Defeated or triumphant, that is the question. It’s easy to focus on what is wrong and on the negative things in life which leaves us living a life of settling for the defeated mode. For the Christian, to live triumphantly is not a matter of forcing oneself into a positive mental attitude that may be ungrounded, rather it’s a matter of trusting God and the promises in His word. This means instead of dwelling on the ANTS – (automatic negative thoughts that come to mind), you bring your thought life into captivity to obey Christ and His word.
1 John 4:4 (ESV) — 4 Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
Here’s what His word reminds us in 1st John 4:4:
1st) We are from God. If you are a Christian, you have been chosen, purchased, and called effectually by God. The Bible uses some great theological terms like election, predestination, justification, adoption, and sanctification which all indicate the very important truth that if you love God – He loved you first. (1John 4:19) Therefore, John reminds his readers that “you are from God.”
2nd) 1John 4:4 reminds us that we are overcomers, not because we are so skilled or strong in our own strength or wisdom but “greater is He who is in you that he who is in the world.”
Who is in us, you may ask? The Holy Spirit dwells in us. The same Holy Spirit that gives us new life, who causes us to believe, who is the guarantee of our inheritance in Christ, and who, by the way, brings us the same power in life that brought Jesus up from the grave. Wow!
1 Corinthians 3:16 (ESV) — 16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?
Romans 8:9 (ESV) — 9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.
Ephesians 1:13–14 (ESV) — 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
Ephesians 1:19–20 (ESV) — 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places,
Just focusing on those two facts in 1John 4:4 will pick you up from a state of defeated to the triumphal state of “overcoming,” which is exactly where the book of Revelation takes us repeatedly.
Revelation 5:5 (ESV) — 5 And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”
Revelation 12:10–11 (ESV) — 10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. 11 And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.
Which is better – Defeated or triumphant overcoming?
“But wait!” you say, “you don’t know my circumstances. Things are really tough and it’s hard to feel triumphant when everything seems to be going wrong.”
Life can be tough, and the Bible doesn’t promise the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ an easy pathway. On the contrary, Jesus said the pathway of following Him is filled with hardships, and He even described it as much tribulation. The difference however, is His promised presence through the Holy Spirit so you are not alone, the knowledge that He is in complete control so He has a purpose for you in the difficulties of life, and He has promised a glorious future that is so good it is beyond compare.
Matthew 7:13–14 (ESV) — 13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
John 16:33 (ESV) — 33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
Hebrews 13:5–6 (ESV) — 5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 6 So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”
Romans 8:18 (ESV) — 18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
1 Corinthians 2:9 (ESV) — 9 But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”—
Here’s my challenge. Read through this article again and meditate upon each of the scripture passages. Then consider the difficulty you are facing that causes you to feel defeated and put it up against the word of God. Which one wins? It’s best to dwell on God’s word and live triumphantly as an overcomer than to allow the world and all that is in the world to rob you by keeping you in the pit of “defeated.”
How’s your attitude?