So many Christians today complain about being victims. Wouldn’t you rather be a victor?
you hurting? If you are, you know that physical, emotional or mental
pain can make life very unpleasant. I learned this fact firsthand: I was
sexually, physically, verbally and emotionally abused from the time I
can remember until I left home at the age of 18. Shortly after, I was
married—and during the next five years I experienced further rejection,
abandonment, betrayal, and finally, divorce.
I know what it is to be a
victim. But I have learned from experience and the Word of God that we
can have victory over pain instead of being the victims of it. I also
know that we can increase or decrease the intensity of our pain by the
way we handle it.
The medical field offers
“pain management” classes for people who have chronic pain that
medication cannot alleviate. “Stress management” seminars are available
to people who suffer from stress, which can cause emotional or mental
pain as well as physical illness.
Like secular organizations developed for this purpose, the Bible also
teaches “pain and stress management.” Romans 8:37 says, “Yet amid all
these things we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory
through Him who loved us” (The Amplified Bible).
The key is that the victory
is “through Him.” If we can learn how to lean on God and receive the
strength we need, we truly can “do all things through Christ who
strengthens us” as stated in Philippians 4:13 (NKJV).
God is more than enough for
any situation. He is El Shaddai, the all-sufficient God. As we learn to
draw the needed strength from Him, we can live from strength to strength
instead of from weakness to weakness. When something drains our
strength and we find ourselves in a stressed or weakened position, God
has promised to enable us and be our helper.
In fact, He sent the Holy
Spirit expressly for this purpose. Jesus told His disciples before He
died that His going away would be good for them because He would send
the Holy Spirit to be their “Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Advocate,
Intercessor, Strengthener, Standby)” (John 16:7, The Amplified Bible).
In His earthly body, Jesus
could not be with everybody all the time, helping with specific
situations, but the Holy Spirit can. He is not only with the believer, but also in
him. God is referred to in Scripture as “our refuge and strength, a
very present help in trouble” (Ps. 46:1, NKJV). We can receive His help,
however, only by asking for it—by relying on and trusting in Him.
As we spend time with Him and
talk with Him in a simple, familiar way—we begin to draw strength from
Him. If this practice continues not only in times of weakness but also
during times when we are strong, we can begin to live from strength to
If we wait until we are weak
to draw upon His strength, we will live from weakness to strength and
back to weakness. But if we never allow our “tank to get empty,” so to
speak, we can live from strength to strength and from glory to glory.
What Constitutes Victory?
Some people are under the
misconception that victory is the absence of problems. But I don’t
believe that real victory is defined as “being problem-free.” True
victory for the child of God comes right in the midst of the storm—when
it’s raging and there is yet peace, when tragedy has struck and one can
nevertheless say, “It is well with my soul.”
Romans 8:37 says that “we are more than conquerors.” I believe this means that we can have assurance of victory even before the battle begins.
We can have such confidence in God that no matter what happens or
threatens to happen, we can be on top rather than on the bottom. We do
not have to live perpetually under something—under attack, under guilt, under financial pressure and so on.
Are you under attack or on the attack? Some people get defeated just thinking about what could happen. They continually live in fear of some future disaster.
From Victim to Victor
Trials will come; the Bible
assures us of that (see John 16:33). But we don’t have to let them get
the best of us. There are several steps we can take toward becoming a
victor over our situations.
1. Develop the proper attitude.
A large part of successful pain management is developing the proper
attitude toward it. I went through a period of many months during which I
had almost continual headaches. I prayed and sought medical counsel,
and the doctor’s report was that unless I wanted to live on addictive
pain medication, I would have to learn to live with and manage the
Thankfully, his report was
not the final word on the matter; God ultimately delivered me from the
headaches. But during the time of trial, I learned some valuable lessons
about pain management that may be applied to emotional and mental pain
as well as physical.
I learned that I had to lean on God to strengthen me.
Ephesians 3:16 teaches us to be strengthened in the inner man. If we
are strong inside, the things coming against us from the outside cannot
First John 4:4 says, “Greater
is he that is in [me], than he that is in the world” (KJV). We might
say it like this, “Greater is He that is in me, than he that is coming
If you are physically weak,
you might need to eat to gain strength. If you are weak in faith, you
undoubtedly need to eat spiritual food. Spend time in the Word and time
with God in worship and fellowship, and you will experience His strength
flowing into you.
