Turning Spiritual Defeats Into Victories For God

Samson, the once mighty warrior of Israel, was enslaved and blinded by his enemies. The Philistines who once feared him now mocked him. They made him turn the grinding wheel at the mill, a job usually performed by beasts of burden. And when they gathered for a feast, they brought him from the prison to embarrass him and make fun of him for their entertainment.

Perhaps when Samson lost his eyesight his insight increased. If it did, he would have reflected on how his impulsive choices and passion for the wrong things continued to get him in trouble. His poor choice of women, based on their physical beauty not character, caused him problems and ultimately led to his current tragic situation. It may be that he realized that his divinely given strength, which was now lost, was from God and that he should have had strong spiritual strength to match his physical power. What we do know is that in the final moments of his life, he trusted in God’s ability to  use him for good even in this desperate condition.

When the Philistines were holding a feast in the temple of the idol Dagon, they brought Samson from the prison to humiliate him for their entertainment. As Samson stood near the supporting pillars of the temple, he asked God to give him strength like he had before. God granted the request and Samson pushed away the pillars of Dagon’s temple killing more of the Philistines as he died than he did while alive. God brought a victory over the Philistines through the humiliation and defeat of Samson.

Christian Defeat

Christians know the pain of defeat. We did or said something wrong. We knew what was right but did wrong anyway. We felt the sting of disappointment and the shame of sin. But as Christians we also were comforted when we knew God would forgive us for our transgression. Perhaps we had a hard time forgiving ourselves even when we knew God forgave us. Although God gives us victory over sin through the blood of Jesus, there are often other victories that God can give us in this defeat.

Warn and Rescue

If you have been delivered from a sin, addiction, or other destructive behavior then you know how to help others who are in that situation. A person who has been delivered from drug addiction or alcoholism can help another addict in a special way because they have practical advice, gained from experience, to help rescue the person. They know the thinking and attitudes that must be overcome to break the addiction. Those who have committed fornication can warn others of the guilt and consequences that accompany such sin.

When Peter wrote, in 2 Peter 3:17, “You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked”, wrote from experience. Perhaps he could still hear himself tell Jesus “even if all the other disciples deny you, I never will deny you” and the people in the courtyard, “I do not know the man.” When Peter warns us not to be arrogant about our ability to remain faithful in temptation, he speaks from experience. He was able to use his defeat, the denial of Jesus, to teach others to remain faithful.

Teach Others of God’s Grace

When we have made shameful and disgraceful choices, the peace we have from God’s forgiveness can be an important message to share with others. While passing through Samaria, Jesus talked with a woman who was embarrassed about her marital choices (John 4). When she was convinced Jesus was the Messiah, she went to the people of her town and invited them to meet Jesus. Consider the testimony she used to invite them to see Jesus: “Come see a man who told me all things I ever did.” The things she did were nothing to brag about, and likely the people knew well that she had no pride in her choices, but she used her defeat to bring souls to the one who could give them all victory over Satan.

We do not need to sin so we can gain experiences to help others. God wants us to live pure and holy lives in the midst of a wicked world. But when we do sin and are defeated by Satan, we can use our experiences to help others out of the same kind of sin and demonstrate what a loving, merciful, and forgiving God we have.

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Categories: Christian Living, Forgiveness

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