2Cor. 2:14 ¶ Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.
Victory is the name of the church I have pastored since 1979. At this writing that has been over thirty six years. I don’t have room to tell the story today, but let’s just say God gave our church that name. Over these thirty six years I have come to appreciate and come to some different conclusions to what victory looks like. Think about Jesus for a moment; did it look like victory when he was betrayed by one of his disciples and forsaken by the rest? How about when He was drug by the temple guards to be tried by the Sanhedrin. Did it look like Victory when He was mocked by the foul Herod? And then there was the scene before Pilate, did Jesus look victorious when Pilate ridiculed Him, had Him beaten and mocked by the soldiers and then nailed to a cross. Jesus looked like an utter failure. When His cold, dead body was carried to the tomb, Christ appeared as the embodiment of defeat.
Then there was the Apostle Paul, surely he looked victorious. Let’s listen to his own words describing what his story looked like. 2Cor. 11:24-27 “From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one.Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness”
So how is any of this victory and how does it relate to us? Christ clearly said His kingdom was not of this world. It was His suffering that purchased eternal victory for us. As for Paul, his suffering is a picture of how the world despises who we really are. What was his victory? His message was changing thousands of lives in his generation and his words are changing millions of lives today. So victory doesn’t like like man’s normal definition of victory. Paul has influenced more people than anyone in history; he spent the last few years of his life in a Roman prison. He was then beheaded for his faith. Don’t get so down on yourself for your so called little accomplishments. You are making more of a difference than you know.