I learned not to talk about the problem or even think about it unless absolutely necessary. This
is a challenge because the flesh wants sympathy. Even though talking
about it does not solve the problem, there is a longing in us for people
to know what we are going through. Ultimately, we must learn to go to
The more we talk about our
problems, the bigger they become. We can blow them entirely out of
proportion by giving them too much attention. I learned that by paying
excessive attention to my problems, I was actually paying attention to
I am not suggesting that we
stick our heads in the sand like ostriches and pretend that we have no
problems. I am suggesting that after doing what we can, we cast our
cares on God—giving them to Him who is more than enough for any problem
that ever existed.
2. Trust God to change you.
We must turn ourselves over to God and trust Him to do what we cannot.
We can exercise a certain amount of discipline and self-control, but no
matter how much we struggle, we cannot change ourselves. God has to do
it. Otherwise, He wouldn’t get the glory.
When I detect weaknesses in
myself, I remember that His strength will be made perfect in them if I
trust Him. God is more than enough—even to handle us!
We sometimes think God is
surprised at the way we act and the things we do. We must remember that
He knew us before we knew Him, and He knew everything we had ever done
or ever would do. Psalm 139 says He knows even the words in our mouths
that are still unuttered (see v. 4)!
I am no surprise to God, and
neither are you. No matter how deep in the pit a person may find
himself, God’s arm is not too short to save him. We cannot uphold
ourselves and cause ourselves to be able to stand in His presence. But
Romans 14:4 says, “And he shall stand and be upheld, for the Master—the
Lord—is mighty to support him and make him stand” (The Amplified Bible).
3. Submit yourself to God. To
get from being the victim to being victorious, we must know the truth
about resisting the devil. We are taught in the Word of God: Submit
yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you
(James 4:7, KJV).
I believe this Scripture
tells us that true resistance is found in submission. As we submit to
God and His instructions, we are resisting the devil.
Satan has a plan for our
destruction, but God has a plan of deliverance and victory—a plan to
prosper us and not to harm us (see Jer. 29:11). It is His will that His
children be victors, not victims. To experience the victory, we must
follow His instructions.
The book of James teaches us
that when we are experiencing trials of any sort and are deficient in
wisdom, we are to ask God, who will give to us liberally and
ungrudgingly, without reproach (see James 1:5). In other words, He will
show us what to do or what not to do in order to have victory. Then we
must draw strength from Him, and do it by His grace.
I thought for years that
resisting the devil meant only that I should take some sort of
determined stand against him. I believed if I rebuked him long enough
and loud enough, he would eventually leave me alone.
However, I discovered this
was not the case. When I finally sought God for answers to my own
weaknesses and lack of victory over them, I realized that though I was
attempting to resist the devil, I was not submitting myself to God and
His instructions. God will show us how to get out of trouble, but we
must pay heed to His advice and take action as He leads.
For example, the answer to
your pain, if it is caused by stress, may be declining some of the
opportunities for service or social activities that come your way and
thus reducing the demands on your time. Learn to say no! The person who
refuses to minimize the number of items on his schedule at the direction
of the Holy Spirit will continue to suffer the effects of stress no
matter how long and hard he resists the devil.
Many times I was so upset by
my approach to the problems of life that I ended up acting like the
devil instead of resisting him. Many Christians are not very nice when
they are having personal problems. Our response to the storm partially
determines the length of the storm. We can learn to manage our pain and
not let the devil manage us.
Remember: This too shall pass! What you’re going through won’t last
forever, but God will…and so will you. The Bible teaches us to endure. We might say that means “to outlast the devil.”
Paul wrote to the Hebrews,
“You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you
will receive what He has promised” (Heb. 10:36, NIV). He reminded them
that their hope in God was not in vain, “for He who promised is
faithful,” and that their confidence in Him would be richly rewarded
(vv. 23,35). Paul’s counsel applies to us today. Let us declare with
him, “We are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of
those who believe and are saved” (v. 39).
I could easily have given up
when I was overwhelmed by the emotional pain that came from many years
of rejection and abuse. Even the healing process the Holy Spirit took me
through brought fresh anguish as He led me to deal with issues from my
past. But I was determined to be free, and I learned to trust God to
deliver me—in His timing—and to turn my sorrow into joy (see Ps. 30:5;
If you, too, are determined
to be free—to be more than a conqueror—remember to keep your eyes and
your conversation on Jesus and off the situation. Submit yourself to God
in all things. Spend quality time with the Lord, drawing upon His
strength. Wait in His presence, and you will find that He is more than
enough to bring you through to victory, no matter what kind of pain you
may be experiencing.
Joyce Meyer is a New York Times best-selling author and founder of Joyce Meyer Ministries. She has authored more than 90 books, including her new Living Beyond Your Feelings (Hachette). To read her past columns in Charisma, go to charismamag.com/meyer. Visit her online at joycemeyer.org.