Steven Furtick - The Gift Of Victory
God brought a Scripture to my memory from 1 Corinthians, chapter 15. I'll read from verse 54. "When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: 'Death has been swallowed up in victory.' 'Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?' The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain". What a word.
Today I want to talk to you from an unusual topic. I want to speak about The Gift of Victory. Go ahead and put your hands out because I want to give you your first Christmas gift. You haven't opened anything yet, have you? All right. Well, get ready for this: the gift of victory. Somebody shout, "It's mine! It's mine. I want it. I take it. I receive it. It's mine. It has my name on it". Let's unwrap this together today. The gift of victory. I think my oldest son Elijah put it best one time. I don't remember how many years ago this was. He was having a hard time in school because they were dividing up and playing this certain game with this certain team at recess, and they kept losing.
One of the girls in his class said, "Elijah, quit having such a bad attitude. It's not if you win or lose; it's if you're having fun". So he came home mad every day. "We lost again, and [whatever her name was] said, 'It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you have fun.'" After about three days of this, he comes home. This is the most brilliant thing that has ever been said in the Furtick household. Listen to what he said. He said, "Dad, today I got her". I said, "You got who? Y'all won"? He said, "No, we still lost, but when she said that after we lost…" His teammate who kept saying, "It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether you have fun". He said, "I was ready, and this time when she said, 'Elijah, it's not if you win or lose; it's whether you have fun,' I said, 'Well, I'm not having fun if I'm not winning.'"
That's my boy! He has that anointing of antagonism, that anointing of counterattack based in sound logic. That's the truth, man. I'm not having fun if I'm not winning. Maybe you're not competitive, you little Pollyanna positive, "It's not whether you win or lose". That's fine, but our family is very different. Our family does not have game nights. Oh, we tried. They were too bloody and traumatic. I figured if I kept having game nights with my kids, the therapy bill would be through the roof when they get older, because it always ended poorly. Y'all pray for Holly because she has this competitive spirit that would come out at game night. Y'all believe that? Y'all believe she was the problem? You must be a first-time guest if you believe that. No, it was all of us, really…every single one of us.
Now, we have a lot of good family traditions. I think our family is pretty cool, really cool. I'm really proud of our family. We had a family lunch club when the kids were smaller. We had a Pixar challenge. You know what's funny, though? Even when we set out a few summers ago to watch every Pixar movie as a family, we made it a competition of which Pixar movie was the best. Oh man. We have issues. And Monopoly? No. Nuh-uh. I can't even say "Monopoly" without my family feeling some PTSD. The reason I wanted to use that as an example before I get to this Scripture I read you in 1 Corinthians… I really want to illustrate, isolate, and hopefully the Holy Spirit will illuminate, the principle and the contrast Paul is giving here in 1 Corinthians. He speaks about the victory God gives.
Verse 57: "But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ". That's a wonderful Scripture. It's the kind of Scripture you often see hanging up in a weight room or a football locker room. "God gives us the victory. He doesn't like the other team. His favor is on us, so we're going to win, because God is with us, mighty warrior," and other Scriptures that are taken out of context. But it's good. It's a good Scripture to put up in a locker room. It's an amazing Scripture to put up anywhere. I just want to point out that in this particular passage, Paul is not so much concerned about external victories as he is about the internal victory God has promised us over sin. It is no good to win in every other area of your life if the victory over sin in your life is theoretical and abstract.
In other words, Paul is saying there will come a day where the perishable will put on imperishable, where the corruptible will put on incorruptible. He's talking about the resurrection of the righteous, which will come in the last days. He's basing this expectation in the example of Jesus Christ, who did exactly that when he got up out of the grave. I mean, that's a pretty big win when you beat death. Floyd Mayweather is still undefeated, but death isn't. Death got its first loss after Jesus hung on the cross. He said, "It's finished, but I'm not done, because after I get the keys to death, hell, and the grave, I'm going to go tell my brothers, 'You get up too.'"
