A Round Lost Can Be a Round Gained
Israel, apart from Benjamin, mustered four hundred thousand swordsmen, all of them fighting men. The Israelites went up to Bethel and inquired of God. They said, "Who of us shall go first to fight against the Benjamites?" The LORD replied, "Judah shall go first." The next morning the Israelites got up and pitched camp near Gibeah. The men of Israel went out to fight the Benjamites and took up battle positions against them at Gibeah. The Benjamites came out of Gibeah and cut down twenty-two thousand Israelites on the battlefield that day (Judges 20:17-21, NIV).
I am not an avid boxing fan. I am not even a halfhearted boxing fan. Hockey is my sport of choice, but I do know that there are “rounds” in boxing, and a round lost does not solidify a loss of the entire match. Quite often in a boxing match, you do lose a round or two; notwithstanding, the final decision goes in your favor.
In the fight for your faith, you will stumble upon something similar. You may experience a period of time when you undergo defeat; and as you do, it is imperative that you remember that this defeat is only transitory. Victory is the final outcome for those who know who they are in Christ and you must be aware of this. A period of defeat may come your way, but it should not be allowed to make itself at home in your life.
In Judges, we notice the Israelites suffered a loss on the battlefield even though they sought God before they went into this battle. Why would God lead them into a situation that would end in failure?
It is important for us to understand that at times God will lead us into a round or two of “defeat” for a precise reason; at times that reason is to prove our faith genuine. Genuine, Biblical faith is produced as we abide in the Word of God (Romans 10:17). Faith is not a decision we make—we do not decide to believe God. Faith is the fruit of the Word and the work that it does in us.
We can possess faith that is not spiritual; the Bible calls this kind of faith dead—faith without action is dead. Faith is not simply a mental assertion; living faith will transform us. Faith that comes from our consistent intake of the Word will produce spiritual fruit. If we are in a fight for our faith and we feel as if we cannot persevere, then we must realize that we need genuine faith; we need more of the Word of God.
Defeat is a powerful instrument used for proving the authenticity of your faith. Faith is the substance of things unseen. Success does not require faith; success is the end result of faith while defeat is a facet of the progression of faith.
When you feel as if you have sought God and made decisions based on His Word and His will and even still you are experiencing failure, you must understand that you are in the midst of your process. You are in the fight for your faith. What do you do?
Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68, NIV).
Peter came to the same realization that all of us must come to: there is nowhere else to turn. Only Jesus Christ can give us the life that we long for. Only the Word can bring the promises to pass that we are desperate for.
Do we give up during this fight? Giving up is not an option if your faith is genuine; the Word of God produces faith that endures. If you feel that you cannot press on do not degrade yourself—simply realize that God is making you aware of a need in your life, a need for more of His Word.