Updated: Feb 10, 2022
"Feeling Defeated In Life"
My name is Scott Wolf and I am an Evangelist and a professional Illusionist who educates others on how easy it is to be decieved and reveal the Truth that Jesus Christ is Lord.
Have you ever came to a point in your live that you just say “screw it!” “What’s the use?” “I’m just going to get hurt all over again.” "I might as well just destroy my life anyway, because what’s the use?”
I’m sure that some of you reading my blog, can relate to what you just read. I know for certain it relates to me, because I have been there on many occasions. I have been knocked down and defeated, I have been overwhelmed with temptations and occasionally I have given in to those temptations and suffered the consequences, but, I also have tasted victory.
Nothing is more discouraging than a series of failures, defeats, and setbacks, I understand that. Those are the times when we are overwhelmed with the odds in life that we feel like giving up. Many times I have been in the middle of just wanting to give up. I’m 58 years old and I’m tired, I’m not old mind you, but, I have just been through so much in my life and have had many set backs that I feel feeble. But then I realize, my strength comes from God not me. I also discovered that the battles I face are not my battles but God’s battles and we grow weary because we try to fight life on our own.
Matthew 11:28 tells us Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
There is an amazing story in 2 Chronicles Chapter 20 about defeat. It's about the King of Judah, who is Jehoshaphat and as he learns that God will fight his battle, he finds himself surrounded by a coalition of armies that included the Moabites, Ammonites and Meunites. They were in the process of attacking the people of Judah.
Jehoshaphat felt his only refuge was at the horns of the alter. He resolved to employ the aid of God. He called for a universal fast, a fast throughout the kingdom. He led the people in prayer. He reminded God that the enemies that were seeking to destroy Judah were the same nations God commanded Israel not to destroy when they left Egypt. Jehoshaphat’s appeal to God was, to remember that their present trouble was the result of their previous obedience to God. He then concludes by asking God to protect Judah.
As they prayed God sent word through the prophet Jahaziel, who told them that, the battle that was about to be fought was not their battle, but God’s. In fact while it appeared that Israel would be the primary participant in the battle, they wouldn’t have to fight, but they would be victorious. Hearing this, Jehoshaphat once again bowed his head and expressed thanks and gratitude to God.
Judah began preparations for a celebration. They had a victory celebration before the battle. The songs they sang were victory songs. The praises they rendered were announcements of victory. The Levites led the procession with their musical instruments; singing the 136th Psalm. The people carried on not as a nation marching against an enemy, but as one returning in joyful triumph after a victory.
The moment they began to praise God, the Lord went to work. The scripture says ambushes occurred. Some have argued that God sent Angels to ambush the Ammonites and Moabites and made it appear as though one had attacked the other. Others claim that there may have been arguments among them. Whatever the case animosities sprung up, which led to widespread dissensions and fierce feuds, in which they drew their sword against each other.
The consequence was that the work of destruction was completed before Jehoshaphat and his army arrived at the battlefield. When Judah finally made it to the battle scene, the enemy was destroyed. They didn’t have to fight at all, but rather take possession of the immense treasure that was there.
Today all around our world there are many who are fighting daily battles for one reason or another. Battles are small confrontations that are only a part of great wars. Sometimes battles can be pivotal in determining the outcome of the war. The great American battles at Vicksburg and Gettysburg, during the civil war, were pivotal because a victory or a loss would affect the final outcome of the war. In a similar sense, each of our small battles are pivotal. They may not be the whole war, but they can set up a series of events that determine the end.
So when life comes at me sideways and I find myself being defeated, I have to remember, it’s just a battle, it’s not the war. My decision at what I do during that battle and the choices I make can and will affect the final outcome of the final war. I make poor choices all the time, we all do, and my decisions are not always the best decisions and then I end up suffering the consequence of my decision. If I choose to stay down and defeated that will affect the outcome for my future when the real war comes. But, if I choose to get up and walk forward and let God fight my battles for me then I can achieve victory, but not my victory, God’s victory. It’s when I take the battle in my own hands that I feel defeated.
THE BATTLE IS GOD'S
The word of God reminds us that these daily battles will occur because Satan brings them against us.
Ephesians 6: 12-13 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Where for take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Here is the beauty of making mistakes in life; you are probably asking yourself “what beauty is there in making mistakes?” To be honest, making mistakes is not a beautiful thing. It hurts and it stings when we make a mistake, but, reading between the lines through the power of God, we see the beauty in making a mistake or a bad choice only if you keep moving forward. Then we see God's direction and we just learned a valuable lesson, that's the beauty.
Have you ever had one of those days when God opens your eyes and you see things more clearly than you had before? You see your life in perspective and what you thought were mistakes or terrible times in your life actually helped shape you into the wonderful, strong person you are today? In retrospect, it’s easier to see how God has put all the puzzle pieces together in your life and make sense of everything that has happened. When you’re in the middle of a challenge, a poor life choice, or a catastrophe, it’s usually pretty hard to see this bigger picture.
