There is a popular misconception that occurs within Christianity: Once I accept Christ, all will go well with me. However, as soon as we say “yes” to Christ, we are almost immediately hit with the reality that things can (and will) still continue to go wrong. With each misfortune, we are faced with the opportunity to fall into a pit of defeat. Though we pray for God to take away the issues at hand, we still might feel a sense of frustration, weariness, and internal struggle. Even when things are going right, we live awaiting the next mishap to occur.
Many Christians have accepted a perspective of defeat over one of victory!
The truth is, God wants us to walk in overwhelming victory and know that without a doubt that He is fighting our battles for us. Yet, there may be things we are allowing in our lives that are robbing us of the lives He desires for us to have.
With this in mind, let’s consider seven things that may be blocking your victory:
1. You have believed the lies of the enemy.
The goal of the enemy is to kill, steal, and destroy. He will do so by any means necessary. Sometimes, the killing and stealing aspects of his nature are not just physical; they are mental.
I’ve learned that the enemy gets a kick out of offering you suggestions that will cause you to believe you are unworthy, unqualified, and unloved. 2 Corinthians 2:11 reminds us that we cannot be ignorant to devices and schemes of the enemy. Instead, we must be vigilant (1 Peter 5:8) and renew our minds with God’s words over our lives (Romans 12:2).
Here’s a clue: If you have a thought that belittles you, depresses you, and speaks condemnation over you, it is not from God!
His words over your life will speak hope, love, victory, peace, and restoration. We must rebuke every thought that goes against what God has said over our lives (2 Corinthians 10:5).
2. You have a lack of faith.
Jesus spent much time concerned about the faith of His disciples. Though they had witnessed blind eyes being restored, lame men walking, and more, they still doubted. Even at a time when the disciples feared for their lives in the storm (Luke 8:25), Jesus questioned their faith.
In Matthew 9:22, it was faith that allowed the woman with the issue of blood to be healed.
“Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment.” (Matthew 9:22)
“Faith was not a buzz word for Jesus.”
Faith was not a buzz word for Jesus; it was needed to enact blessings-and it still is. When we choose to not have faith in God and His promises for our lives, we are signing up for a life of defeat. We must come to trust Him completely.
Faith means we trust even when things seem quite impossible. We can trust God, not because of who we are, but because of who He is. Your level of faith is directly connected to your ability to walk in victory.
3. You have too many toxic influences in your life.
Negative influences create a breeding ground for unsuccess. It’s been said that we are the average of those we spend our time with. In other words, if you show me your friends, I can tell you a lot about your character.
The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 15:33 that bad company corrupts good character. The Bible also says in Proverbs 13:20 that when we are friends with fools, we can expect harm. Though we should not get rid of all of our lifelong friends, we should start to take a self-evaluation of those we are closest to.
Do they speak hope to you?
Do they draw you back to Christ?
Do they infiltrate you with fear and doubt when you want to step into something God is calling you to?
True Godly friends will be those who uplift you in the Word and add to your life, not ones who constantly cause you emotional damage.
4. You have unforgiveness in your heart.
Bitterness and unforgiveness cause us to be overwhelmed by the wrongdoing of another. There are times when people hurt us so bad that we have no idea how we can ever move forward. However, when we walk in bitterness, we tend to constantly think about the one who has hurt us. It can be consuming to rehearse their sin towards us in our minds.
Truthfully, how can we ever be passionate about what God wants us to do if we are steadily focused on them? Biblically, God takes unforgiveness with much severity (Matthew 6:15). As one who has forgiven us for the unthinkable, He asks us to do the same.
Are we higher than God that we cannot forgive someone that He has? Does that mean we allow people to run over us? No. However, we cannot allow the sin of unforgiveness to overtake us. There are things that God wants to do in our lives, but first we have to forgive those who have hurt us and move forward.
5. You are not walking in integrity.
Integrity is doing what’s right, even when no one is looking. A lack of integrity can often be masked in “white lies” and rationalization that says, “this is my one little sin.” Yet, if we know to do right and we still do not, it is sin (James 4:17).
Integrity ranges from showing up on time to meetings to not sharing the secret you promised to keep (no matter how tempting it is to share it). The reality is there are some things that God wants to bless you with but you will need to have the character to sustain the gift.
For example: If you have been praying for a promotion, yet you are always late to work, miss deadlines, and take an extra 30 minutes for your lunch break, should you be promoted? In some cases, the person less qualified but more diligent may get the job.
Quite simply, some victories are not being lost because God doesn’t want to give it to you; they are withheld because you aren’t ready for them.
6. You are trapped in the past.
If you carry a heavy sense of guilt and shame for over your past mistakes, it is likely you are walking in a perspective of defeat. Our past often convinces us that we have unqualified ourselves for success.
We think about the times we have missed the mark, failed miserably, or hurt someone, and assume, “How could God possibly bless me?” We may even think, “If I get the opportunity, I will just blow it again.” With this mentality in place, we make a choice to not take risks or dream again. Even if God sent the perfect opportunity to our door, we will reject it because we are afraid of reliving the past.
When we get in these modes of thought, we must remind ourselves that our past mistakes are opportunities for growth. Remember, the enemy wants to convince us that we are unworthy and there is no chance for recovery. However, we can remember that:
Moses was a murderer.
David was an adulterer.
Rahab was a prostitute.
Yet, even in the midst of their past mistakes, God would use them in amazing ways.
Our past will never disqualify us for God’s best in our lives. Those moments of despair are simply stepping stones to get us to where God is calling us to be.
7. You don’t have an intimate relationship with God.
When you said “yes” to being a Christian, this was not merely an invitation into a religion. It was an open door for a life-changing relationship. God desires to spend time with you and have fellowship with you.
He wants to communicate with you on a deep level. He wants you to run to Him as your Father, friend, counselor, and advocate. It is His desire to be so close to you that every time you are overwhelmed or conflicted in your thoughts, He is your first resource.
When we have an intimate relationship with Him, He can give us insight and wisdom on how to be successful in every situation. He can give us the strategy to overcome difficult people and the loving embrace to mourn when things don’t go according to our plan.
“…it is in His presence that you will find the answer.”
This is the God we serve! He is one who wants to see you reach your fullest potential and has no intention of seeing you completely broken down in the process. It is in our quiet times and moments of worship that we can hear from a loving Father.
The truth is, if you have been struggling with defeat, it is in His presence that you will find the answer. My prayer for you is that you find hope, restoration and victory at the feet of Jesus.