When is a victory not a victory? When we are content to settle for less. We see this a lot in the world. Usually in lawsuits where someone has been wronged, so they take their adversary to court. Oft times, counsel isn’t seeking to win their client’s case by receiving the monetary value sued for. No, they hope to be able to receive a worthy settlement. This, they consider, is a victory. As Children of God, we ought never to settle for less than what God has for us. 

We must be careful as Christians to remember that we’re not fighting for victory in our lives. We are fighting from a place of victory, for we have it already in the person of Jesus Christ.

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 15:57 (NIV)

Instead of walking forward in the victory we have in our lives, I think we can become complacent with settling. We may even quote verses and say, “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV). Perhaps we may think we are doing well since we “have learned to become content whatever the circumstance” (Philippians 4:11 NIV). 

Have you ever questioned why Jesus tells his disciples in Luke:

If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

Luke 11:13 (NIV)

What is Jesus comparing this to? 

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?”

Luke 11:11-12 (NIV)

Jesus could have used anything else for comparison here, but he didn’t because God gives us the best. The best gift we can receive from God isn’t a full belly, a new house, or a brand new car. No, it’s the gift of the Holy Spirit! 

I started thinking about this today because of these verses I read in Joshua.

The whole assembly of the Israelites gathered at Shiloh and set up the tent of meeting there. The country was brought under their control, but there were still seven Israelite tribes who had not yet received their inheritance.

So Joshua said to the Israelites: “How long will you wait before you begin to take possession of the land that the Lord, the God of your ancestors, has given you?

Joshua 18:1-3 (NIV)

I wondered, what were these seven tribes waiting for? The country had been subdued, and most of their enemies had been destroyed. Why were they waiting? Some people read the second verse and interpret that they hadn’t received their inheritance yet as saying that they had battles yet to fight and that they were afraid to go forth. However, the first verse tells the country was under their control. Furthermore, we are told in verse four that Joshua had them send out 21 men to survey the land so it could be divided up. No, I don’t think they were waiting because they were afraid to fight. I think they were tired from fighting and perhaps even hesitant to move forward into a new way of life. Most of all, I think they were content with things just the way they were.

Before entering into the Promised Land, these Israelites knew nothing but the nomad’s life. These were not the same people who had been slaves in Egypt. All of the people over the age of twenty who had been slaves in Egypt died in the wilderness. The oldest of these new Israelites had briefly known slavery while they were children. Most of their lives had been spent in the wilderness, with God providing for them every step of the way. If they were hungry there was mana in the morning, having settled like dew, waiting for them to pick it up and eat. They had their tents, and they were comfortable. Some of the largest tribes among them, Judah and the tribes of Joseph, had already settled down (cf. Joshua 18:5). When we read about the land they surveyed and what bordered them, it appears they were hemmed in by other tribes in Israel. The hardest part of the fight had been done. Clearing out their enemies. 

When we are saved we become a new creation (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:17). The old is gone, and the new has come. The old ways of thinking can be replaced with new ways of thinking. However, God doesn’t force these new ways of thinking and living upon us. As newborn people, we can turn away from the old and embrace the new. I think most of us embrace this and give it our all, at first. To a certain degree, that could be a problem.

We carry with us, as new creations, the old desire for everything to be done now. We want to be just like Jesus right now. We try so very hard to be perfect, and it can wear us out because it’s not we who do it, but God who does it in us. We forget some of the simple facts of Creation. Nothing is born mature. Women don’t give birth to fully grown people, and, for the most part, neither does anything else in Creation. Think about what you would have seen if you were suddenly transformed into the person you are today, in Christ, when you were first saved. I know that I certainly wouldn’t have recognized myself, and frankly, I would have been freaked out. I remember, after being saved, wondering what was going to happen to me. What would I look like? How would I think? Would I still be me? I was giddy with anticipation but honestly afraid of losing the parts of me I was comfortable with. 

As we mature in the Lord, we settle down a bit. We accept that it takes time to mature, so perhaps we don’t try as much. Perhaps the fire in our hearts to be like Christ has waned a bit. We know it’s in the Lord’s time, and to us, his timing can sometimes seem like it takes too long, so we become content. If we’re not careful though, we can become content with the wrong things. We can become complacent. We accept that behavior of ours we’d not have accepted when we were first saved. We lean on the mercy of God that is new each day. We settle down into the pattern of our Christian lives, and before we know it, we’re not living saved anymore. 

Sure, we’re better than we used to be. We don’t get drunk and go out partying. We don’t get angry and yell at people- too much. We only swear or get very frustrated after a lot of long hard days, instead of all the time. We’re doing okay. We’re making it. We’re going to Heaven. 

Paul describes the Christian walk like this:

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

1 Corinthians 9:24-25 (NIV)

We’ve all had goals in our lives that have required training. Whatever it might have been, we worked hard at it so we could do whatever it is we were striving for. When we were first saved some of us might have thought of our Christian walk as a sprint and took off running. I think we all do that one way or another. However, when we realized we were running a longer race we slowed down. Eventually, though, some of us just started walking through this race. Occasionally, we might get a little push here, or there, and start running again, but we’ve lost our pace. We start up with that sprint and then get tired out quickly. We stop to catch our breath, and God help us when we stop! 

Perhaps you’ve felt stagnate in your walk with the Lord. Maybe you’ve gone from running the marathon of salvation to strolling through the valley, checking out the flowers. If that’s you, then pray this prayer with me today.

Father God, I love you Lord, for who you are. I know that you are full of mercy and grace. Father, I’m sorry for being complacent regarding my salvation. I’m sorry that I’m not on fire for you like I used to be. Please help me to walk strong again with you. Please renew and jump-start my heart for you. Show me the way to reconnect with you, for you make all things new. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen

Maybe you don’t yet know the Lord, but he knows you. If you’d like to know the Lord and be free from the condemnation of sin and live eternally with Him, then pray this prayer of salvation.

Lord Jesus, forgive me for all my sins. I repent from my ways. Wash me in your blood and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I believe that you died on the cross, were buried, and on the third day, God the Father raised you from the dead. Right now, Lord Jesus, I open the door to my heart, and I receive you into my heart as my Lord and personal Savior. Amen.

If you’ve given your life to Christ today, then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.

I know I wrote a lot today, and I thank you for stopping by to read it. Hopefully, you found something of worth to bless your heart.