Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Win by Losing?

And Jesus called out with a loud voice, "Father, into Your hands I entrust My spirit". Saying this, He breathed His last. When the centurion saw what happened, he began to glorify God, saying, "This man really was righteous!".  Luke 23:46-47

The war was over, and the combatants met to sign the documents of peace.  The man in blue was the victor, and the man in gray was the vanquished.  Robert E. Lee was never again to lead an army or organize the forces of war. His days on the battlefield were over.  His men had fought valiantly and lost, and it was his duty to relinquish his command and submit to the Northern Army.
General Lee could have easily been so discouraged and broken that his life would have lost its purpose and joy.  But with shoulders square and head held high, he lived the rest of his life as he had lived before - a Christian gentleman.  He surrendered his sword at Appomattox, but in memory he is respected and admired today as a man of honor, integrity, and courage.  In the hour of defeat, he was not defeated.
Commander William Travis was a great commander, too.  He breathed his last in the blood and dust of the Alamo. There he and an illustrious group of fighters fought and died.  The last battle was lost.  Their comrades died, and the flags which flew at the end of the battle were not their flags.  But today their names are written in bold letters across the pages of legend and history.  Their greatest hour was the hour of apparent defeat.
On a hill beyond the grim walls of Jerusalem men stood looking at their adversary.  Matthew records the events: In the same way the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked Him and said, "He saved others, but He cannot save Himself! He is the King of Israel! Let Him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in Him. He has put His trust in God; let God rescue Him now--if He wants Him! For He said, 'I am God's Son.'"  Matthew 27:41-43  It was a moment of triumph for them and the hour of death for Him.  Satisfaction filled their hearts at the thought that at last the troublemaker was defeated.  But the hour of seeming defeat for the Son of man was, in reality, the hour of triumph for the Son of God.  Jesus said, Haven't you read this Scripture: The stone that the builders rejected--this has become the cornerstone.  Mark 12:10
It is hard when we lose battles in our lives.  Defeat is not a pleasant feeling for anyone.  Failure, however, is not final!  There are many who never move beyond the past losses in their lives.  They are individuals with labels such as divorced, fired, rejected, or losers.  They live out the remainder of their lives in defeat.  Some individuals cannot separate what they do or have done from who they are. 
Jesus came out of the grave and reigns victorious over death.  We can also rise up from the times of defeat and loss in our lives by leaving the loss behind and stepping out in faith to conquer the next mountain in our path.  What we learn from the loss may be the very thing we needed to know to find victory in the years ahead.  So throw off the negative labels, and claim the victory in your life that God brings to each of His children.
Scripture to Claim:

Therefore since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of God's throne. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

Devotional Archive