Dr. Jackie Minor
Living Victoriously: What does it REALLY mean?
I’ve been thinking a great deal lately about the concept of “victory.” I’m not sure why. Maybe it is because we just finished our third “Victory Week” in our Victorious Educators’ Facebook group. It was a fun time to engage with each other on the topic of vacation time! However, I have to wonder…is there more to my preoccupation with “victory?” Is the Holy Spirit trying to teach me something? Why does the question— What does it really mean to live victoriously?—continue to pierce my innermost thoughts?
As I meditated on this question, the answer landed where you would expect—on spiritual disciplines such as prayer, Bible study, obedience, and service. Obedience in these areas will definitely lead to big victories, but for some reason, the question kept resurfacing. I just couldn’t let it go. What does it really mean to live victoriously?
I wanted to dig deeper because I feel so many believers today (me included) don’t live in victory. In fact, I’m not sure I think enough about what it means to LIVE in victory. When I consider “victory” in a spiritual sense, my first thought goes to the cross. Jesus was victorious over death so you and I could spend eternity with Him.
“Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:55-57
When we accept Jesus as your Savior, we share in His victory, and we never have to live in defeat again. So why do we? What does victory mean for us day in and day out? Do we really grasp what it is to live victoriously? I’m not sure I do, especially when life throws me a curve ball. But this one thing I do know. Jesus didn’t go to the cross so I could spend my days feeling defeated. Just the opposite is true. He clearly stated in John 10:10, “I came so they could have life and have it in abundance.” I’m beginning to speculate our definition of victory may be a bit skewed. I fear we may be missing out—not recognizing—the victories occurring all around us every day.
We live in such a competitive culture, one that puts a high value on winning. However, living a victorious Christian life isn’t a competition. It isn’t about winning and losing. It isn’t about having more or being better than someone else. In fact, I would contend living victoriously may be more about Jesus than it is us! Why? Because without Jesus, victory is unobtainable. Let’s head back to John 10:10.
“The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows].” (AMP)
When I read this passage, it makes me angry at our greatest enemy. He has stolen so much from us and those we love! Defeat is not from God. It is time we quit letting Satan steal our victories. What does it really mean to live victoriously?
· Be firm in your faith. 1 Peter 5:8
· Be alert and cautious. Prepare your mind for action. 1 Peter 5:9, 1 Peter 1:13
· Be obedient. 1 Peter 5:14
The victorious Christian life is the life that is lived by faith in a moment-by-moment surrender to God. Yes, we have to be intentional. We have to work at it. It reminds me of my college years playing tennis. Our daily practices were full of completing drills, serving baskets of balls, and conditioning. Just surviving practice was a victory! But you know what? The little victories added up, strengthened us, and prepared us for competition. We didn’t always win, but we were still victorious because were growing and improving. We always celebrated our progress and, as a result, considered ourselves winners!
We won’t always get it right in this life, but thank goodness God doesn’t expect perfection from us. God is a God of blessing. Because of Him we can celebrate victories every single day!
I want to encourage you to STOP and REFLECT on the victories in your life. I strongly believe we have many victories that go unnoticed. Where are you growing and improving? How is God answering your prayers? Who is God sending into your life? How is God providing? How are you overcoming temptation? How are you persevering? What brings you joy?
What does it really mean to live victoriously? Here’s a list to get you started. Let’s claim our victories!
· Remembering to check in on a colleague that is struggling.
· Resisting the tendency to become offended when someone falsely accuses us.
· Striving to understand and resolve potential conflicts with others.
· Exercising daily and getting rest (i.e., taking care of our temple).
· Apologizing when we have hurt someone or responded inappropriately.
· Refraining from posting negative comments on social media.
· Refusing to engage in gossip.
· Focusing on the best in others.
· Seeking the best for others.
· Increasing time in prayer and Bible study.
There are so many other victories I could list, but I chose these because we may not typically see them as victories (except the last one). THEY ARE! Let’s pay attention to our victories – big AND small. Declaring our victories protects us from living defeated lives and reminds us we are more than conquerors!
For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 1 John 5:4
Living Victoriously: What does it really mean for you?