Updated: Oct 31, 2019
MOVING FORWARD IN SPITE OF DEFEAT
Is there such a thing as defeat in the life of a Christian? Yes, but it does not have to happen! The Bible tells us that we are involved in spiritual warfare and that Satan is doing everything that he can to defeat us. Doubts about our faith, discouragement and depression concerning our circumstances, and despondency over our future are just a few of the flaming missiles the enemy shoots at us. But God has given us the armour of God and all the strategies necessary to make each of us an overcomer and more than a conqueror.
Scripture reference: Joshua 7: 1-12
Because we live in a fallen world, the distance between a great victory and a terrible defeat is only one step. We can be on top of the world celebrating what God has done, and soon after find ourselves in the valley of failure and despair. Why? Because of the godly principle of sowing and reaping. You reap what you sow. God was very clear to the Israelites, as He is to us…obey His Word and it will go well with you. Disobey His Word and face the painful consequences.
What does the book of Joshua teach us about what can bring defeat in our lives, and what can prevent us from moving forward with the Lord?
1. We cannot move forward if we are relying on our own strength and wisdom. Defeat comes when we replace our confidence in God with self-confidence. Joshua 7:2-5
Our confidence, in whatever we do, in any endeavour, must be in Christ and Christ alone.
It is not confidence in ourselves and our own abilities that will turn the world upside down or bring about victory in our lives, but rather confidence in what God can do through us.
When we take credit for our achievements, it is considered sin in the Lord’s eyes
2. We cannot move forward if we forget to seek God through prayer. Defeat comes when we do not seek God’s will and guidance before taking action. Joshua 7:6
God had warned Joshua that if they did not obey His Word regarding the ban on taking things from Jericho, the entire nation would suffer. So because Joshua didn’t ask the Lord what to do next, after the victory at Jericho, 36 soldiers lost their lives and Israel suffered a humiliating defeat.
It is no wonder the apostle Paul strongly advises Christians to examine and judge their lives before God’s judgment comes on them.
“If we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment.” 1 Corinthians 11:31
3. We cannot move forward if there is sin in our lives that is entertained, hidden or unchecked. We will face defeat if we are deliberately or habitually sinning. Joshua 7:12
Sin breaks our fellowship with God.
Rebellion against God brings ruin to our lives. We cannot habitually sin and disobey God and expect that He will continue to fight our battles and open doors for us.
Sin is never isolated. It always hurts others. Never underestimate the amount of damage one person can do in their sin.
We are one body in Christ. We belong to each other, we need each other, and we affect each other. Since we are each part of the body of Christ, then as 1 Corinthians 12:12 says, “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it.” You are not an island. Your life can give other people strength, confidence, courage and the ability to be overcomers. Or, your life can weaken them and cause them to stumble and be defeated. We all need to ask ourselves, “Is there disobedience in my life that will affect my kids, my spouse, my church, my walk with the Lord? What sins am I entertaining or leaving unchecked, what am I coveting, what am I looking at a second or third time that will cause me to sin and bring dishonor to the name of the Lord?
Even though this is a story of judgment, it is also a proclamation of hope. The valley of Achor (trouble) was a foreshadowing of the cross. In taking the punishment for our sin, Jesus went down into that valley of trouble, carrying our guilt and died in our place. All of our sins were placed on Jesus and He was judged for our sins. God turned the cross of Calvary, a place of trouble, judgment and death into a place of hope. “I will make the valley of Achor a door of hope.” God’s promise to His people in Hosea 2:14