When Victory Looks Like Defeat

First I have to give a little shout out to the Kansas Jayhawks. They made it to the Final Four in the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball tournament. I’m certain you all are super excited…I know I am.

Now down to business…

Tears burned in my eyes. I couldn’t believe it. I did it again. I made a mess of things, said things I didn’t have to say, did things in anger, and messed up big time.

I hate it when I mess up. Mostly because I like to be right and I don’t like admitting I was wrong. In other words pride and arrogance continue to develop roots in my heart. Those roots go deep and every time I think I got the root out, I find another one in a different area of my life.

I have a choice in this failure cycle. I can try harder, pick myself up from my bootstraps, and add miracle grow to my roots of arrogance and pride; or I can admit defeat. I can’t dig out the roots of arrogance and pride and selfishness.

In my defeated state God whispers in my ear…”You can’t, but I can. If you will walk in My Spirit, you can allow Him to dig out those roots, but first you must admit defeat in yourself so you can have victory in Me.”

I struggle because dying to myself, my plans, my ways is hard. I don’t like defeat. I want to be a winner, but God insists that true victory comes after I admit defeat.

Jesus says the same in Luke 9:23

“If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.”

Deny myself, deny my ability to do anything for God, and admit I am helplessly and hopelessly defeated without His Spirit. My victorious life in Christ starts with my defeat and growing dependence the Holy Spirit.

Jesus says this is a daily thing. Daily admit defeat, daily take what God has for me to do and lay down my plans, and follow God. Admittedly once a day is not enough for me. It is a moment by moment choice to say no to me and yes to God.

In this defeat victory comes. Victory because it is in defeat that I am empty enough to be filled with Him. His Spirit can fill all the broken empty places and do the hard work of removing roots of anger, arrogance, pride. Yes when filled with His Spirit fruit grows – the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)

May we all live in the defeat that brings victory for God’s glory!