiritual Realm (Hebrews 12:2)
“They that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Romans 8:5-6).
“The flesh lusts (wars) against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that you cannot do the things that you would” (Galatians 5:17).
“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:1-3).
The new birth takes place when you look to Jesus as your only hope of salvation. 1 John 5:4 says, “Whatever is born of God overcomes the world.” We are made up of three parts: flesh, soul (mind, will, intellect and emotions), and spirit (the part that relates to God). When we are born in the flesh (natural birth) our priorities are placed on our flesh first, then soul, and last of all, the spiritual.
When we are really born again by the Spirit of God our priorities change completely. They are first set on the spirit, then the soul, and last, the flesh. This doesn’t mean the flesh is ignored altogether, but our priorities have changed. This produces an inner strength that enables us to overcome the things this life may throw at us. This is why we must “keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind – affection on the things above, not on the things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:1-2 NASB).
Refuse to Quit (James 5:10-11, 2 Timothy 2:3, Hebrews 12:1-3)
Some of you have simply given up. Let me urge you to not give up. The devil knows the only way he can win is if you give up. If you keep pressing on and refuse to quit you will overcome and be victorious in the end.