Everyone likes to talk about victory and success and how to receive from God. But we don't hear people talk too much about what to do after we win great victories. So many times, that's when Satan tries to set up roadblocks in our lives. There are important lessons we must learn in order to protect ourselves from the devil's schemes and stand strong in God after the victory.
There's an old saying I've often heard paraphrased: "Let us be as watchful after the victory as before the battle." That's a good statement, because it tells us to be forewarned and forearmed against the devil's strategies. Life is not a playground; it's a battleground. The Bible says we wrestle and are in a spiritual warfare (Eph. 6:12–18).
The Word Guards Our Lives
We need to be careful to guard our lives with the Word of God and prayer. How do we do that? We need to set guards in place.
When I was growing up, there were three groups of kids that always played together. We each had our own fort or clubhouse. We'd set guards around the clubhouse to make sure that the other kids didn't slip in on us.
The Word of God is your guard and defense against the enemy. If you'll walk in the promises of God, you won't fall prey to the enemy's devices.
First Peter 5:8 (NKJV) reads, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, SEEKING WHOM HE MAY DEVOUR." You've got to be alert and abide in the Word to be able to detect the enemy trying to slip in unawares. When we've been believing God for certain things to come to pass and we finally receive our victory, we have a tendency to let our guard down (1 Cor. 10:12).
It's great to rejoice and praise God for our victory. But while we're rejoicing, let's set out some sentries to guard our territory so the enemy can't come in without our knowing it.
We Must Not Relax Our Guard
I think the prophet Elijah relaxed his guard. In First Kings chapter 18, we see that Elijah experienced a lapse of faith after a great victory. He went up on Mount Carmel with God and defeated the prophets of Baal. He mocked them, and then he stepped up to the altar of the Lord and prayed. The power of God fell like fire, burning up the sacrifice and soaking up the water in the trench around it. Then he killed all the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:40). Now that was a tremendous victory! But he didn't guard himself after his victory.
When the wicked Queen Jezebel heard what Elijah had done to her prophets, she sent a messenger to tell him, "So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time" (1 Kings 19:2 NKJV).
So what did this great man of God do after he heard the queen's threat? He turned and ran in fear. Elijah wasn't on guard against the enemy's wiles, and we need to learn from his experience. He had just called down fire out of Heaven, so why should he have been worried about Queen Jezebel? If God could take care of him on the mountaintop, couldn't He take care of him in the valley? Elijah didn't guard himself after the victory, and he began to expect the worst.
God has demonstrated His power to us in our past victories. And He will demonstrate that same power to us in any other situation or problem.
In the New Testament, Jesus' disciples made the same mistake Elijah did. They had been with Jesus when He turned the water into wine at the marriage at Cana (John 2:1–11). They witnessed Jesus heal the lepers and the blind men.
With their own eyes, the disciples saw the miracle of Jesus feeding five thousand people with a few fish and loaves of bread
(Matt. 14:15–21). But one day after ministering, Jesus told His disciples to go to the other side of the lake (Mark 4:35). They all got into the ship, and Jesus fell asleep in the stern. While He slept, a storm arose and the disciples became fearful.
In fact, the disciples thought they were going to drown. So they awakened Jesus and said, "Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?" (v. 38 NKJV). That reminds me of some of us: "Oh, God! Why did You let this happen to me? Don't You love me anymore?"
What we fail to realize is that God sees all the trouble we're in before we ever tell Him about it. He wants to find out what we're going to do in the midst of the trouble.
Jesus immediately stilled the storm. But then He turned to His disciples and asked, "Why are you so fearful?" (v. 40 NKJV). Jesus was trying to get the disciples to see that when their faith is anchored in God and in His Word, there will be no room for fear.
We sometimes make the same mistake the disciples did. We start out walking in God's victory plan for our lives. We're living right and obeying the Word of God. But when the storms of life come against us, we take our eyes off of God and look at the boisterous winds of tests and trials.
When we do that, we're going to fail. We need to keep looking at God.
Right after experiencing a great victory is no time to let our guard down. We've got to keep on fighting the good fight of faith, because as long as we're on this earth, the enemy is going to keep on trying to defeat us.
But thank God, we can depend on God and His Word. No test, trial, or circumstance is too hard for Him. If we'll look to God's Word in every situation, we'll come out the victor and fulfill His plan for our lives.
FAITH IN ACTION
How to Keep Your Victory
• Trust God to do for you what He has promised.
• Keep your faith in God and expect the best.
• Don't become overconfident in yourself. Your victories come because you're in Christ, not because of your own strength.