Defeat is something that we’ve all faced at one time or another. It may have been at a kid’s baseball game. It may have been while trying to assemble the latest thing you bought at IKEA. It may have even been a relationship that completely disintegrated. Bottom line – we all know how defeat feels.
When we feel defeated our tendency as humans is to do several things – get depressed, dive into our coping method of choice or – worse yet – become utterly hopeless about ever finding victory again. If this is you, then I have some really good news for you today.
IT’S NOT OVER, GOD’S NOT DONE WITH YOU YET!
I apologize for screaming, but this news is just too good not to shout from the mountaintops. God is not done with our lives, when we face defeat. The story has reached it’s final chapter when everything falls apart. To be honest, it has just gotten interesting. At the point of our defeat, God is writing a better story. A story of comeback. A story of resurrection from disaster. All he is asking us to do is to join him in the process of the comeback.
How do we do that? What do we do we comeback from defeat?
Let me take a moment and mention a comeback story in the Bible that is all about this very subject. It is the story of the disciple named – Peter. He was a rough a tumble guy. A fisherman by trade, but Jesus called him out of that profession to fish for men. When Jesus called Him, Peter was on fire. He even said that he was willing to lay down his life for Jesus. Yet, in the darkest hours before the crucifixion we learn that Peter ended up denying even knew Jesus on three separate occasions.
How do you come back from that?
Well, in John 21:15-19 (ESV) we see the resurrected Jesus help Peter on his comeback journey. Here is what happened…
15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” 19 (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”
Here we see two important things for a comeback from defeat.
#1 – You’ve got to fall in love with Jesus all over again.
Often after a painfully defeating moment in our lives, we lose sight of our relationship and fellowship with God. In v. 15 we see that Jesus begins that loving and gentle calling of Peter to fall in love with him all over again.
For me this very thing happened with in the last year. I experienced a very difficult betrayal in my life and ministry. A person I trusted betrayed my church family in a very bad way. It nearly brought an end to the church. It caused me to consider doing something else with my life. The biggest thing it shook was my fellowship with God. My relationship with God came about praying for my survival rather than simply being in God’s presence. By God’s grace the last year, God has brought me back and reminded me of my first love – HIM.
Here are three quick tips. First, spend time daily in prayer, but make sure you have a plan or you will pray like 2 minutes and start playing on your smartphone. Second, read the Bible. You will need a plan here as well. You can find plenty on YouVersion.com. Third, spend time with other believers. Get involved with a small group bible study and stay committed to it.
Is this all? By no means. Here is the rest of the story.
#2 – You’ve got to learn to follow Jesus step by step.
This is the tough one, but as we look back at this encounter that Peter had with Jesus we discover a simple process that helps us all learn how to follow Jesus one step at a time. Let’s check out John 21:15-17…
15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.
Here we discover a process whereby we all can learn to follow Jesus. It goes as follows…
STEP #1 – LOVE HIM
STEP #2 – HEAR FROM HIM
STEP #3 – OBEY HIM
This what Peter did and many other in the Bible and throughout the Christian faith. We fall in the love with Jesus. He begins to reveal his will to us. We obey Him. We fall in love with Him more. The process keeps going on step by step.
Here’s the thing. This is tough at first. After a while it gets easier. The things is you can’t stop seeking after the Lord. Once you do, it’s like starting all over again.
So, if you are feeling defeated today, keep pursuing God. Don’t let you defeat lead you. Don’t let depression overwhelm you. Keep moving forward by God’s grace. He will sustain you.
Oh, don’t forget.
IT’S NOT OVER, GOD’S NOT DONE WITH YOU YET!