Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Sweet Victory in Jesus

           I remember like it was yesterday. 

          The day dawned when I said, “enough.” I was tired of feeling defeated by the enemy. Weary from serving the Lord with an underlying sense of timidity. I felt the fatigue of insecurity and self-doubt.

            I wasn’t always this way, I recalled. Once I walked with confidence and assurance in the Lord, resisting the enemy like it was no big deal. Maybe my encounters with him were less significant back then, or perhaps I felt more certain of who I was in Christ. Either way, it seemed, somehow, that in recent years of following the Lord my battles were bigger and my victories were smaller.
            Then that day came and I asked, “Why?” God isn’t less powerful. He promised He’d never abandon me. So why do I feel like I’m less effective for the Kingdom than I did as a new believer?
            The answer came, at last, through prayer: I’d allowed the enemy to camp out inside my head. I succumbed to the temptation to listen to his lies. I believed him when he said I was unworthy and insignificant. I partnered with the fear he introduced and embraced the insecurity he fueled. And here’s the tricky part. It was as if I’d settled into the comfortable sofa of his lies. If I believed them and considered myself incompetent, then there was no need to work so hard. If my efforts were futile as the enemy said, then why should I walk in obedience? My striving didn’t matter anyway. As I became comfortable in defeat I began to walk in my own strength and not the Lord’s. This proved ineffective, gave credence to the lies, and made me even more comfy on that sofa. It was a vicious and paralyzing cycle.

When Truth Reigns

            Truth emerged as it always does. It wasn’t an overnight process. It took time and is still a work in progress, but the fact is - the truth set me free. The Holy Spirit reminded me that I am His. By the truth of God’s Word, He broke the stronghold and I knew I needed to get off the couch.

            In Christ we have victory. He promises it, and what He promises, He delivers. If you have a few minutes, check out these verses for an added dose of divine encouragement:
            Gen 50:20                              1 Cor 15:57
            Ps 18:35                                 2 Cor 2:14
            Isaiah 41:10-14                      2 Cor 4:7-12
            Romans 8:28

What's Next?  

           Today kicks off a new blog series: Victory in Jesus. We’ll examine victory from a few different angles and uncover ways to embrace it when it might not seem obvious. I’m eager to share what I trust will be a hug from God to your spirit, dear one. I pray what you read over the coming weeks will prove refreshing nourishment to your souls which may be weary as mine was.  I have petitioned the Lord and asked that this blog series might provide refreshing rest and spur unhindered joy for you.

First things First            

          But there’s something we need to talk about first. Salvation. Victory in Christ doesn’t come to those who have not acknowledged Him as Savior. Surrendering to Jesus and giving Him our hearts must come first. Below, I share a piece I authored on the plan of salvation.  It’s the foundational element to finding victory, joy, hope, and peace. The Bible says that through Christ we can do all things. What follows describes how to invite Christ to lead us - by His grace - through life that certainly gets complicated.

            You might think, “Yeah, I already know all that,” and choose to skip the rest of this post, but may I encourage you to read it anyway? It might give you a new way to explain the Gospel to someone you meet today. What if what you read is precisely what they need to hear? It’s worth a few minutes of your time, wouldn’t you agree?

God’s Plan of Salvation

How do we find our purpose in life? This is a commonly asked and profound question. When we discover what life is all about, we begin to understand the connection between God, us as His children, and eternity.

The Bible—the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments—is God’s infallible Word written by authors who were uniquely and fully inspired by God Himself (2 Tim. 3:16). The Bible is inerrant in the original manuscripts (Ps. 12:6) and reflects the backgrounds, styles, and vocabularies of the human authors. It is the supreme and final authority in all matters of faith, conduct, and doctrine.[1]
Since all Scripture is inspired by God, when the Bible teaches that God created the heavens and the earth and everything in them, we trust that as truth. 

When Sin Entered the World

We also learn through the Scriptures that creation was very good (Gen. 1:31). At creation, humans lived in harmony with God and one another. But the evil one tempted Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, and the two fell into sin by doing what God specifically told them not to do (Gen. 3:1–6). Because of God’s holy nature, it is impossible for Him to dwell in the presence of or overlook sin.

What is Holy?

Exodus 15:11 reveals God’s majestic holiness: “Who is like You among the gods, O Lord? Who is like You, majestic in holiness, awesome in praises, working wonders?” The term holy means set apart or separated,[2] meaning that God is completely set apart from evil. Because He is holy, God hates sin and must judge it. Only by a covering of blood can God continue to fellowship with sinful people.

There in the garden of Eden, God provided the first blood offering to atone for the sins of Adam and Eve, making garments of skin to clothe them. He then sent them out from the garden of Eden (Gen. 3:21–23). Throughout generations, people turned away from God and went their own way. 

Fellowship with God was broken. Because of Adam’s sin, all people are born with a sinful nature. Romans 3:23 tells us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Beginning in Exodus 25, the Lord established an elaborate, perfectly ordered plan so that He could dwell among people. This plan consisted of the Tabernacle, which was constructed in the wilderness to precise specifications given to Moses by God along with a system of sacrifices to atone for the sin and disobedience of the people.

