Sunday, August 27, 2023

There Is No Victory Without a Battle

By Joe Chesser
    I love the song Faith Is the Victory! We like to talk about faith. We love to sing songs and hear sermons about faith. We dream of having a faith that is so strong and vibrant that it will never fail, a faith that will conquer every obstacle. Faith is a popular topic among Christians.
    But why do we need such a faith? For victory, of course! Faith Is the Victory! But victory over what? Well, I'm afraid that’s what we don’t enjoy thinking about. As A.W. Tozer wrote, “We must keep in mind that before we can have a victory, we must have a battle” (A Cloud by Day, a Fire by Night, page 114).
    We don’t like battles. Why would we? Battles are dangerous. Battles are costly. Battles cause pain and suffering. Battles are not fun. Battles prevent us from enjoying the good life.
    However, as much as we dislike battles, they are actually one of God’s plans for our progress. When battles are overcome by faith in God’s power, they make us stronger and help us move forward. Battles open our eyes to see the deliverance of God. They help us recognize how much we depend upon God and not ourselves to be victorious in this life. Before we can have a victory we must have a battle.
    Israel enjoyed God’s deliverance from Egyptian bondage. It was an exciting day when they marched away from slavery under Pharoah. They also enjoyed the thought of going to the Promised Land. What they didn’t enjoy were the numerous battles they would have to fight along the way as they journeyed from Egypt to Canaan. They didn’t get it that the battles they encountered were designed to increase their faith in the God of victory. They (and we) needed to learn to trust God to lead them to victory, and to learn that God’s victory had to be accomplished according to His unique plans and in His time. Like us, they all too often wanted to either fight their battles with their own strength and cunning, or try to avoid the battles all together.
    For example, when the Israelites arrived in the wilderness of Paran they sent in 12 men to spy out the land God had promised them (Numbers 12.16-13.24). They came back with glowing reports. It was a land flowing with milk and honey (13.27). However, the people were strong, the cities fortified, and there were giants in the land. 10 of the spies reported that it was a land that devours its enemies (13.32) and we are like grasshoppers (13.33). Not a word of faith in God. Not a word of seeking God’s help or wisdom. In fact, not a word about God at all except questions why God led them into such a disastrous situation (14.1-4). To the majority of people it was an unwinnable battle. They would rather go back to slavery in Egypt than do battle with the people of Canaan! There was no victory for that generation of Israelites because they refused to follow God into battle. Instead of being forward looking people of faith, they retreated back into the wilderness.
    I fear that Israel’s example describes many of us today. God’s vast promises of deep spiritual riches are within our reach. They are within sight. But they won’t be ours without a fight. Unlike Israel, our battle is not flesh and blood. No, we must do battle with the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6.12). Sadly, our culture has yielded to their evil influences. And Satan has convinced many Christians, especially our young people, to identify with this evil culture. The good news is that with faith in God (and not ourselves) victory is assured. But we must be willing to fight the good fight (2 Timothy 4.7).
    Remember, there is no victory without a battle. Faith Is the Victory!

- Joe Chesser worked for years with the Fruitland Church of Christ, Fruitland, MO. Now retired from full time preaching, he may be contacted at

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