Billy Graham once wrote that 95% of Christians live spiritually-defeated lives. How does that happen? What or who is it that spiritually defeats the Christian? Do we not have victory in Jesus? Of course we do, however many Christians lives their lives as though Jesus never went to the cross or rose from the grave defeating Satan and death. This defeatist lifestyle is not peculiar to the 21st Century Christian. As God’s chosen people, Israel experienced this many times.
“You make us turn back from the enemy, and those who hate us have taken spoil for themselves. You have given us up like sheep intended for food, and have scattered us among the nations. You sell Your people for next to nothing, and are not enriched by selling them.” (Psalm 44:10-12)
We are not sure of which defeat the Sons of Korah wrote Psalm 44, but as you read its entirety the psalm is a remembrance of how God redeemed Israel and how He will do it again if we will just repent and cry out to Him.
The history of man’s relationship with God is one of repentance, redemption, revival, riches, relapse, and then reproach and back around the vicious cycle of living life in our own strength and returning to God. Warning Jerusalem and Judah of God’s coming judgment, the Prophet Isaiah wrote:
“And so it shall be: instead of a sweet smell there will be a stench; instead of a sash, a rope; instead of well-set hair, baldness; instead of a rich robe, a girding of sackcloth; and branding instead of beauty. Your men shall fall by the sword, and your mighty in the war. Her gates shall lament and mourn, and she being desolate shall sit on the ground.” (Isaiah 3:24-26)
How do we break this vicious cycle of living for Jesus and slipping into the trap of living for ourselves? The answer is very simple but the execution is not always easy. We obey God’s commandments first and foremost. If God cannot trust us to live by the standards He set for us, then why should He trust us with anything more? Actually, it’s not a matter of God trusting us, it is a matter of us trusting God. We go awry when we stop trusting God. How does that happen? On Easter Sunday my pastor described it as “coming to a place where your faith stops.”
That means we’ve stopped trusting Jesus. It means we’ve come to a place where Jesus’ promises are not enough. My earthly eyes are the limits of my faith. If I cannot see it, then I cannot trust it. It is a wretched place to be. It is a place I have visited more times than I care to remember.
What I must rely on when I do come to a place where my faith stops is God’s Word. It is true and sure and everlasting. Whether it be in the arena of our culture, politics, or religion, I have to trust on God’s Word. It is the last word in all arguments. God’s Word answers all questions. We may not always like the answer or see the way through that it provides, but we can always trust it. If we trust man, or worse yet fear him, we will slip into our old ways of trusting our own judgment and personal experiences over relying on the truth of the Bible.
“The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.” (Proverbs 29:25)
Dear Christian do you want to live the abundant and blessed life Jesus promised us? If you do, you must come to a place where you trust and place your hope in the Lord Jesus Christ.
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord.” (Jeremiah 17:7)
If you haven’t trusted in Jesus for salvation, would you do so today? You can trust that no matter your offenses, Jesus has paid the price in full for your redemption. You just have to accept it.
If you have trusted in Christ for salvation but you are living a spiritually-defeated life, then take your eyes off of your circumstance and place them on your King who has already defeated our enemies, including Satan and death.
If you will do that, then you can sing “Victory in Jesus” with a renewed and strengthened faith.
If you’re receiving these devotionals for the first time and would like to receive them on a regular basis, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and use “Please add to Devotional List” as the subject. You can purchase Dave’s four devotional books by visiting his Amazon author page.
Copyright © 2014 David Jeffers