Every Battle has a victor and a loser. Thought we don’t like the thought of it, it is certain we will lose some Battles. I know I’ve lost plenty. In moments of defeat, I struggled with guilt, shame, feeling I wasn’t good enough for God, wondering how He could still love me. There have even been times I thought about giving up. Wish I had known the TRUTH of the Scripture below.
How Jesus taught us to respond to defeat is in direct opposition to what mainstream Christianity teaches. Jesus does not want us to give up, to stop serving, to spend weeks, months or years contemplating our error. What did Jesus say about defeat?
Luke 22:31-34 "And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and WHEN YOU HAVE RETURNED TO ME, STRENGTHEN YOUR BRETHREN.” 33 But he (Peter) said to Him, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.” 34 Then He said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me.”
SATAN WANTS TO SIFT US LIKE WHEAT
So many Christians think that after you’re saved it is a “cake walk.” How many of you have heard that phrase? I’ve learned over the years that is a lie of the Enemy. The Enemy wants you to believe that once you’ve prayed the Sinner’s Prayer and have Jesus; there’s nothing else to worry about. This might not make any sense to you. The Enemy ONLY wants to “steal, kill and destroy” anything and everything associated with you and God. The Enemy’s “game plan” is to push you down, stress you out, distract you from reading, studying, and hiding God’s Word in your heart, keep you from putting God first in your life, discourage you, grind you like wheat! He wants to render you ineffective in God’s Army and, ultimately, he wants you to give up. He incessantly engages you in Battles that the majority of us don’t even recognize we’re on the Battlefield!
If you aren’t aware you’re under attack,
you will be defeated!
Recognize it * Assess it * Take Authority
F I G H T !
Revelation 12:10 "And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, 'Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.'”
You think that Satan doesn’t give us the time of day now that we’re saved. . . really? In fact, he stands before God DAY AND NIGHT accusing US. The more we learn about the Battle we are in, the more we understand how relentless the Enemy's attacks really are.
THE HOLY SPIRIT IS PRAYING FOR YOU
We are not left standing alone while we are being attacked. God knows what we did 40 years ago and what we will do 10 years from now. He knows it ALL -- omniscient. Jesus knew Peter would fail Him, yet Jesus GAVE PETER ASSURANCE that He had already prayed that Peter’s faith would not fail him. In other words:
Failure in Battle should
not equal Losing Faith
SOMETIMES YOU WILL FAIL
Peter was stunned that Jesus would think he would ever fail Him. After all, Peter was totally “sold out.” He assured Jesus that he was in it for the “long haul.” If Jesus ended up in prison or was put to death, he vowed to follow Him wherever and however. We feel that way too. Jesus knew Peter was going to fail just as we will fail. Jesus knows when we will fail and the circumstances surrounding our failure. Jesus never gives up on us! He loves and prays for us regardless.
JESUS DOES NOT WANT US TO QUIT WHEN WE FAIL
Jesus knew what Peter was about to go through. He knew Peter loved him and had a heart to follow Him. Jesus also knew that Peter, in his humanness, would deny him 3 times. Knowing full well that Peter would fail, Jesus gave Peter something valuable—a “HOW TO DEAL WITH DEFEAT” speech. That speech is for ALL of us. If you’re like me, you’ve read this passage and heard it preached several times over the years. This TRUTH just recently jumped out at me. If you get nothing else – get this:
1) WHAT JESUS DOES NOT WANT US TO DO AFTER DEFEAT (FAILURE)
He does not want us to rend our clothes, put on sackcloth, and fast for days. He doesn’t want us to take 6 months out of service to contemplate, ruminate and do penance for our sin.
2) WHAT JESUS WANTS US TO DO AFTER DEFEAT
Jesus said to Peter, “When you have returned to Me….” When we sin, Jesus wants us to get up off the Battlefield, brush ourselves off, and RETURN TO HIM. Indeed, returning to Him undoubtedly includes sincere repentance, for how else would we return to a Holy God? There’s more! Jesus continues, “strengthen your brethren.” Share your Battle experience with your brothers/sisters so they may be strengthened. We go through similar Battles Warriors, so it makes perfect sense that sharing our experiences with our brethren would teach and encourage them. What a concept! Yes, Jesus said that!!
Side note: It’s sad that church leadership goes directly against God’s Word by demanding Christians who have sinned (and we all do), and are repentant be taken out of service for a prescribed time. Some even make a public display out of it. I can only surmise the reason is control (which is totally against even the character of God). God doesn’t control us – doesn’t force us to do anything. He wants obedience and submission out of LOVE and He allows us to choose. God’s Word confirms that when we ask God for forgiveness, He takes away our sin (immediately) as far as east is from the west and He remembers it NO MORE (Psalm 103:12, Isaiah 43:25; Hebrews 8:12). We’re not forgiven by God in a prescribed time or by satisfying human edicts. We are to get up and PRESS ON!
God's desire is that we return to Him, repent, and share our experience with our Brothers and Sisters, which will strengthen and encourage them. AMEN!!!!
This, my beloved Warriors, is the beginning of Spiritual Warfare. We are “DEEP in it” -- BATTLE -- every day 24 hours a day. We are Warriors in God’s Army!!
To be good Warriors, we must know our Enemy, his tactics and his schemes. We must know God’s Word. It is our Helmet of Salvation, the Sword of the Spirit, the Shield of Faith . . . our weapons of Spiritual Warfare that aid us in overcoming the Enemy. We need to understand the importance of being covered with the full Armor of God and fighting our Battles with every advantage God has given. Churches don’t teach much about Spiritual Warfare. Fighting Battles is what we DO EVERY DAY. When we get upset at other people thinking about how they’ve wronged us or upset us in some way – it’s ALL ABOUT THE ENEMY. Satan engages us in Battle when we are unaware and:
You won’t be victorious in Battle if you aren’t aware you’re under attack!!
That is why it is of the utmost importance to know about the Battle, the Battlefield, the Enemy, Our Leader in Battle (the Living Word of God), the Spiritual arsenal of weapons at our disposal, and how to handle defeat.
LET’S GET BATTLE READY!