I have made some bad decisions. I have made some pretty big ones and I have made some small ones as well. We all have made poor choices in life. The real question I have asked myself over and over again, when facing opposition is “What will I do now?” Do I have the humility to learn the lessons God is teaching me? Will I trust Him and continue to ask for His guidance? Will I accept His forgiveness? And will I forgive myself? That’s the hard one. Over the years I have had to forgive myself over and over for the bad choices I’ve made. It's only when I do that God opens my eyes to see the lessons I learned as a result. And I finally find some peace of mind.
STOP BLAMING EVERYONE
If God can dissolve the guilt that was weighing me down because of making bad choices, He can do the same for you. Be honest with yourself. Quit making excuses, blaming others, or justifying what you did. Go to the bakery and get a nice big piece of humble pie. (That’s usually part of the solution to any problem, have you noticed?). I’m only saying this out of experience. I have been in that excuse seat and as to why I made the poor choice, I have blamed others. “It was because I got fired, I decided to sink into my addictive lifestyle,” If it weren’t for my step dad treating me the way he did, I wouldn’t have turned out this way.” Do you see what I am getting at? Bad parenting, getting fired, your spouse, God, the Devil, or anything or anyone else had nothing to do with your decision making and poor choices. It’s all on you and when we face to final judgment, God is only looking at one person and one person only, and that is you. So the answer is to ask God for forgiveness, forgive others, forgive yourself, and move forward. God will dissolve all of that guilt and heal your heart.
SURROUND YOURSELF WITH ACCOUNTABILITY
In my life, I have many people who care for me and support me, but many of them also hold me accountable. We need people in our lives that let us know we are making poor choices. I so desperately need that in my life, it’s the only way that I can keep on a straight path. It sucks though when someone points your flaws out or finds out your deep dark sinful secrets and you become exposed. It's not fun to be caught with your pants down, but, Proverbs 28:23 tells us that, honest correction is appreciated more than flattery. Sometimes true love requires a serious reprimand and we must care enough to confront those we love.
The Christian life is not an individual sport. It’s a team sport. The Bible says we need one another. It never intended that you would live the Christian life in isolation. God gave you other believers in your life, not just to support and encourage you, but also to speak truth into your life. The reason is because there are things that are clear to others but are blind spots to us and if I don’t have anyone in my life who speaks honestly to me, I will be tempted to live in self-deceit.
Coupled with this is the distorted view that to live the Christian life is to be perfect. The truth is a smiling Christian is not a perfect Christian. Like you, they have just had an argument with their spouse or children before they came to church or work. They don't have it all together. I know this because Charity and I have had our arguments before church. She tells me how to drive and I get all bent out of shape, or we are late and I have to act like a speed demon to get there or any where and it makes her nervous so she tells me to slow down, then I just get rebellious and blame it on her and do my own thing. Then we get to our destination and put on this fake smile like nothing ever happened. Trust me folks, you are not a saint and neither am I. How crazy would it be when we got to church and someone said "good morning, how are you?" Then we respond with "well, I'm pretty pissed off right now and I'm not really liking my spouse all that much because he or she is always telling me what to do." Can you imagine the look on the other persons face? But we don't respond that way, we hide behind this mask of righteousness wherever we go.
Always remember it's ok to be vulnerable and transparent, we don't have to spiritually throw up our sins all over everyone. There are plenty of sins in my life that I just keep between me and God or my spouse. Sometimes I only share with my accountability partners, other times my entire church family knows my junk. Use discernment, but don't hide when you make poor choices in life, God already knows anyway and if you do hide, eventually it will be revealed. It's much better not to hide in my experience.
There are 8 things that I believe you should do when you have made the wrong choice and made a mistake.
1. Confess your poor choices to God
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
If you made a mistake, own it. Don’t explain it away, minimize it, or shift the blame to others. Just admit that you blew it, and take full responsibility. If you fail to own it, then others will question your integrity, and your problems will mount. It takes guts and true character to admit when you’ve made a mistake.
2. Stop making that wrong choice.
Proverbs 28:13 He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.
It’s one thing to confess your sin, and it is another thing to forsake your sin. You must do everything you can to turn away from that sin. This begins with an utter commitment to do whatever it takes to change. Your not wanting to change will just weigh you down.
3. Study and learn everything God has said about that issue in the Scriptures.
Joshua 1:8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
It is absolutely essential that you learn everything you can about what God has to say about that sinful mistake you have made. When you learn His thoughts, you will begin to pave a path away from that sin and toward restoration. But you just can’t wing it. You must study the Scriptures to know God’s heart on that issue.
