With 2015 being declared the 'Year of the Overcomer', we can be sure to experience some outstanding victories! Victories over the challenges and obstacles that threaten to steal our peace and joy in life. The thing is, when we say we are going to experience great victories, it certainly implies that we will face great challenges too!
Well, to anyone who reads the Bible, that shouldn't come as much of a surprise really. It warns us of difficult, perilous times in 2 Timothy 3:1, "But understand this, that in the last days will come (set in) perilous times of great stress and trouble [hard to deal with and hard to bear]."
Jesus Himself spoke of times of great stress and trouble in John 16:33, "I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you."
This must be one of our favourite verses of scripture! Yes, there is no denying tough challenges and stressful opposition are lurking ahead, but do you notice what Jesus said on both sides of that statement of tribulation and trials? First, He declares that He is our safe refuge of perfect peace and confidence, then He concludes that we can begin rejoicing because He has already overcome the obstacles and challenges that were intended to harm us!
Don't you just love this? It should stir up some serious joy and praise inside of you! No matter what we are going to face this year, we can be assured of three truths:
We are not alone! We certainly can rely on Jesus being your safe haven in any trial we face, He is our peace and confidence in any storm we encounter.
Jesus has already secured our victory! No matter what comes against us in this world, the Lord has declared that it will not be able to destroy us! The Amplified Bible says that Jesus has already deprived it of its power to harm us.
And thirdly, We need to begin praising! No matter how overwhelming the trials ahead may appear or how devastating they threaten to be, everything changes when we look at things from God's perspective. His promises of victory bring hope and His faithful character fills us with peace and confidence in Who He is in our lives. He is the God of the impossible, Who is more than willing and able to work all things together for our good! "We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labour] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose." Romans 8:28.
It is very important for us to understand that praising God when we face trials is imperative for our victory because praise precedes victory! Praising God in the midst of difficult times allows us to take our focus off the trouble and onto the One Who has overcome that trouble! Praising God completely changes the atmosphere around us. The Word says that God inhabits the praises of His people! This means that heartfelt praise acts like a magnet to the presence of God! It brings His supernatural power right into our circumstances, supercharges our faith and fills us with peace and confidence. While we are focused on praising Him, He works on our behalf!
That's exactly what happened to the Israelites in 2 Chronicles 20:21. Even though they were facing an enemy that completely outnumbered them, their decision to obey God by trusting Him and praising Him with all their hearts brought them one of the greatest victories in history! Not one Israelite was harmed, not one enemy soldier escaped and it took them three days to collect and haul away all the loot they won after the battle! No matter how hopeless it looked, when they began to praise, the Lord fought for them!
The next time you find yourself facing trouble that looks too overwhelming, follow the example of those Israelites - get on your praise and watch what the Lord will do!