Down But Not Out!
Updated: Mar 17
Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 1 Timothy 6:12
A boxer who is advancing to a higher weight class has to train for a higher weight because his former level of training and weight won't do for his next fight. In order to be victorious and get to the next level the fighter has to train at a greater level. A level that will empower him to be victorious against his opposition. Much like trials that we go through, though very hard and pressing train us to endure suffering, pick up weight in the spirit and equip us to fight the good fight of faith.
As fighters train to block blows, build more muscle, and endurance, and advance their speed, such as with our walk of faith. The trials, build our faith muscles, equip us with wisdom, and enable us to run this race with perseverance.
Tests and trials are spiritual strength training at its best and building us up for the next round of "punches" and like any effective strength training, it does not feel good. I mean it hurts. You're fatigued and feel like you're pushed to your limit but you keep going because you know it's working out for your greater good.
Through the hits and blows, God is working out and perfecting everything concerning you. Empowering you to stand, withstand, and not be defeated by what life throws your way.
It's oftentimes directly after a great move of God in your life, a blessing, a promise fulfilled, a special touch from the Lord, that something will come to defeat you. To knock you straight out. It will happen so subtly and fast that you didn't even see it coming. This is why it's important to be very mindful that while you are basking and glorying in the victory to walk wisely.
It is imperative to be watchful, walk wisely and pray even more incessantly after great victories.
Like a fighter celebrating a win only to be snuck up on unaware with a sucker punch and knocked out before the fight is over we must be ever so watchful, discerning, and even more earnest in prayer after victory lest we fall.
The fight is fixed but it's surely not over. Jesus sealed the win. But it's common in times of great victory, to let our guard down but know this is a key time to keep your guard up by pressing into prayer and being watchful in the spirit and in the natural in times of triumph.
The prophet Elijah experienced great victory. He prayed and called on the power of God to defeat the prophets of Baal and God showed up in a miraculous and prevailing way and rained down fire on the false prophets of Baal. This was a colossal victory for Elijah and demonstrated his great faith in God. But soon after this great feat, Elijah experienced defeat in a deep way.
Right after this great miracle of God, King Ahab told his wife Jezebel about God's display of power and Jezebel sought to kill Elijah. After hearing about this Elijah ran into the wilderness. Afraid, alone, defeated, and depressed. So much so that he even prayed for God to take his life.
In no time, Elijah went from the mountaintop of victory, seeing and experiencing this mighty miraculous move of God to the deep valley of defeat and deep despair.
Elijah's faith plummeted and he took refuge alone in the darkness of a cave instead of taking refuge in the light of God and making the shadow of the Almighty his shelter.
He hid in a cave in deep distress, feeling sorry for himself right after this amazing conquest, and experiencing God's great power in answer to his prayer.
God in His great faithfulness showed up for Elijah. As he was sleeping an angel touched him and told him, "Get up and eat!" So he got up and ate and drank and he was strengthened for his journey to Mount Sinai. God blessed Elijah with special strength for his long journey.
Elijah went from the valley of defeat to the sacred mountaintop of Mount Sinai and God met him there.
In a still small voice, God instructed Elijah. Not in the windstorm. Not in the earthquake nor in the fire. It was a gentle whisper. A still small and settling voice. It was in the whisper that God instructed Elijah about his mission. God had work to do through him as He does for you and me.
If you are in a "cave" right now. If you feel alone, discouraged or even feeling condemned because you had this great mountaintop experience and now you find yourself in the trenches of a valley, I encourage you to fix your eyes on Jesus and rest in His faithfulness.
Eat, hydrate, and meet with God. If you're downhearted and heavy ladened I ask you as God asked the prophet, "What are you doing here Elijah?"
Elijah's heart response is how many of us feel when we're discouraged and defeated; he felt alone but the very presence of God was with him. God was very present and mindful of Elijah and no matter how you may feel God is with you too, right now in this very moment God is ever so present to help you and extend help, grace, and mercy in your time of need. God is more than enough.
Get alone with Him. Open the Word up and ask God to meet you and He is faithful to do it. Much like the prophet Elijah, He won't meet you in a windstorm. The earthquake or the fire. God will settle, strengthen and instruct you in a gentle but undeniable whisper.
Get quiet before Him and set your heart to hear.
God is faithful to speak. His love, concern and care for you are unmatched. Be still and know that He is God and listen. Allow Him to minister to your heart, instruct you, give you special strength, and cause you to rise up in His mighty power and fulfill the purposes He has for your life.
Know that defeat is an occurrence, not a life sentence. A temporary situation that will pass. God is eternal and His mercy endures forever.
Determine in your heart that defeat will not deter nor distract you. Defeat does not define you, Jesus does by way of the finished work on the Cross. You my friend are more than a conqueror through the One who conquered the world.
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For further study: 1 Kings Chapters 18-20
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