If you are constantly frustrated by your inability to overcome bad habits and to resist reoccurring temptations by your good resolutions, you would probably like to achieve a dependable victory over your addictions. If you are daily consuming more drugs and other concoctions to overcome your moods of depression or loneliness or worry, then you would probably like to achieve a dependable victory from a feeling of gloom in your life. If you are regularly engaged in spurts of buying to get more things to make you more comfortable in spite of the increasing debt that they impose on your life and that of your family, then you are probably seeking a victory over your greedy impulses and selfish desires. If you are living with a sense of personal fear from the real or imagined threats to your personal safety from conditions in your neighborhood or place of work or school or even in your home or national enemies, then you are probably looking for a source of courage and strength that can give you a victory of peace over these fears. If you are regularly disappointed in those who have pledged their “love” and friendly support to you, then you are probably looking for the perfect companion with whom you can have a direct relationship that will give you a victory of personal union with someone who is worthy of your trust.
The solution to your problems
According to the words of the familiar Christian hymn, “Faith Is the Victory”, “Faith is the victory…That overcomes the world”. These words are connected to the text of Scripture in 1 John that indicates that “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:1-5). The message of this text is also affirmed by one in 1 Peter where he exhorts his readers to “Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the god of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you” (1 Peter 5:5-10).
Victories over the various addictions and moods and unproductive impulses and fears and disappointments that are cited above will not be achieved just by seeking them, but they will only be experienced by a daily giving of each of them to God in a sincere expression of your faith that Jesus is “the Son of God” and that God cares for you and that he alone is able to give you a real personal victory over each of them in your daily life. In any moment when you are confronted by such negative threats to your sense of wellbeing and peace in your relationship with God, you must just directly give them to him for him to handle and stop any personal efforts to deal with them in accord with your own abilities. Personal pride in your abilities or wisdom to handle such problems will be the devil’s effort to distract you from the victorious blessing that God is willing to give to you as you express your faith in him. Feelings of bitterness and jealousy regarding the blessings that other Christians are apparently receiving will hamper your humble relationship of faith with God who is the only one who is loving enough and wise enough to know what is specifically good for you in your situation at this time in your life. In your prayers for victory over these problems, don’t tell God exactly what you want him to do, but just give him your problem and trust him to handle it in accord with his loving will and wise timing for his ongoing transforming work in your life.
Our daily lives are commonly disturbed by problems from addictions, bad and destructive feelings, unproductive impulses, fears, or disappointments, so we have a constant need for a victory over such enemies of our sense of peace and wellbeing. According to the apostle John, the best way to “overcome” these worldly enemies is by “faith” (1 John 5:4). The apostle Peter adds to these words of encouragement by indicating that such problems of our “anxieties” (1 Peter 5:7) come from “the devil” (vs. 8), and when we “resist him” and stand “firm” in our “faith” (vs. 9), “that Jesus is the Son of God” as John declares in his teaching (1 John 5:5), “the God of all grace” will “restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish” us (1 Peter 5:10). So, because of our “faith” in Jesus, God gives us victories over these disturbing problems and anxieties that come from “the devil” in our daily lives in this world. Paul in his encouraging letter to the Philippians gives them and us this instruction: “The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:5-7). This is a victory that is really good.
Scripture quotations are from the ESV Study Bible English Standard Version. (ESV®), copyright © 2008 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved.