DayBreaks for 11/20/14 – Where is the Victory?
The famous American editor, Horace Greeley, once told of receiving a letter from a woman who wrote: “Our church is in dire financial straits. We’ve tried everything to keep it going: a strawberry festival, an oyster supper, a donkey party, a turkey dinner, and, finally, a box social. Will you please tells us, Dr. Greeley, how to keep a struggling church from disbanding?” Dr. Greeley wrote back to her a message in two words: “Try Christianity!”
There are many in our world (and country) today who rail against Christianity, claiming that it has been the source of untold misery in the past 20 centuries. I don’t agree with them in this regard: it was Christians (or so-called Christians) who caused the misery of the Crusades, etc., but that was not Christianity. Unfortunately, Christianity is not practiced by perfect people.
But what did Mr. Greeley mean when he said, “Try Christianity!” Look at it in this way. The ancient world failed to help men and women meet the problem of life, because, although their wise men could teach, they could not supply the power to put it into practice. The Old Testament prophets could explain the Law of Moses, but were unable to provide the power needed to fulfill it. Then, into the midst of the ages, came this man Jesus and, before the wondering eyes of men and women, he declared, I am the way, the truth, and the life. These people saw truth coming alive in his amazing personality; and, when his enemies finally killed him and he ascended back to the Father, his great Spirit was liberated to be wherever needy souls cried out for him. In all the ages since, for all those who have received him as the bread of life by committing their lives to him, he has brought power over their every weakness, victory over every failure, and conduct and character that have made the world a better place in which to live.
But is that the reality of your experience? Do you find power over every one of your weaknesses, or victory over every failure? I don’t. Maybe I’m the only one, but I am quite sure I am not! If find myself more aware of my feebleness and failings every day as I grow older. I find that victory over my temptations and failure is not all that easy – if in fact, I manage to experience it at all. So where is this power and this victory?
I think that as Christians, having victory over every failure and power over every weakness doesn’t at all mean that we won’t fail or fall through our weaknesses, nor does it mean that we will experience that in reality. I suspect that what it really means is that victory and power isn’t ours at all nor was it meant to be ours…that it is purely, simply this: that Christ has already defeated that sin and paid for it…and the victory we have is His victory extended through grace to us! I, for one, have pretty much given up on the idea of experiencing victory over my temptations as long as my lungs suck earthly air. That’s not to say that I haven’t experienced some level of diminishing temptation or that some temptations no longer plague me. But there is a part of me – a stubborn, tenacious, fleshly part of me – that knows I will not have the full victory in this life.
How grateful I am that on the day I die that I don’t have to be perfect, but can rest in the knowledge that His grace, His power, His mercy…and most of all, HIS victory count for me, and that His forgiveness is perfectly full and complete!
PRAYER: Lord, if not for your great victory, we are all defeated! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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