3 Ways Christians Should Respond When They Feel Defeated

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If defeat is abnormal Christian living, why do we sometimes feel defeated….or even experience defeat?

Is the Bible wrong when it teaches that we will be victorious over our enemies?

Was David living in delusion when he said that God would not let him be defeated?

Are Christians today living in a fantasy world, thinking that God will deliver them from their troubles and that God will cause them to live victorious over the enemy of their souls?

Maybe you have never given voice to these thoughts, but deep inside have asked questions like these.

woman standing under tree with arms outstretched

All throughout the Bible we read about God’s strategy for victorious Christian living: Ranging from the commandments and the Law He gave us that taught us how to live at peace with God and man, to Jesus’ example while He lived on earth.

Jesus ascended into heaven, but the Holy Spirit lives in us as our Guide, our Helper, and our Comforter – signaling to us in our spirit what is right and wrong Christian living.

Victory isn’t just possible for a Christian, it is normal for a Christian.

Just as hardship and spiritual attack are normal for the Christian life, so is victory. Victory should always follow warfare.

But what about those times when we either feel defeated, or genuinely experience defeat?

In our Good Morning Girls’ Bible study this week we read David’s cries for help when he was serious trouble and on the verge of utter defeat.

In Psalms 56, David finds himself captured by the Philistines.

We read the story in 1 Samuel 21. Once again, David is fleeing Saul, and in his effort to escape Saul’s deadly pursuit of him, he decides to flee to his enemies.

Wait, what? Who does this? 

And it turned out just as one would imagine. He fled the frying pan and landed right into the fire…and ended up having to act like he was having an epileptic seizure to escape.

And I am sure, that in penning the subsequent Psalms during which he continued to run from Saul, he felt defeated at times.

3 Ways Christians Should Respond When They Feel Defeated

There is a vast difference between feeling defeated and being defeated.

There is even a vast difference from experiencing a defeat and walking in defeat. As God’s children, we may experience defeat from time to time due to a foolish decision, but walking in defeat is the result of a lifestyle of sin.

David experienced defeat in Psalm 51 when he made the foolish decision to sleep with Bathsheba.

His moral defeat was made worse by his decision to have her husband killed in battle.

David’s capture by the Philistines was the result of a foolish decision to flee to his enemy, thinking that they would offer him shelter from Kind Saul.

There are times when we may not actually be defeated – when we’re in a spiritual battle – but we feel defeated because we are simply weary from the battle.

And it is here that many Christians give up…..right on the eve of their victory because they listened to their feelings more than they listened to God’s Word.

How would history be altered if David had listened to feelings of discouragement and defeat at the very moment that Saul was nipping at his heels?

Here are 3 ways Christians should respond when they feel defeated….or even experience defeat.

1. Let God’s Word be a mirror to your heart.

If you are truly experiencing a defeat, it is because you’ve allowed the enemy a foothold somewhere in your life. The enemy only has power over us when we give him room to have that power. 

If we’re truly walking in the Spirit, and not giving the enemy a foothold, we will have victory. This is God’s promise.

David’s sin with Bathsheba wasn’t a momentary action that led to defeat. 

In 2 Samuel 11:1 it says, “It happened in the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him, and all Israel…but David remained at Jerusalem.”

David wasn’t where he should have been.

A seemingly minuscule decision turned into a blow of defeat in his life as during that time when he should have been the Commander-in-Chief he was meant to be, he chose to stay behind in the comfort of his palace.

If there is defeat in our life, we need to open the Word and allow it to be a mirror of our heart: asking ourselves the hard questions if we have been obedient to God in every area of our life.

Have we been faithful in our daily quiet times with Him?

Have we been faithful to “gather with the Saints”?

Have we been faithful in giving to the Lord, both in time and money?

These and other probing questions are essential for uncovering any areas of our life left vulnerable to the enemy for bringing defeat.

2. Encourage yourself in God’s Word

When we feel discouragement and a sense of defeat creeping in, there is one place we need to turn: God’s Word.

In 1 Samuel 30, we find David and his men have returned to Ziklag where their wives and children were. Weary from battle, they were surely ready to gather their loved ones in their arms.

But what greeted them was something they didn’t anticipate.

The Amalekites had come, raided Ziklag, took their women and children captive, and burned the city to the ground.

Angry and grieving, his men turned on him and were prepared to stone him.

Certainly, it felt like defeat from all sides. His women and children were gone, and the men he’d learned to trust with his life now wanted to kill him.

And we read this verse in 1 Samuel 30:6, “Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughteres. Bud David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.”

We see that repeatedly in the Psalms.

“When I cry out to You, then my enemies will turn back; this I know because God is for me. In God (I will praise His word), in the Lord (I will praise His word), in God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” Psalm 56:9-11

“I will cry out to God most High, to God who performs all things for me. He shall send from heaven and save me.” Psam 57:2-3

“I will wait for You, O You his Strength; for God is my defense. My God of mercy shall come to meet me.” Psalm 59:9-10

“Through God we will do valiantly, for it is He who shall tread down our enemies.” Psalm 60:12

3. Build your faith in God

Faith is a muscle that has to be built and strengthened.

How do we build our faith in God? We start by choosing to trust Him in certain areas of our life, and as we watch Him come through for us, we find we can trust Him for greater and greater things.

But just as getting up off of the couch to go to the gym and work out is a choice, so faith is a choice.

It is a choice to take God at His Word and believe His promises are true.

It is a choice to reject the doubts that the enemy throws at us every day.

It is a choice to reject the promises of fallen man that their methods and their philosophies work.

It is a choice to accept the fact that others may not understand us, they may even speak against us, but God’s promises are true and His victory will come!

And the more we choose to put our trust in Him, the stronger our faith grows.

Here are 25 verses to battle fear to begin building your faith in God’s promise for deliverance and victory

Here are more posts from Psalms 51-100:How Should Christians Respond When They’re Under Attack?

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