That's awesome. There is a principle in the text of already and not yet. As Paul is giving them an expectation of a future event of resurrection in their life, he is giving them an exhortation, which simply means to urge in a very determined fashion. It's an expectation and an exhortation. He says God has given us the victory. More specifically, he gives us the victory. I make that distinction because it's something that continues to happen, not something that happens once and then just stays that way. He gives us the victory. Every day I wake up is a choice. "Will I win this day"? Every time the sin in my life that rears its head and says, "You belong to me" tries to defy the righteousness of God that Jesus Christ imparted through the Holy Spirit into my life, it is an opportunity for me to either defy the sin that claims to have mastery over me or to deny the power that lives in me because of what Jesus already did for me. He gives us the victory.
Do you see what I'm saying? It doesn't happen all at once. It happens incrementally. It happens gradually. Oh yeah. It's a victory you can depend on, but it is not a victory you can deposit and forget about and live off of the dividends. It is a victory that is given to be received with every rising of the sun. Nothing feels worse in life, I'm telling you right now, especially for a competitive person… Nothing feels worse in life than to give yourself to something you can't win at. Nothing feels worse. That's why I quit tennis. I was going out there all the time, and Larry Hubatka beat me. He had not played in six years, but he played in middle school. Once I figured out I couldn't win, I quit. That was my last tennis lesson, that day he beat me. I still feel bad about it.
I'm thinking about challenging him to a wrestling match, because that's what I did in middle school. Let's see who wins on the mat. How about that? I came across a term in Harvard Business Review recently that was describing what the author claimed was a social phenomenon, yet the Bible has been clear about long before they got ahold of it in the business community. He was talking about how employees are now, rather than leaving their jobs, withdrawing their hearts. He called it the quiet quit. If you feel underappreciated and undervalued in the workplace, don't leave your paycheck or your benefits. Don't walk into the office, stand up on the desk, burn something, throw it in the trash can, light the place on fire, and go to jail. Just show up, but not really. Just come at the last minute and leave at the first opportunity.
Don't stay late. Don't offer to do anything that's going to inconvenience you in any way. It's called the quiet quit. That's what he said. He said this is not only a trend that we now have a cute name for, but it is a human instinct. When I am giving to something where I do not feel I'm winning… It may not happen all at once, and I may not announce it. I may not throw a party. "This is my last day. Y'all can kiss my ring finger". (This is going online, so I say things in a certain way so it can be acceptable.) It's called a quiet quit. When Paul says in 1 Corinthians (I'm going to illustrate this in just a moment, but first let me preach the principle) that God gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ, that's the expectation.
When he says in verse 58, "Therefore, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord," that is the exhortation. I wonder if God gave me this word today called The Gift of Victory to someone who is in the middle of a quiet quit in their life. You have not announced that you are an atheist, and you don't plan to. You didn't change your bio on Instagram to "IHateGod.com," but deep down in your heart, since you're not winning, it seems like the only logical response is to quietly quit trying.
"If I quit trying, then when I don't win I'll understand why. If I quit trying, if I completely give in to the sin, I will no longer have to resist it, so I won't feel weak, because I won't be fighting. If I lay down and die and quit trying to be a joyful, positive person and completely give in to the cynicism that tries to run the operating system of my life, I won't lose, because I didn't show up. If I take my ball and go home, if I take my belief and go home, the Devil can't whip me, because if he can't find me, he can't beat me. So I'm going to hide behind excuses and pretend like I don't want it and settle for stuff I used to struggle against. I'm not going to announce it, because if I announce it, somebody might come get me and pull me out of it. So, rather than announcing it, rather than quitting in a way people can perceive, I will just show up in my body, but I will not be present in my mind. I will not bring my best. I will not bring my heart. I will not bring my ideas. I will not bring my playfulness. I will not bring who I really am, because if I don't bring who I really am, then you can't beat who I really am. I will hide behind the excuse that I don't want it anymore".
What could be more miserable than to live as a Christian with the promise that God gives you the victory but to live far beneath the reality of that promise; to know you are forgiven but to live without victory over sin. I saw a bumper sticker one time. It said, "Christians aren't perfect, just forgiven". I'm like, "Dang, that's good, and that's kind of not true". Okay, we're not perfect. That part is true, but just forgiven? Like that's the whole goal, right? Like, "Hey, man! We run around. We lie. We talk just like everybody else. We're hateful just like everybody else. We don't really have any different standard. We're just forgiven". The world definitely wants to join our team. "Hey, come to church with me. My life sucks just like yours. I make the same excuses you make. I have the same old broken patterns you have. Come to church with me. Get some of this".
