As another empty screen looks back at me with its blank, intimidating stare, I feel mentally and emotionally exhausted and spiritually burdened. Like many others, I had hoped that once we got past this election, we might actually envision deliverance from this endless mountain range of uncertainties, but that was not to be. This electoral debacle has only served to make the climb steeper and more difficult.
A Haunting Question ~ At this point, we don’t know what will ultimately unfold, but much continues to be said about whether there is a “path to victory” left for our President, and if so, what does it look like, and what are the odds that he’ll achieve it? It’s a crucial question, and he’s not the only one who needs to respond to it. Given the moral degradation overwhelming us, whether there’s a path to victory left for the followers of Jesus in this anti-Christian culture is a valid question, as well, and if so, what does that kind of victory look like and how do we find it?
Victories are needed by many who feel forced by social pressure to affirm or accept the values of a hedonistic culture and need a way out. Others struggle with the fear that honestly expressing their Biblical convictions could result in hateful personal attacks and being made a target for internet trolls and speech police. A “path to victory” would be priceless for those who’re told that simply believing what God said about some aspect of human behavior could get them fired from their jobs. Some parents are desperately hoping to find a path to victory because they’re fighting a school system determined to teach their children lies about our heritage and fill their minds with empty philosophies and leftist social dogma that contradict every value they hold dear. These situations are not theoretical or hypothetical. They are real and the path to victory for them and our nation involves a choice between two roads. Jesus describe it like this:
Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. Matthew 7:13-14 (NKJV)
Later, He went on to clarify exactly how “narrow” the entrance to that path to victory is:
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. John 14:6 (NKJV)
A Role in the Cause and the Cure ~ Our nation has been in a state of spiritual decline for decades, and the current moral and ethical dilemma is the result of the failure of Jesus’ followers to carry out the mission He sent us to fulfill. It is our tendency to sinful disobedience, addiction to self indulgence, and spiritual apathy that have greased the skids and allowed our nation to slip into the moral and ethical swamp we’re wallowing in now. But the other truth is that, paradoxically, we’re also the ones God has sent to lead the way out of it. The path to victory begins with each of us accepting our responsibility, repenting of our sins, and restoring our allegiance to the only One who can overcome the challenges we face. Here are some basic principles we must remember and apply . . .
Victory begins with an unconditional surrender. It may seem counterintuitive to our way of thinking to suggest that, but God doesn’t think like we do. When we accept Jesus as our personal Savior, we’re also surrendering to His judgment and accepting Him as our standard for moral and ethical conduct. That means that God’s Word is the ultimate authority in determining right vs. wrong. We can no longer allow the popular culture’s godless entertainers, secular academics, and corrupt bureaucrats to tell us what to think and how to behave. We become the slaves of whomever or whatever we choose to obey. Paul said it clearly:
Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? Romans 6:16 (NKJV)
A Powerful Assistant ~ Jesus said the road to victory is difficult, but it’s not a journey He leaves us to travel alone. Confronting and pushing back against a spiritually rebellious culture and being instruments of change is a daunting assignment, but God didn’t expect us to do it without help. When Jesus left this world, He sent the Holy Spirit, that divine extension of His very presence, to indwell every one of us. To think we can expect personal or national transformation without Him is ludicrous. He is the One who gives us understanding, who instills courage, and confidence, and who can make our words and actions powerful and compelling. He can do things with us and through us that we could never do on our own. The same Spirit of God who empowered those early followers of Jesus is still here today, and He will do the same for us. Through Him, we will be able to claim what Paul affirmed about his own ministry:
And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. 1 Corinthians 2:4-5 (NKJV)
Finally, the path to victory that God offers us may include many twists and turns. Even if we’re surrendered, committed, and Spirit-filled, our attention must be freshly focused every day. The enemy is subtle and deceptive and nothing can be taken for granted. A few fundamental practices are vital to include every day:
- Personal time in the Word of God is vital. We cannot conduct life as He directed if we don’t know what He said. We must not depend on daily devotional literature or someone’s podcast alone to sustain us. Systematic reading of the Bible cannot be abandoned if we are to expect lasting victory.
- The importance of intimate, honest, personal time in prayer cannot be overstated. We cannot discern His will in the details of our lives without communicating with Him. Including prayer time in conjunction with reading is both wise and fruitful.
- Behavior may offer support to our expressions of faith, but we must open our mouths, engage our keyboards, and offer actual “words” to express what we believe and why we believe it. Sharing our personal testimony of what Jesus has done for us is powerful and priceless and was never intended to be hidden away under a bushel.
If we commit to living out our own path to victory in these chaotic days, we just may be the tool that God wants to use to help light the way out of this swamp for the rest of our country as well.
“TWEETABLES” ~ Click to Tweet & Share from the pull quotes below. Each quote links directly to this article through Twitter.
- Victory begins with an unconditional surrender to God’s judgment and accepting Jesus as our standard for moral and ethical conduct. That means that God’s Word is the ultimate authority in determining right vs. wrong.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “God’s Word is the ultimate authority in determining right vs. wrong. Believers can no longer allow the popular culture’s godless entertainers, secular academics, and corrupt bureaucrats to tell us what to think and how to behave.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “Confronting and pushing back against a spiritually rebellious culture and being instruments of change is a daunting assignment, but God didn’t expect us to do it without the Holy Spirit, that divine extension of His very presence.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “To expect personal or national transformation without the Holy Spirit’s involvement is ludicrous. He is the One who gives understanding, who instills courage, and confidence, and who can make our words and actions powerful and compelling.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)