God's Answer

Even there in the wilderness, the Lord knew that this was not the complete answer. When the time had come, and because of God’s unwavering love for us, He sent His son, Jesus Christ, to come into the world as a man and give His life for our sins (John 3:16). The tremendous cost of our sins is death and eternal separation from God. But God provided the immeasurable gift of eternal life with Him through Christ Jesus our Lord (see Rom. 6:23).

Even while we were sinners, Jesus Himself, the one and only Son of God, accepted the punishment that we deserve and laid down His life as the ultimate blood sacrifice. He was buried in a tomb but rose again on the third day, confirming His work on the cross and establishing His power over death.

Jesus paid the price for all our wrongdoing. The work on the cross is finished. But we must accept the gift He provided. We must respond to His sacrifice. The words of Jesus in Mark 1:15 tell us how to respond: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” To repent (metanoeō in the Greek) means to change one’s mind; it involves turning with regret from sin to embrace God’s divine forgiveness.[3] To believe (Greek pisteuō) means to commit ourselves to Jesus and trust that He has removed our guilt and shame.[4] He has freed us from the penalty of wrongs and provided a way for eternal life with Him.

The Bible says that “if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation” (Rom 10:9–10). When we believe in Jesus, we will not be disappointed (Rom. 10:11). Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (Rom. 10:13).

Next Steps

If you are not trusting in the Lord, will you stop right now and turn from your sin? Turn from your prior thinking and believe in Christ, the only One who can provide freedom from sin and eternal life with Him. What follows is a simple prayer that you can pray to God. These words themselves will not save you—they must come from a heart of faith and trust.

Jesus, I acknowledge that I am a sinner and believe that you took the punishment that I deserve. I trust today, through faith, that I am forgiven by the work that you accomplished on the cross for me. I place my trust in you alone for salvation and eternal life in Heaven with you. Thank you for your generous grace and forgiveness. Help me continue to grow closer to you. I pray this in Jesus’s name. Amen.

If you genuinely prayed this (or a similar) prayer today or at some other point in your life, then you find yourself at an awesome place to live with great intentionality and God-given victory.

Will you let me know if you prayed this for the first time today or if you have renewed your commitment to live for Jesus Christ? I am deeply honored to pray for you in your journey. God created us with hearts for connection and community. Together we can enjoy immense victory in Jesus.  

Your Turn:

When might you have felt weary and ineffective in your walk with Christ?
Do you believe you’ve listened to the lies of the enemy and accepted them as truth?
Would you like to talk more about this?  Email me. I’d love to connect and pray I can offer more encouragement to you.

Continue the conversation by leaving a comment below or on Facebook or Twitter. You can see more of our posts on Pinterest or www.StrengthenedByTheWord.com

Be Strengthened Today, By His Word,
Psalm 119:28


Cathy McIntosh is the author of Victorious: Finding Triumph When Hope Seems Lost. When you can’t see God’s activity in your situation, you might begin to feel hopeless. You’re tempted to doubt His care and involvement in your life because He feels so . . . absent. Victory feels elusive as if God intends it for everyone but you.

But God is never absent. He is as involved in your life today as He was when He protected Queen Esther and the entire Jewish nation from annihilation, and He will bring victory.  Click here to purchase.


[1] Purpose Church Statement of Faith, September 2015.
[2] "H6944 - qodesh - Strong's Hebrew Lexicon (KJV)." Blue Letter Bible. Accessed 1 Oct, 2016. https://www.blueletterbible.org//lang/Lexicon/Lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H6944&t=KJV.
[3] "G3340 - metanoeō - Strong's Greek Lexicon (KJV)." Blue Letter Bible. Accessed 1 Oct, 2016. https://www.blueletterbible.org//lang/Lexicon/Lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G3340&t=KJV.
[4] "G4100 - pisteuō - Strong's Greek Lexicon (KJV)." Blue Letter Bible. Accessed 1 Oct, 2016. https://www.blueletterbible.org//lang/Lexicon/Lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G4100&t=KJV.


  1. Wow Cathy, this is such an truth filled message FULL of great wisdom and important insights to share with those who do not know the Lord, His Plan, and the hope in salvation.

    Thank you for all the scripture you referenced and for outlining it for us to use as a resource for both our own faith and sharing it with others.

    I have had my share of drought and desserts with my walk with the Lord. I'm so grateful to rest in the assurance that the battle is already won in Christ. And I've learned that my hope always lies in this victory and I rest in that during those difficult times of despair.

    1. Thank you, Chris. I've found that we can never hear the salvation message too many times and can use it to bless others and introduce them to our Savior.

      You're exactly right - our hope is in HIS victory and He alone can carry us through those deep valleys.

      Be blessed and embrace God's best today. <3

  2. "The answer came, at last, through prayer: I’d allowed the enemy to camp out inside my head. I succumbed to the temptation to listen to his lies."

    This is a powerful statement! I'm praying for you as you continue this month's theme.

    1. Thanks so very much, Lauren. I deeply appreciate your prayers and encouragement. <3