To be forgiven but not to live in victory is misery. "I know I'm supposed to be able to get over this. I know I'm supposed to be able to forgive this. I know I'm supposed to be able to say no to this. I know I'm supposed to be able to pray this away. I know I'm supposed to be better than this. I know I'm bigger than this petty offense. But I'm forgiven". So, you think the whole goal for life is for God to just get you to fall into forgiveness and never get back up and live in victory? I see a lot of people in culture these days, even in Christianity…I'm not talking about the world; I'm talking about us…who are really good at falling into forgiveness. Hey, I have to do it too. I had to do it Friday. Friday, I saw myself doing something so dumb.
I was like, "O God. If I was going to do something this dumb, why didn't I do it on Monday so I'd have time before I preached to get this out of my system? That's too close to preaching to be messing up like that". I had to ask him. "God, help me. Help me. I have people coming to hear me talk, and I'm an idiot. God, help me". I have to do that too, but is that all he died for, just so I can fall into the same pit over and over again? "I'm just forgiven". And I'm just frustrated, because it's no fun if I'm not winning. It's no fun to come into church and sing songs about victory and go back to defeat over and over and over again. That's why some people just watch online every six weeks now. "I did a quiet quit. I didn't stop believing in God, but I did stop coming to church".
I'm not talking about those who are in our eFam who are giving and contributing and serving and praying. That's wonderful. I'm talking about the quiet quit. I'm talking about when you keep on watching sermons in the background if you don't have anything more important. The quiet quit. I'm talking about picking the Scriptures that align with your lifestyle and never the ones that challenge you and only quoting the ones that make you feel good, the cute ones. I'm talking about the quiet quit. But thanks be to God who gives us the victory! He didn't die just so I could be forgiven. He didn't die just so I could fall. He died so I can rise with him, and I expect resurrection because his death promised it. It gave me an IOU. With him we rise. Say it. "With him I rise, just like he did".
So, there's an example of an expectation that the perishable will be swallowed up in imperishable, and he uses the best example. If Jesus beat the grave, what do you have permission to stay down in? Because that's the ultimate, right? If I bench 300, you'd better get this 155. (I did do that one time. I'm not going to tell you how long ago it was, but I did do it one time.) Jesus said, "If I got up out of this…" Do not use forgiveness as permission for failure. Am I preaching a good Christmas sermon or what? Y'all are like, "Where's the manger"? All that little baby Christianity that just wants to keep Jesus quiet and cute. What's the hymn that says, "The little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes"? Well, not only did he sweat drops of great blood when he went to the cross… If we want to take Jesus like that, it's just a symbol of our salvation, but he does not become the spiritual dynamic by which we overcome temptation in our lives.
Then what are we to do with the fact that when Jesus was dying on the cross… It said he endured it, despising its shame, for the joy set before him. He wasn't just dying up there… I know how this kind of message can sound. It can sound super Baptist. It's like, "Stop sinning"! I'm not saying, "Stop sinning". I'm saying, "Stop stopping". If I were going to say, "Stop sinning," then I would have had to reach a state of sinless perfection, and I would be Jesus, and I would not be here if I were Jesus. I would be in heaven with the angels getting ready to have my birthday party on December 25. But thanks be to God. Don't you love the way he frames that? Verse 56: "The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law". Oh no! What am I going to do?
If the power of sin is the law that God gave so I would know how to live, but that very law that had the power to show me how to live I was powerless to do because of my sinful nature, then what? But thanks be to God (this phrase is very paradoxical) who gives us the victory, which doesn't even seem to be a real thing, because a victory is not something that is typically given. It's something that is won. Think about it. When he said, "He gives us the victory," that in itself is a miracle. Again, if somebody wants to give you socks this Christmas, they can give you socks. If somebody wants to give you this Christmas… I mean, what are you hoping for this Christmas? A microwave oven? Well, they can give that.
If Oprah wants to give you a trip to Australia, she can give you a trip to Australia. I can't do that. I'm not on the Oprah level. But when he said he gives us the victory, it's almost confusing, because it almost sounds as if God is coopting a participation trophy mentality of salvation, like he's just going to give you stuff without you having to go for it. That's why I'm really excited about the exhortation that follows the expectation. He said he gives us the victory. Verse 58: "Therefore, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord". So, here's what I want to ask you today, brothers and sisters. Like Paul asked the church at Corinth, I want to ask you on behalf of the Holy Spirit… Are you more committed to verse 57 than you are verse 58? Verse 57 talks about what God gives: the victory. Verse 58 talks about what you give: yourself.
