Let me make this disclaimer straight out of the gate: The words that follow are not a political post. I’ve got convictions and beliefs that influence my vote, and I think Christians should be involved in politics. We need Christ-followers serving the cities and states that make up our nation. But this post isn’t about a political party or about the Presidential election. The election did, however, get me to thinking about the subject of this post. You may be wondering, “What subject is that?” I’m glad you asked.
At the time of this writing (late Wednesday night, November 4, 2020), no one has yet been able to claim victory in our election of the next President of these United States. Both gentlemen have expressed that they feel victory is within reach. Both desire it. The goal of this election is to get to 270 electoral votes, at which point you can claim victory.
We relish victories. We cheer when our teams experience them. We pump our fist when our celebrity athlete hits the shot at the buzzer to secure it. My daughter and I swap them when we play Yahtzee. We enjoy being victorious. I doubt there’s been a child who thought, “When I grow up, I would like to be a part of a losing team. I want to lose in life! Let me be a loser!”
No. Instead, we want the victory. There’s only one problem in our quest for victory. Life is not full of victorious moments. As we move through life, we even find that there are seasons when victories are far and few between.
We wake up and realize we have a flat tire on the car, which gets us in a very non-victorious mood, which then leads us to being short and ill-tempered toward our wife and children, and we realize we aren’t going to be victorious in the husband / dad of the day category. We get to work and the items on the To Do list are way more complex than we can accomplish before we head home. No victory in the rat race today. As we go home, we encounter people who don’t know how to drive, and we use some words or make some hand gestures that are definitely not WWJDish in nature. We go to bed, having skipped the smiles at the dinner table, and having bypassed our personal time with God. The day was a waste and a total loss. We feel like we’re anything but a winner.
Maybe it’s a season of life that is frustrating. The doctor and his team have told you it’s a long road ahead, and you’re facing something that has no cure. Not many people experience a “victory” over that disease on this earth. Your situation sounds hopeless, not hopeful.
Maybe things aren’t great at home. There are fights between spouses or between parents and children that seem to have no winners at all. And now you can’t stand the thought of going home after work because you know the tense, non-victorious context that is soon to envelope you.
Sometimes life seems to drag you off the winning team and places you squarely on the losing side. We want victory, but we don’t always experience it.
If you will, allow the words of Jesus to transform you and give you a different perspective. John 16 concludes with these words from Jesus: “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
DO NOT miss the timing of this statement and the tense Jesus used. This is shortly BEFORE the cross. Jesus has yet to be betrayed. He has yet to be scourged. Though he will have nails forced through his hands and feet, that has yet to occur. Jesus makes his statement in John 16:33 BEFORE the cross.
Notice the tense he used. Had Jesus said, “I WILL overcome the world,” he would be using the future tense to tell us something that he had yet to do. But Jesus did not say, “I WILL overcome the world.” He said, “I HAVE overcome the world,” as in “I HAVE ALREADY overcome the world.” He’s using the past tense to tell us something he has already done.
Don’t miss this! Jesus declared victory over the world BEFORE the cross. He went to the cross already a victor. He headed into suffering having already won! He declared a victory before one drop of blood-sweat dripped from his brow. He deemed himself the winner before the first hammer was raised to drive a spike into his hands.
Jesus went to the cross as a victor, which could only mean one thing: he would come off the cross as a victor, he would go into an empty tomb as a victor, and he would rise from the dead, VICTORIOUS over sin, death, hell, and the grave! Jesus is the ultimate victor! And if he WAS victorious, he still IS victorious, and will always be victorious.
And here’s some great news: those who tether their lives to him also experience his victory!
Sure, you might experience a loss or two during the day, but remember that Christ has already won the victory, and in the end that victory is guaranteed! Things may look bleak from your perspective. Take heart! The victory has already been won!
You may not know what tomorrow is going to hold. If Jesus is there with us, it’s going to hold victory because he has already overcome the world. He overcame the world when he entered it, lived upon it, and resisted its sin nature.
So take heart today. The scoreboard may indicate that you’re losing. But the buzzer has yet to sound! When it does, and the space your brief life rented on this earth is done, you’ll be a victor because Christ is THE victor!
So let’s walk boldly into the days and weeks ahead, knowing that we’ll experience a setback here and there, knowing that some days will feel more like losses than wins, but knowing that God is ultimately bringing us to a place where we fully, finally, and eternally experience victory because that place of victory will point us to a PERSON who has overcome the world!