Equipping the saints for the work of the ministry - Ephesians 4:12

Are You a Victim or a Victor?

It’s not God’s design for us to become the victims of things that happen to us. 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). Below are a few things that will help us become victors:

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.

Be Convinced of God’s Immutable Love for 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:

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 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:

Encourage and Strengthen Yourself in the Lord (1 Samuel 30:6)

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 about the positive and of good things.

Praise God (Hebrews 13:15, Job 13:15)

Prayer focuses on the problem while praise concentrates on the solution. Also 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. Forgive! Forgive! Forgive!

Be born of God (1 John 5:4, John 3:1-16)

This means a birth from above. It 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 (that 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, 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 everything life may throw at us.

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.

Starting a new church or ministry is one of the most rewarding things you can do to advance the gospel, but it can also be very challenging. With over 40 years of church planting and ministry experience, Dr. Linton's passion is to encourage, support and equip pastors and church leaders.