If you don't give yourself to it and expect God to give it to you, you are going to live your whole life frustrated, wondering why you're still staying down in stuff Christ gave you the power to rise from. That's the message. God said, "I'm going to give it to you, but then, because you've got it…" Somebody shout, "I've got it"! I need you to shout that better than you shouted it. Say, "I've got it". I've got the victory. I've got the joy. I've got the promise. I've got the assurance. I've got the blood of Jesus. I've got the pardon of sin. I've got reconciliation. I've got the name of Jesus. I've got the Great High Priest who intercedes with me. I've got wisdom. I've got knowledge that God wants me to have. I've got the experience for the thing I'm going through. Now shout, "I've got it"!
Look at your neighbor like you have something to be proud of. Say, "I've got it". I've got that thing. I've got it on the inside. You didn't give it. You can't take it. I'm not asking you for it. I'm not begging for it. I'm not posting about it, but that doesn't mean I don't have it. I got direction from God. I got new mercies when I woke up. I got it in my cup of coffee. I got it when I lay my pillow. I've got it. I've got the assurance and the hope of heaven. I have a heavenly calling. I've got a chain-breaking anointing that makes it possible for me to triumph over the works of the Devil. Let's give out three high-fives! Tell somebody, "I've got it"! I've got that thing. I've got the anointing. I've got the victory. I've got the power. I've got resurrection. It's in my bones! I've got breath to praise him. I've got strength to praise him. I've got a right to praise him. I've got permission to praise him. I've got the edge to do the thing he gave me to do. I've got the seed of the Word of God. It's little bitty, but it's going to grow. I've got faith. I've got mountain-moving faith. I've got grace, gully-washing grace, sin-erasing grace. I've got it! It's a gift.
I didn't earn it, don't deserve it, but I've got it. Couldn't work for it, couldn't climb to it, but I've got it. Tried to run from it, tried to deny it, tried to get away from it, but I've got it! I've got goodness! I've got mercy! You like it? My Dad gave it to me. I've got it. He put it on the tree, not under the tree. When he died on the tree, on the old rugged cross, and his blood ran down, he gave me the victory. Thanks be to God for this indescribable gift. He gave it to me, but sometimes I don't give myself to it. Paul said it's an expectation, but there's an exhortation. If he gave it to you, you have to give yourself to it. You can't quiet quit. You can't loud shout in church and quiet quit at home. Shout on that, but you'd better keep shouting when it gets hard this week. You'd better get shouting when you look at those bills this week.
You'd better get shouting when it comes over you this week and you think, "O God, I'm about to go crazy. I can't quit. I've got something eternal, imperishable, incorruptible, the seed of the word of God". I've got it. Catch it. I've got it. So, when you won wrestling yesterday, that's different than this text. Five matches in a row he won. I tell him all the time… This is Graham, our middle. Abbey is going to be mad because I haven't told a story about her in this sermon. I told you, we're so competitive. They fight over who got to be in my sermon the most. This is how dysfunctional your first family is. You see our Christmas card, us smiling?
One day I'm going to send y'all the Christmas card of what happened before the smile and after the smile. You can put it on your fridge for when your family is freaking out, and you'll feel better. I always tell him, "Hey, man. You know, I'm a state champion," because when I was in seventh grade, they gave me the state championship medal. Do you know what I did to get it? Nothing. The wrestling program in South Carolina was so pitiful nobody else showed up in the weight class, so they gave me a medal. No takedowns. No half nelson. No cross-face cradle. Just gave it to me. I think we shout over verse 57 kind of like that. "I want a medal. I want a miracle. I want maturity". What really got me going on this text about the gift of victory is that it is an oxymoron which becomes true because of the gospel. That's what God does. He makes stuff that makes no sense make sense by his Spirit.