4. Ask for forgiveness from any who were hurt because of your bad decision.
James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
When we sin, we often hurt others. Sometimes we don’t even realize how badly we’ve hurt others while we are in the midst of the sin. So, take time to look around and take an honest look at what harm you may have caused others. Then, go to those you have hurt and apologize and do whatever you can to fix that hurt. You may not be able to fix it completely, and they may not even forgive you. But you need to do all that is within your power to make it right.
5. Set up boundaries in your life that will help you keep from doing that again.
Proverbs 27:12 A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself; The simple pass on and are punished.
Proverbs 26:11 As a dog returns to his own vomit, So a fool repeats his folly.
We all have sinful desires, and so we must establish guardrails that will keep us from careening off the road spiritually and wiping out in sin. If you struggle with Internet sin, then enlist an accountability partner who can monitor your online activity. If you struggle with anger, then enlist an accountability partner (a godly friend) who will lean into you to help you do right and correct you when you do wrong. Set up boundaries that will make it impossible for you to do that wrong thing even if you wanted to do that.
6. Seek godly counsel for solutions in getting back on track
Proverbs 11:14. Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety.
We all need people to speak into our lives to give us a fresh perspective on how to fix our problems. None of us can solve all of our own problems alone. When you find godly advisors who can help to guide you, you will be amazed at how great of ideas they can come up with at times that will help you to find victory. They will see things that you cannot see yourself. It’s sort of like you’re walking around with a “kick-me” sign on your back. Others can see it, but you cannot. A godly counselor can help to remove it from your back.
7. Surround yourself with a godly support system that will help you to do right.
Hebrews 3:13. but exhort one another daily, while it is called "Today," lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
In addition to one or two close advisors, you need a whole network of Christian friends who can help you to do right in your life. And the best places to find these close friends will be at church, small group Bible studies, and when you get involved in ministry. These relationships will make a huge difference in strengthening you and helping you to stay on the right path.
8. Make a long-term commitment to change.
Matthew 16:24-26. Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their lifewill lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?
To change, you must be committed to the long term. Plenty of people get into trouble in their lives and show up at church to find a “quick fix.” But then you often see those people fade away after just a few weeks or months. They return to the same old paths of sin that got them into trouble in the first place. So, up front, you must understand that this is a long-term commitment, and you must be committed to changing over the long haul. The Christian life is not a sprint; it is a marathon. That's why I argue against short term rehabilitation centers. Short term gives no time to commit and make a change in your life. That is why I have been so adamant about Adult & Teen Challenge when I speak to addicts. Its because Adult & Teen Challenge is a long term commitment to life change. They teach you structure and discipline, but most importantly your introduced to a loving God that wants to change your life.
For the past few weeks I have been helping someone I have known for several years get into Adult & Teen Challenge in Arizona, He had reached out to me and crying on the phone for help and that he was on the streets. He had some steps to take to get into the program and one was that he had to obtain his birth certificate which he lost a long time ago and would require him to go to vital records and apply for one.
So I helped him get a motel room so he could make some phone calls and get over to vital records to get that process started. The next day he messaged me and said he wasn't able to get over there because he didn't have a ride. I gave him a lot of solutions and resources that he could take advantage of. Then a few more days passed and he had decided to go into a halfway house. Not the best choice but OK. Several more days passed and he called and still hasn't went to get his birth certificate.
Then he started making a lot of excuses and blaming everyone, why he couldn't get a ride.
today he called me and he was still making excuses and asked me to get another hotel for him and I refused, and that he was hungry and I told him to go to the shelter and get something to eat and then he made more excuse as to why he couldn't. I told him that I love him and the only way that I support him is that he get that certificate and get into Adult & Teen Challenge. I refused to support his choices he was making. He then got mad at me and called me names and said that I act like I'm better than everyone.
This is typical addict behavior and If I had a nickel for every person I tried to help that called me names, spit on my (I had that happen also), or said that I act like I'm better than everyone, I would be financially set for awhile. Here's the thing folks, you can't help an addict any further than giving them no choice but to get help. I gave this kid steps to take and he didn't and as soon as he knew I wouldn't enable him, he lashed out at me. I told him, "you came to me, I never came to you." When someone you love cries out for help, then help them take some steps but they have to make those steps initially on their own. You do a person who is making poor choices more harm when you enable them. If you love them, stop enabling addicts.
So to bring this all to a close, if you feel down and out, give it to God because He will go tp battle for you and give you rest. If you make a mistake, it's ok, move forward and ask God to forgive you but also forgive yourself, quit beating yourself up. Don't throw in the towel when you feel defeated because the victory is only a few steps ahead of you.
If your loved one is making poor choices, it's ok to harshley correct them but do it out of love and respect for them and help them through it by your prayer and guidance. If they do not accept your guidance or wise counsel, they are in God's hands, the ball is in their court. But what ever you do, do not enable them.
Remember that God loves you and want each of you to have hope and purpose in life. We can't do this on our own, but God being with us and for us, we can do anything.
Phillipians 4:13. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.