14 After the victory

Encouragement for difficult days (14):

AFTER THE VICTORY

“Let us be as watchful after the victory as before the battle!”

Andrew Bonar

“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:13)

We Christians face battles every day. We fight Satan, this world system that has turned away from Gd, and we battle with the flesh, our old sinful nature. In this life we should always be on our guard.

Peter puts it like this:

“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” (2 Peter 5:8).

Only problem is, though, that some times Satan doesn’t come as a roaring lion, but as a deceiving serpent, and we must be able to detect his traps and avoid them. This includes also being vigilant after a battle has been fought.

Remember what happened to Elijah after the great victory on Mount Carmel. The fire came down from heaven and devoured Elijah’s sacrifice, proving to all that Elijah’s God was the true God of Israel. Then Elijah destroyed the false prophets and priests and waited for the nation to return and repent. But the nation didn’t repent; they went on just the way they had before the great contest on the mountain. Discouraged and defeated, Elijah fled for his life and went into the desert to pout; he even asked God to take his life! Yes, Elijah won the battle, but lost the victory!

When Joshua and the armies of Israel were conquering the Promised Land, they captured the walled city of Jericho without difficulty; but the little city of Ai turned out to be a disastrous defeat. Why? Because they were overconfident!

Moses and Israel crossed the Red Sea in a great victory and watched the armies of Egypt sink in the waters; but three days later the people were thirsting for water, and the water they found was bitter. Instead of trusting God who had redeemed them, the people began to complain. Yes, they had won the battle, but lost the victory!

After Jesus was baptized and God spoke from heaven and the Holy Spirit came down like a dove, then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the lonely wilderness to be tempted by the devil. It is one thing to trust God when you see the Spirit like a dove, but it is quite something else to trust God when you are hungry and alone and being assailed by temptation. Yet Jesus did not lose the victory; He defeated Satan once and for all. One of our Lord’s most difficult times came immediately after an experience of joy and victory and blessing.

For some reason, God allows us to get tested immediately after a victory. Why is that? Maybe because our lives need balance. Also, battles help us discover how much we really learned from the blessings.

The battle shows us what God can do; but the keeping of the victory shows what you and I are really made of.

Never doubt during the victory what God has taught you during the battle. Beware of overconfindence. This is why Jesus said “watch and pray”. Keep your eyes open! Put no confidence in the flesh, no matter how good you feel. Most of our losses don’t take place during the battle; they take place after the victory.

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