So, then I can be like, "I don't feel victorious, but I've got it. I don't see how this is going to work out, but I've got it". Truth be told, some of us have never lost badly enough to appreciate when we win. When I was growing up watching the Clemson Tigers, a 10-2 season would have been a miracle. Now Dabo has these fools so used to winning they're talking about "10-2". "Oh God, we lost to the Gamecocks". You know what? That one game, everything on that season, when the Clemson Tigers lost to the South Carolina Gamecocks last weekend… Yeah, go ahead. You can do it again in eight years. Eight years from now you can do it again. Go ahead and get your eight-year shout in. Every eight years, you can shout about that.
Watch this. You mean one loss ruins the whole season? You mean one area of your life where you don't have it together… Even in Ezekiel, when they saw the river flowing from the sanctuary, he said, "There are still going to be salt marshes. Even though the river is fresh, even though it's going to turn from the Dead Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, there are still going to be some swamps". There are still going to be some secrets you keep about what you deal with. Are you really going to let that make you quit on all of the good things God has given you? Are you really going to make the three annoying things about your wife (I'm talking about your wife; my wife is perfect) keep you from seeing the 300 amazing things about her and the 3,000 screwed-up things about you? You little jackalope hypocrite. You Pharisee. You whitewashed tomb. No. Victory… Not only is it a gradual realization, but it is a focus. It is a choice.
I feel like there are some things God has given to you that you are not giving yourself to it. You're in a quiet quit. All right. I'm going to give you an Old Testament Scripture and we'll get out of here, but let me tell you a story. I went home and told Holly awhile back, "I think I'm going to quit songwriting". No sooner did I finish saying it to her and go off by myself, the Holy Spirit had this very frank conversation with me. Holly spirit. Holy Spirit. But this was just between me and God. You know how when preachers say, "God spoke to me," and you wonder, "Why doesn't he do that to me? I never hear anything like that".
Okay, first of all, it's because preachers are crazy, and secondly, they're lying and exaggerating. The Lord doesn't talk out loud like all that to most people. Most people the Lord talks out loud to… I just want to give you this little word of wisdom. He may do that occasionally, but if he has to do that for them all the time, that means they haven't matured enough to hear him speak in the silence as well. So, the Lord didn't speak over the intercom or anything like that to me, but here was the sense. I'm going to give you this because I think he wants to say it to a few hundred of you. I said, "I think I'm going to quit songwriting". The Lord said, "Did I say you could quit"? Boom. I can't quit. I have to give myself to it out of gratitude that God gave it to me. If he gave me a gift, if he gave me a victory, if he gave me a seed, and I quit on the gift, it will quit on me.
You're like, "I don't write songs. What's the point"? You're raising kids. "Well, I'm not going to put them up for adoption, Preacher. I'm good". Have you quiet quit? "I'm not leaving. I'm good. This message is not for me". Have you quiet quit? Paul didn't say, "Keep showing up for the work of the Lord," did he? He said, "Give yourself fully". You heard it? "Give yourself fully". How can we expect total victory and live in partial obedience? How can I try three times? How can I try five times? I had a friend who went to therapy once and said it didn't work. Well, maybe get a new therapist, but don't quit. The issues you're wrestling with… You're going to go to one therapist, and because they didn't have the answers in an hour to fix the life you've spent 53 years messing up, you're just going to quit on the process? You're just going to quit on the church? You're just going to quit on your dream?
You don't get to quit until God says quit. That's not how this works. He who began a good work will be faithful, but you have to bring you to it. I have the gift. God gave you a gift to do it. God gave you a charge to do it. God gave you the ability to do it. God gave you the sling. He gave you the stone. He gave you the opportunity, but you are not giving yourself to it. It's no fun if you're not winning, and you won't win if you don't give yourself fully to it. That's why I was standing on your chair: because I'm giving myself to this. I don't come up here to preach to you and go, "Are they ready for a word today"? Ready or not, here we come! I'm going to put myself in this message. I'm going to sweat all the way through this sweater until it's nasty when I take it off. If you don't want the word, somebody else can get it on Tuesday. I'm giving myself to this!
