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38 – How Do You Overcome Defeat?
Defeat is never fun. It can bring a host of emotional baggage with it, weighing us down, demoralizing us so much that we doubt our ability to do anything. So how do we keep defeat from undermining us? By seeing it through the eyes of faith. And how do we do that? Get ready to find out!
We need defeat, apparent or real, for God to bring about victory.
Apparent defeats in the Bible:
Exodus, chapter 5
Moses’s first conversation with Pharaoh leads to Pharaoh’s angry order that the Israelites must now produce bricks without being given straw. They’ll have to work far harder and find straw themselves. But ultimately God wanted to lead them out of slavery through a larger, more glorious victory.
Daniel, chapter 3
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are thrown into a blazing furnace when they refuse to worship Nebuchadnezzar’s statue. Yet in this apparent defeat, the men are rescued. God’s victory is so complete that there isn’t even a sign of scorching on their clothes or the smell of fire on them.
What does this say to us about how to react in the face of seeming defeat?
- We want to be different from the world around us.
What is the reaction of the world?
- To exercise doubt, despair, and frustration
- To build the anger and “victim” muscles
- To let trust grow flabby and weak
What is the reaction of faith?
- Exercise trust and patience
- Build the suffering servant muscles
- Build the endurance and perseverance muscles
- Let words of truth grow strong and powerful.
What if we start to react in the world’s way?
STOP. The second you realize it, stop. Turn around. Focus on God.
The more you do this, the more you train yourself—and your faith—to respond in faith. To lean into God and trust Him with the outcome.
Reacting is an instinct. Responding is a choice. A deliberate action. We want to train ourselves to respond.
Does this mean every defeat you face in the world will be turned to victory? Yes, but the timing is in God’s hands. The question isn’t if you’ll see the victory pulled from defeat, but if you will let God use these opportunities to strengthen you and your faith.
“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.” 2 Corinthians 2:14
We want to hear from you!
What are some ways God has brought you victory through apparent defeat?
Defeat doesn’t have to defeat you!
Thanks for this post! Funny, I learned this lesson early as a pastor but never applied it to my work as a writer. As I was listening to your teaching, I thought of Matthew West’s song, “Mended.” I feel like writing right now!
Wow, Michael, that’s a powerful song. I’m going to add it to our encouragement videos. Thanks for sharing that! And keep writing. : )
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