Lots of Christians talk about “Victorious Living!” There’s always an exclamation point. I can’t help but think of nicely tanned, white-toothed, smiley preachers when I hear this phrase.
“Victorious Living!” is a phrase that has come to represent the Christian self-help movement. It means that with Jesus all your wildest dreams will come true. Jesus is the ultimate self-help guru who died so you could be successful.
Victorious Living! is a crock. Find me a verse that talks about Victorious Living.
You won’t find one. In fact, what you will find is when the Bible brings up victory, its context is usually about death.
The Greek word for victory is nikos, from which the shoe company Nike gets its name. There are only a few passages that talk about victory and us.
1 Corinthians 15:54-57, “thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.“
See, right there, Jeff, he talks about how we have the victory! Yeah, I know. And the context is all about death and resurrection. The victory doesn’t come in this life; the victory is resurrection, which comes after dying. In this life we have tribulation and then we die. Victory is later, after we leave this world.
1 John 5:1-4, “this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”
See, right there, Jeff, we have victory! Yeah, I know. Are you sure you want this victory though? The victory is our faith, and you want to know what John means by faith? Read the three verses before this phrase–the victory is obeying the commands of God. If that’s what you mean by Victorious Living!, then fine, I’m with ya! But I’ve never heard anyone sum up Victorious Living! with “obey God’s commands.”
Romans 8:35-37, “we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”
See, right there, Jeff, we conquer! Yeah, I know. Again, read the context–we are sheep for the slaughter, killed all day long. No amount of suffering can separate us from God. Again, the victory is in the next life, not in this one. In this life we might get tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword. But in the next one we enjoy victory.
That is nikos and you–Life sucks and then you die; so obey God. Need an expansion on this point? Read Ecclesiastes.
None of the suckage of life can remove you from God or from His love in Christ. That helps us push through the suckage. But the suckage is here, especially if you’re doing faith right. This is a very consistent theme of the New Testament.
In fact, the one church that sounds the most like they have Victorious Living! (“we reign as kings, we are wise, strong and honorable“) is the church of Corinth! The one church the New Testament has the biggest problem with!
The next biggest problem the NT has with a church is Laodicea, who thought they were rich, increased with goods, and had need of nothing! If you think you’re winning down here, the NT says you’re probably in the worst place possible.
Hebrews 11 is all about suffering people who lived for the next life. That is what faith is all about. Looking at the things that are not seen because the things that are seen are temporal. Living for the better country to come, not our best life now.
Avoid the Bible and all your fleshly dreams can come true.
Come to the Bible and all your dreams will be destroyed, your flesh life will be ruined as you take up your cross and die with Christ, being crucified to the world and the world to you, with all your affections and lusts being crucified, which results in godly living that always leads to persecution, and then, AFTER ALL THAT, comes your victorious life in heaven.
“For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.“