You know what? Some of you are just like me. You have the gift of keeping going because you have the belief that "If I don't quit, if I keep believing, if I show up enough times not feeling it, if I keep doing it in God's name, if I keep getting better and learn from the losses and learn from the pruning and learn from the cold nights and learn from the mistakes…" If I don't quit, I'll win. Why? I have the gift. In the Scriptures there was a prophet named Elisha. Elisha, not Elijah. That's the one who came before him. Elisha, the one who came after him, did twice as many miracles as his predecessor. I love preaching about Elisha because he had the gift. Oh man, he had the gift. Listen to what he could do. They'd come to attack Israel. He was the prophet of Israel. They would come to attack. God gave him a gift. He could see them coming before they started lining up.
So he'd go over and tell the king. He'd be like, "Hey, they're going to attack you at 7:45 a.m". Wouldn't it be good to have a prophet who could tell you when the Devil was going to get on your last nerve? "Now look. Your daughter is going to be bringing drama in here, so go ahead. Get everything done an hour early. Pray, quote Philippians, listen to Bethel, and get ready for it, because it's coming". Well, he had the gift. Not only the gift of power in the battle, but a preemptive gift of perceiving the battle before it happened. That's why I love reading about his life. He would see things. One Scripture… I used to preach this passage all over the world. I quit preaching it for a little while, but I'm going to do it one more time in the next 7 minutes and 24 seconds. It's over in 2 Kings, chapter 13.
I'm going to tell you this story, and I'm going to get out of the way, and I'm going to change out of this sweater, and I'm going to go home. I may eat eggs, bacon, and keto biscuits. Mm. Let's hurry up and get through this so I can eat my biscuits. In the Bible book of 2 Kings, chapter 13, it says, "Now Elisha had been suffering from the illness from which he died". Now watch this. He didn't die until God was done with him. The illness didn't kill him; God took him. You don't understand how big God is, how sovereign God is, how great God is, how vast his plans are, how awesome his might is, how strong his armies are. The Devil can't do anything to you that God does not permit. He just can't do it. He can try it, and even if he does it, God will use it, because that's how big God is. He had been suffering from the illness from which he died, but that's not the part I want to preach.
I want to preach about this: "Jehoash king of Israel went down to see him…" Why did he go see him? Because he had the gift. He needed to know, "Who am I going to be fighting, and how can I win"? Some of us come to God only when we're in battles. Jehoash, the Bible says, was an evil king who did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord, but now when he needs the word of the Lord, he knows where to go: to the one who had the gift of discernment, the gift of prophecy, the gift of instruction. He went down and wept over him. "'My father! My father!' he cried. 'The chariots and horsemen of Israel!' Elisha said, 'Get a bow and some arrows,' and he did so. 'Take the bow in your hands,' he said to the king of Israel. When he had taken it, Elisha put his hands on the king's hands".
I don't know what God is going to call you to do when this sermon is over, but it's going to involve putting your hands on something you already have. God is not going to speak to you about something you could do if you had someone else's stuff. Stop comparing. Stop lusting. Stop even wishing. Don't make a wish list this Christmas. Make a weapon list of what you already have that if you point it forward in the coming year, God will give you the victory. He told him what to do, and he did it. He said, "Get a bow," and he did it. "Get some arrows," and he did it. Look at verse 17. "'Open the east window,' he said, and he opened it". Everything is going well. He's doing everything the word of God says, everything the man of God says…nothing more, nothing less. He doesn't know where this is headed. He doesn't understand how it all works together. He's just doing it because he knows God has given the word he needs for victory inside of this man who's dying.
Even though he's a king, he knows God's word is what gives him the wisdom to win the victory. I want you to get that. I don't care how high you are, how smart you are, how good-looking you are. It is God's word and God's will that gives you the wisdom to win in the areas of your life that matter the most. He said, "Open the east window," and he opened it. Then he told him, "Shoot"! and he shot. Everything is going well. Watch this victory verse. This goes exactly perfect with what I read you to start my sermon. This goes so good together, because he said, "Thanks be to God who gives us the victory". Watch what the prophet said. "The Lord's arrow of victory…" Whose? Whose victory is it? "The Lord's arrow of victory, the arrow of victory over Aram"!
We could substitute in whatever you're fighting, because everybody in this room and everybody online has an Aram. It might be addiction. It might be bitterness. It might be resentment. It might be a prodigal child away from God and away from you and away from how you raised them. Everybody has an Aram, but everybody has an arrow. If you have the arrow of the Lord's victory, no weapon formed against you shall be able to prosper. So, he said, "You will completely destroy the Arameans at Aphek". If it ended there, I would shout, but the Bible says that after he told him about the victory… Verse 18: "Then he said, 'Take the arrows,' and the king took them. Elisha told him, 'Strike the ground.' He struck it three times…" The next part is the quiet quit. "…and stopped". "There's nothing wrong with stopping, Pastor Steve. I mean, after all, the prophet didn't tell him how many times to strike".
