Life Principle 18: Victim or Victor?

As children of a sovereign God, we are never victims of our circumstances.

Life is not simple. We face many bumps and turns along the way. The race is real, the battle continuous, and the painful experiences may pierce our hearts. However, our circumstances should not define who we are or how we react. Rather, as believers our behavior in every situation should honor the Lord Jesus, and our identity should always be based on the salvation He has provided for us.

Chapter 11 of Hebrews is populated with men and women who endured despite adverse circumstances. You may say, “Of course they persevered—God worked so powerfully in their situations. Look how their stories turned out!” Yet understand, just like you, the saints of old did not know how their stories would end, nor whether God would keep His promises to them. First Kings 8:56 reports, “Not one word has failed of all His good promise.”

So how did they demonstrate such strong faith in God? They did so because they trusted in the fact that the Lord was able to help them and work everything out for their good (Rom. 8:28; Heb. 11:1). Even when nothing else made sense to them, they placed their hope in their sovereign Lord—and He rewarded them for their confidence (Heb. 11:6).

In the fifth grade a young man, who is now a pastor, had to memorize the inspiring list of godly people in Hebrews 11—the faithful servants of the Lord who persevered in their great trials by trusting God. It was one of the most transformative lessons of his life. When he went through a rough time in the ministry, the Lord reminded him of these great people of faith, and gave him the confidence to endure as they did.

When thinking about the Bible’s unseen cloud of witnesses (Heb. 12:1), we should likewise be encouraged by their testimonies. We should be heartened by the story of Joseph, who endured though life seemed so unfair (Gen. 45:4–8; 50:20). Or David, who obeyed God even though, at times, everything seemed to work against him becoming king of Israel as the Lord had promised (1 Sam. 23:14). Or Moses, who “endured, as seeing Him who is unseen” (Heb. 11:27) and led the people of Israel to the Promised Land. Or the disciples, who were desolated at the crucifixion of Christ, only to be strengthened, heartened, and filled with purpose at His resurrection.

Had any of them considered themselves victims of their circumstances, they would have begun their journeys with God in defeat and discouragement. Instead, they focused on the almighty hand of the Lord and triumphed with Him.

Likewise, we can say, “God, if they endured, so can I, because You are sovereign just as You were then, and You love me as You loved them. Therefore, I will not consider myself a victim of my circumstances. Rather, I will view every situation as an opportunity for Your glory to shine forth in victory.”

God knows the Christian life is not easy. When you received the Lord Jesus as your Savior, He set you on your course. As your sovereign Lord, He mapped out all the bumps, turns, detours, hills, and valleys. He knew all the difficulties you would face. He understood that you would continually clash with the world, the flesh, and the devil until you were home with Him. Yet He didn’t merely set you on the path, hoping you would find your way. He sent the Holy Spirit to indwell you, guide you, and encourage you. Endurance requires something that doesn’t come easily—and that is trust in your unseen, sovereign God. However, with the Holy Spirit to remind you of His faithfulness and power (John 14:26), you can remain committed to Him.

When the going gets rough—and it will—you can’t run away. You can’t quit. The longer you faithfully obey the Lord, regardless of the circumstances, the stronger your faith becomes. You are prepared for greater service and expanded ministry. You become strong, stalwart, and steadfast.

The One who endured the cross lives in you, so that you are fully equipped for anything He calls you to do. If you stumble, He is there to pick you up. Just remember to always keep your eyes on Jesus. Don’t quit. Persevere.

You aren’t alone—your sovereign Lord is with you in every situation. Therefore, call upon Him to infuse you with His power and wisdom, and obey anything He calls you to do. And remember that you are never a victim of your circumstances, for your sovereign God can use everything that happens to you for your blessing and His glory.

Adapted from The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible, © 2009.

Related Topics:  30 Life Principles

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4 For the sons of Israel will remain for many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar and without ephod or household idols.

5 Afterward the sons of Israel will return and seek the LORD their God and David their king; and they will come trembling to the LORD and to His goodness in the last days.

1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

2 For by it the men of old gained approval.

3 By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.

4 By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks.

5 By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; AND HE WAS NOT FOUND BECAUSE GOD TOOK HIM UP; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God.

6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

7 By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.

8 By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going.

9 By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise;

10 for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

11 By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised.

12 Therefore there was born even of one man, and him as good as dead at that, as many descendants AS THE STARS OF HEAVEN IN NUMBER, AND INNUMERABLE AS THE SAND WHICH IS BY THE SEASHORE.

13 All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.

14 For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own.

15 And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return.

16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.

17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son;

18 it was he to whom it was said, IN ISAAC YOUR DESCENDANTS SHALL BE CALLED."

19 He considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead, from which he also received him back as a type.

20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even regarding things to come.

21 By faith Jacob, as he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff.

22 By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the exodus of the sons of Israel, and gave orders concerning his bones.

23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king's edict.

24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter,

25 choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin,

26 considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward.

27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen.

28 By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood, so that he who destroyed the firstborn would not touch them.

29 By faith they passed through the Red Sea as though they were passing through dry land; and the Egyptians, when they attempted it, were drowned.

30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days.

31 By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in peace.

32 And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets,

33 who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions,

34 quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.

35 Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection;

36 and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment.

37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated

38 ( men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground.

39 And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised,

40 because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.

56 Blessed be the LORD, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised; not one word has failed of all His good promise, which He promised through Moses His servant.

28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

4 Then Joseph said to his brothers, Please come closer to me." And they came closer. And he said, I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt.

5 Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.

6 For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting.

7 God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance.

8 Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his household and ruler over all the land of Egypt.

20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.

14 David stayed in the wilderness in the strongholds, and remained in the hill country in the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul sought him every day, but God did not deliver him into his hand.

26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.

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