HOW TO DEFEAT DEFEAT

Dear Friends,

During my walk with the Lord, He has made many changes in my life.  Things that used to cause me to struggle, now the Lord has given me victory.  But there are still things that seem to trip me up.  For instance, traffic really challenges me.  I can easily get frustrated with other drivers.  Often, I give Kathy a running commentary on other drivers…almost as if I were commentating a sporting event.  I can feel anxious and frustrated, even angry.  I would like to have victory over this area that often makes me feel defeated.

Are there areas in your life where you continually struggle?  Is there some challenge that you have tried to overcome, but continue to experience failure?

Welcome to the club!  All of us have areas in our lives that we would like to improve.  Many of us are hard-wired to struggle with certain issues.

But there is also good news…the Lord has provided the tools for us to defeat defeat…if we will learn how to use them.  So here are:

7 STEPS TO DEFEAT DEFEAT…

Step 1:  Forget the Past.  One of the best tools our enemy uses is to remind us of our past defeats.  He uses this to make us give up.  If we are going to defeat defeat we will need to forget the past and start again anew.

Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, (Philippians 3:13, NKJV) 

How is the past keeping you from working on the change you know you want to make?

Step 2:  Hide God’s Word in Your Heart.  We underestimate the power of memorizing and using God’s word.  If we will internalize God’s word to the point of hiding it in our heart, the Holy Spirit will hand us a sword (the word of God) to use as a weapon against the enemy when we are attacked.

I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:11, NLT)

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword…It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” (Hebrews 4:12, NLT)

Our minds must be reprogrammed to change the way we think.  This is done through God’s word.

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.” (Romans 12:2, NLT)

What Scriptures come to mind that relate to the change you would like to make?

Step 3:  Make a Covenant with God to Change.  We must be very clear and decisive with what we want to change.  What exactly do you want to defeat?  What does victory look like?  How will you feel when this area of defeat is defeated?

I made a covenant with my eyes not to look with lust upon a young woman.” (Job 31:1, NLT)

To make this commitment…

(a)  Specifically define what you desire to do.

(b)  Define what usually happens when you are being tempted.  What are you feeling?  What are you thinking?  When are you most likely to fail?  What is going on in your heart immediately before you fail?  Get specific.  Understanding this thinking / feeling process will be very important for you to use as an alert when you’re most vulnerable.  Whenever you begin to feel or think in the way that usually leads to failure, it will be your warning sign to enact “Step 4” (see below).

(c)  Create a boundary of protection around you.  When you know what you want to accomplish you can determine an area far away from the behavior you want to avoid.  Long before you actually succumb to the temptation you will have set a boundary on your thinking, feeling and actions.

Step 4:  Recognize what it feels like to yield to the Holy Spirit.  Many Christians are unaware of what it “feels” like to be under the Holy Spirit’s control.  This is not subjective.  At any moment of time you are either under the Spirit’s control or you are not.  If you are under His control you will be experiencing love and joy and peace and patience…etc.  If you are not experiencing this at any moment you have not yet given Him control.

“…let the Holy Spirit fill and control you. (Ephesians 5:18a, NLT)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. ” (Galatians 5:22-23a, NIV)

Step 5:  Look for Victory Today.  It may seem hopeless to think that you will never again, ever experience defeat in this area.  But you should be able to picture that you could have victory today!

So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (Matthew 6:34, NLT)

Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11, NKJV)

Step 6:  Begin a Streak.  If you can have victory for one day, then maybe you can string two days together, then three and so on.  Pretty soon you will have a streak going…similar to a batter on a hitting streak in baseball.  If you have a day when you get defeated, simply begin a new streak.

I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14, NKJV).

Step 7:  Praise God for the Victory.  When the Lord gives you victory for a day, give Him thanks.  Jesus healed 10 men with leprosy, but only one returned to thank Him.  Jesus asked, “But where are the other nine?”  Don’t forget to give God thanks for the victory He is giving you.

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:57, NKJV). 

God has given us tools to defeat defeat, but we must use them in order to have victory.  I have used these steps in my life and I know they work.

How would your life change if you were able to defeat defeat?

Onward in victory,
Pastor Gary