Watch what the prophet said. The prophet was angry. Elisha had an attitude. Elisha had a temper. "The man of God was angry with him and said, 'You should have struck the ground five or six times; then you would have defeated Aram and completely destroyed it. But now you will defeat it only [as many times as you did what I told you to do].'" "But you told me the Lord gave me the victory". "But then I told you that if you didn't get down on the ground and do something that corresponded with what I spoke to you, you would not realize everything I revealed". How could he have known that he needed to keep going? I think it's pretty obvious, y'all. The prophet didn't say, "Stop". You keep doing it until God says, "Stop". Do you hear me?
I need you to stand up if this is your word, because there's a temptation to quit right now. In fact, there is a generational spirit that is not limited to Millennials. It's all of us. We're all thinking we can just quit stuff whenever we want to quit stuff and walk away from stuff the first time it doesn't work. The moment it gets hard we quit because we don't feel it, but feelings are not lord. Jesus is Lord. We don't walk by feelings; we walk by faith. If God didn't say quit, you don't get to quit! Let me be a prophet for a moment. You can't quit on yourself. You can't quit on your freedom. You can't quit on your destiny. You can't quit on your assignment. You can't quit on your anointing until God says quit. I prophesy over your life today that you have the gift of victory. It is not of works.
Watch this. We don't fight for victory. We fight from victory. What I know in my spirit is that God gave me a preview of my purpose. He showed me what I could be in him. He showed me and told me what I could do through him. He gave me a word. I got a glimpse of it. I saw that arrow flying. I saw my kids getting through it. I saw myself recovering. I saw myself rebuilding it. I saw myself finishing it. Now I'm going to do it as many times as it takes for me to receive what God has revealed. This is a word for those who are weary, and because you haven't felt like you were winning, you withdrew.
I'm going to tell you a secret. When you feel spread so thin you feel like, "I'm not winning anywhere," that's the time you're tempted. When you feel like winning in one area of your life is always to the expense and detriment of another area of your life, the temptation is, "Well, I'll just carve myself into pieces, and I will not give myself fully to any of it. If I quit, nobody can see how hard it is for me". You might be like the king in 2 Kings 13 who gave himself, but not fully. You may be like Martha in the New Testament who let Jesus into her home, but not like Mary who let Jesus into her heart. You might be like the mom or the dad who feels like, "Man, I keep getting it wrong, and every time I show up to try I make a mess of it, so I'm going to just check out. I'm going to show up enough to get credit for being in class, but I'm not applying myself to any of it".
The danger for the Christian is not that you won't be forgiven of your sin. That's what Christ did. It's that he would forgive you of your sin and then you would never get to the place of victory over your sin. God wants me to live in victory. God wants you to live in victory. You don't get that way with a little three-time half effort. The grace of God doesn't make it so I can just give up and depend on him. It makes it so I'm so confident in this gift… I have the gift. I have the gift of grace. That's how I'm going to fight it: because I have the gift. That's how I'm going to show back up: because I have the gift. That's how I'm going to move through this swamp of shame and come out clean on the other side: because I have the gift.
You have to be like David who said, "I see the giant, but guess what I have. I have the gift of victory. Do you know how I know? I fought a lion, and I won. I fought a bear, and I won". So check my résumé. If you doubt God can do this, look back on my past. I have the gift of victory. I am an overcomer! I am more than a conqueror! Come on. Do like victorious people do. Lift your hands and say, "I have the gift".
Father, we lift our hands in victory, and we lift our hands in surrender. We lift our hands to you because we need you, and we lift our hands because we know you. Over every life today, I declare with the apostle Paul himself, "Thanks be to God who gives us the victory". Since we have it, God, you have us. We're coming back, full on, all the way. Not January 1, but from the moment I say, "Amen," I'm moving forward in the gift. I'm moving forward in the grace. I'm moving forward in the glory and the restoration of God and in the power of his presence.