Final Perils of the Victorious Life

Messages on the Victorious Life

Message Seven – Part FourFinal Perils of Victorious Life

It is perilous to look back at the grace of God for our best blessings of victory in Christ as though those best blessings were necessarily in the past. This is an almost inevitable temptation, because the new blessings of victory when one first trusts Christ for it are so new, so unexpected, so overwhelming and more than satisfying.

And we may look longingly back at those first hours or days or months, and unconsciously suppose that we can never again have just the rich blessing we had then. This is to deny the sufficiency of God’s grace, it is to deny that our Lord is “the same yesterday, and today, and forever.”

And it is equally perilous to look to the future as the time when God’s best blessings of victory for us are to be realized. God wants us to have His best now. To put that best either into the past or into the future is a peril that Satan will do his best to bring us into and keep us in. But the sufficiency of our Lord’s grace, while it was true in the past and will be true in the future, is described by the Holy Spirit in the infallible Word of God as being in the present “My grace is sufficient for thee,” is His word (II Corinthians 12:9). And the very name of our Jehovah – Jesus is the “I am.”

May just a word be spoken here as to another peril, that we may have a sensible recognition of this and be safe-guarded accordingly? It is as to the relationship of men and women in the spiritual life. In general, it is evident from the Word of God as to the marriage relation, and from experience and observation and common sense, that the deeper spiritual relationships between fellow Christians should observe the same lines that the ordinary conventionalities of life insist upon. That is, that the deeper spiritual relationships should be between men and men, and between women and women, rather than between two persons of opposite sex: unless indeed God is bringing together two such persons that their lives may be united in marriage.

Not that there should be any unnaturalness in this, or any unhealthy self-consciousness when men and women, older or younger, properly talk together or pray together about their Lord and their possessions in their Lord. But Satan as an angel of light may lead on through their spiritual fellowship two such persons into a spiritual intimacy and a spiritual dependence upon each other which is not of God, and which can lead to unhappiness in more than one life, or real disaster.

Finally, let us recognize the peril of being un-human – not inhuman, but un-human – because of the depth and intensity of our spiritual life. Not to be “human” is not of the Lord. We are living not only a spiritual life, but a bodily life as well; and we are living among those who also are in human bodies, in a world of rightful temporal interests as well as eternal interests. Let us not make the mistake of so living that persons shall say about us, as they have said of others, that we have a deep interest in others’ souls, but none at all in their bodies. Let us be human. Let us be kind. Let us deliberately make it our business to cultivate certain secular, human interests, that we may have points of contact with the many around about us who know nothing of the spiritual interests that are so precious to us.

Some of the greatest spiritual leaders, some of the most blessedly used ambassadors of Christ, have had hobbies, such as nature – study, music, or something else of that sort, which God has blessed to them and to others. Such a hobby keeps one in touch with the present-day wonderful world which God made. It gives one “bait” which he can use to catch the interest of another, and through that “bait” bring that other to Christ and to victory.

We are not to be afraid of healthy activities of the right sort. If we go with a friend to see or play a game of tennis or a watch baseball game, if we are watching or playing a game of checkers, let us not take it in such a way that everyone shall see that it has no real interest to us. We shouldn’t just be making a concession to the earthly interests of our unenlightened friends, and patiently waiting until we can give our time to the really worth-while things. This is not victory. It may sound harsh to call it asceticism and even priggishness (morally superior); but that is the way it will seem to others, perhaps rightly so.

God wants to deliver us all the time from the peril of narrowness in the Victorious Life. If we have any musical ability, let us praise God for it and let us ask Him prayerfully to enable us to cultivate that ability that He may use our music to His glory. And this does not mean that we shall play or sing only hymns, either. There is plenty of other music that is not of the Devil, and that God would use to keep us close to our fellows in a joyous, healthy way.

Let us be very careful, too, about social courtesies. Christian people whose life-interests are wrapped up in the deeply spiritual are often criticized for carelessness about being courteous and give attention to their social relationships with others. This must not be; it dishonors our Lord. The Christian who is trusting Christ for victory should not be less caring toward the men of the world or women about life concerning good manners, true gentleness, and unselfish thoughtfulness for others. “The King’s business” never requires discourtesy or lack of proper attentiveness to our fellows.

Moreover, let us not be deceived by letting the great needs of the outside world or of the church of Christ make such demands upon our time and energies that we are taken too much away from the loved ones in the home circle whom God has entrusted to us as our own supremely precious stewardship.

Husbands or wives who have found Christ as their victory are often so eager to share this blessing with the greatest possible number that they unconsciously neglect the home – the children or the married partner – upon whom God would have them lavish their love and testimony and care beyond all others.

Christians rejoicing in Christ as Victory sometimes need to “learn first to show devotion at home,” remembering that “if any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” (I Timothy 5:4, 8).

The Victorious Life is the only all around life on earth. It is lived by body, mind, and spirit: in all three victoriously: and it touches our fellow beings at proper points of contact with their bodies, minds, and spirits.

We need to always be on our guard, sensitively awake to the approach of the enemy in all the thousand-and-one ways by which he will seek to find a cleft in our armor. But – and here is another peril to be avoided – we are not to think more of Satan than of Christ. We are to recognize the terrible reality of Satan.  We are to study the Word of God about our Adversary, that we may know all that God wants us to know about him; and then we are to look away from Satan unto Jesus; for amid all these things we “are more than conquerors through him that loved us,” and “Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place” (Romans 8:37; II Corinthians 2:14). May God’s grace abound in all of us.

By Charles G. Trumbull

Edited by Verona