If Jesus promised victory, why are so many Christians experiencing defeat in their own lives? In his book, Victory in Christ, Charles Trumball expresses the sad circumstances of many people:
There were great fluctuations in my spiritual life, in my conscious closeness of fellowship with God. Sometimes I would be on the heights spiritually; sometimes I would be in the depths. A strong, arousing conviction, a stirring, searching address from some consecrated, victorious Christian leader of men; a searching Spirit filled book, or the obligation to do a difficult piece of Christian service myself, with the preparation in prayer that it involved, would lift me up; and I would stay up – for a while – and God would seem very close and my spiritual life deep. But it wouldn’t last. Sometimes by some single failure before temptation, sometimes by a gradual downhill process, my best experiences would be lost, and I would find myself back on the lower levels. And a lower level is a perilous place for a Christian to be, as the Devil showed me over and over again.
The cycle Trumbull described may be typical, but it isn’t the kind of Christian life described in the New Testament. The problem for many believers is that they try instead of trust.We live in a culture that commends effort. From childhood each of us learned that we shouldn’t give up. Don’t be a quitter. Keep trying until you accomplish your goal. One company even advertised a motto which said, “We try harder!” In the natural world, trying harder is commendable and often effective. Yet God’s ways really aren’t our ways. Sometimes they seem to be opposite from ours. In the spiritual world, trying harder is detrimental. That’s right. Trying will defeat you every time, regardless of how sincere you might be.
No Christian has a problem with the previous paragraph as it relates to salvation.If an unsaved person were to suggest to you that he is trying hard to become a Christian, what would you tell him? You would probably make it clear to him that a person is not saved by trying, but becomes a child of God by trusting.You would tell him that there is absolutely nothing he can do to gain salvation. It has all already been done. Salvation is a gift to be received, not a reward for hard work.
Yet many Christians who understand that trying is detrimental to becoming a Christian somehow think that it is essential to walking in victory after salvation. Not so! 1 Corinthians 15:57 says, “but thanks be unto God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” The Bible clearly says here that victory is a gift that comes through Jesus. If we have the Lord Jesus Christ, victory is already ours!
Do you get the picture? We don’t experience victory by fighting, instead we enjoy it by resting. As we abide in Christ and allow Him to live His life through us we live in victory. 1 John 5:4 says,”And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith.” The key to victory is to simply allow Christ to live through us. The Bible calls it “walking in the Spirit”. Many people try to stop sinning in order to walk in the Spirit, but Galatians 5:16 says, Walk in the Spirit and [then] you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
Victory is a Person and His name is Jesus! It isn’t necessary to walk in defeat. The victory was won at the cross and became ours the moment we received Christ!