Do Not Rely Alone on Past Victorious Experiences

Messages on the Victorious Life

Message Seven – Part TwoPast Victorious Experiences

The Victorious Life is a supernatural life: it is a living miracle, a thrilling adventure, for it is God’s work and God’s working. Our early experiences in the life of victory are likely to be so different from anything we have known before, so out of the ordinary in supernatural demonstration of God’s grace and power, that at once we are plunged into a peril.

That peril is that we mistakenly suppose we must continually be having thrilling, unexpected, supernatural evidences of God’s power. And if these supernatural phenomena do not occur, we are tempted to think that something is wrong.

Now God wants us to trust, not in supernatural experiences, but in Himself.

It is for Him to decide when the unusual shall come into our life, and when our life shall be commonplace and humdrum so far as things of sight and sense are concerned. It would seem to be a safe statement that it is God’s purpose that the “supernatural,” so far as circumstances and experiences are concerned, should be the unusual rather than the usual in the life of His wholly trusting children.

Of course we remember that victory over sin is itself supernatural, and that God expects us to live in continual victory over sin, which means that our life in that respect is to be continually supernatural, always the “life that is Christ.” This is apart from the question of the supernatural experiences or phenomena that are often granted to us in our ministry in His name. And so He would deliver us from the peril of testing Him, or testing our victory, by circumstances or manifestations, and rather He asks us to trust “just Himself.”

It has been well said that, everyone needs two conversions: first, from the natural to the supernatural; and second, from the supernatural to the natural.

Let us be delivered, also, from the peril of unconsciously assuming an infallible knowledge of God’s will. God’s leadings may be so blessed and so unmistakable that, as we testify to others about them, we speak of how “God said this to me,” or “God led me to do that.” And then, if we are not on our guard, we thoughtlessly slip into habitual expressions about God’s telling us what to do, and God’s, leading us.

Some true and yielded Christians almost never speak of any action or decision of theirs without prefacing it with the words that God told them to do this or that. And quite often in the experience of such a one later circumstances show plainly that God did not tell them to do this or that, but that they had misunderstood His leading, as is possible at any time for any believer, even while wholly yielded.

There is an unconscious assumption of infallibility in that expression which can become really unconscious can’t.

Is it not better, instead of saying, “God told me to do this,” to say, “I believe God would have me do this”?

Let us recognize that we may be mistaken. Even if we are quite certain in our own hearts and minds of what God’s leading is, it is not well to claim infallible knowledge, without qualification, in our conversation with others.

The blessings that Christ gives us in the Victorious Life – in the ninefold “fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22, 23), for example – are so wonderful that we are in danger of thinking more about the blessings than of the Blesser.

Joy becomes such a wonderful experience – the supernatural joy which nothing can defeat, which is independent of all circumstances and environment – that we may, without realizing it, come to think more of this “joy of the Lord” than we do of our Lord Himself. He wants us to worship, not the fruit of the Spirit, but the Spirit.

There is a needed reminder in the saying that is attributed to Spurgeon:

“I looked at Jesus, and the dove of peace flew into my heart.

I looked at the dove of peace, and she flew away.”

The Christian who completely trusts the Lord for victory soon realizes that many Christians around him have not seen the truth of victory and are not trusting Christ. He may be in close contact with Christians who are older, much farther along in many ways, yet not living in the victory-secret that is so precious to him.

And then comes the peril of pride.  Almost without realizing it the Christian who knows Christ as victory can let slip some word criticizing a fellow Christian who is not in the secret, or a condescending comment on such a one’s mistake or failure. “Holier than thou” is one of the perils of the Victorious Life.

Of course the instant one speaks thus of another, or thinks in his inmost heart thus of another, his victory is gone; he has sinned. And we must recognize this peril if we would be kept from it.

The Christian who is living in victory is in himself no better than the carnal Christian who is plainly sinning. The self-nature of the two is identical: hopelessly sinful. The only good thing about the victorious Christian is Christ; and we deserve no credit for Christ; the glory and honor and victory are all His. True victory, therefore, must keep us humble; and it will.

Yet it is a sad fact that more than one young person, or older person, has gone away from a Victorious Life conference where the Lord was received in His fullness and victory was entered into, and has returned to the home church to speak disparagingly or critically of other Christians, even perhaps of the minister himself, who may not have seen and accepted the truth of victory by faith in Christ. This has brought the very preciousness of the message of victory into disrepute, has wounded the Lord in the house of his friends, and of course has made it practically impossible to pass on the truth of victory to those who have not known it.

The truly victorious Christian speaks of others always in humility, in keen consciousness of his own natural sinfulness and helplessness, and in that perfect love that is kind, vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, taketh not account of evil, never faileth (I Corinthians 13:4-8).

Then there is the peril of being un-teachable.  Here is one who has entered into victory through faith in Christ. At once there comes from the Holy Spirit a new illumination on God’s Word, a new knowledge of things never before known, a new wisdom, unmistakable and directly from God. There is a flood of light on duties that were heretofore confused.

He is able to counsel others as never before. All this is not imaginary; it is genuine and vital. And he praises God with gratitude unspeakable.

Then perhaps a fellow Christian criticizes him for something he has done or said, and says that it was not as it ought to be. This fellow Christian may not know Christ as victory at all, and the one who is criticized is keenly conscious of the fact that his critic has not the illumination and the victory that are his own. Now comes the peril: that this victorious Christian will say to himself about the other: “He cannot tell me anything about this. He does not know the secret of victory. The Bible has not been opened to him by the Holy Spirit as it has to me. He has not the light that I have.” And so the heart is closed to the criticism, and the man has fallen into the peril of being un-teachable. And all the time the criticism that has come to him from perhaps an unenlightened Christian is sound and true, and God sent it to him for his own guidance and blessing.

May God deliver us in victory, from this subtle danger of unwillingness to learn from those who may indeed not be as far along in the Christian life as we are.   Even a completely victorious Christian can learn from the criticisms of unsaved, unregenerate people! And often he ought to. The Victorious Life is no guarantee of omniscience, of infallibility in knowledge. Humility of mind, eagerness to know any and every criticism that anyone may have concerning us, and then grateful acceptance of whatever truth there may be in that criticism (and there is pretty sure to be some truth in it), is our safeguarding against this peril of unconscious unwillingness to learn.

By Charles G. Trumbull

Edited by Verona