Victory Through Christ!

Written by Joy Groenleer (Califonia)

Joy is a Salvation Army Officer, presently serving at the College for Officer Training in Southern California, where she teaches Homiletics and Public Ministries. She has an MA in Biblical and Theological Studies. She is mom to 3 daughters and loves running marathorns.

February 7, 2023

As an extrovert, I’ve always enjoyed playing team sports – basketball, softball, volleyball and anything involving competition alongside others to seize victory!
It wasn’t until later in life that I realized the benefits of running.
Today, it is something that continues to help me to live the victorious life.

Six years ago, Larry, my husband of 18 years, suddenly and unexpectedly passed away after experiencing a heart attack.
My world was shaken.
I had lost the love of my life, my partner in ministry, the father of my 3 young children, and a faithful follower and disciple of Christ.  

In addition to turning to God, my stronghold and source of comfort, I also found that running was a helpful way for me to cope with the loss.
While running, I would listen to words of inspiration, hope, joy, comfort and strength from Christian artists and groups whose words were just what I needed to hear.
From their songs, I was reminded that God is faithful and good, and in spite of the pain and sorrow, my heart could say

“Thy will be done!”. 

It took many running routes of soul-searching and heart-healing for me to finally say, “it is well with my soul.”
Running was my respite, my quiet time with the Lord, my much-needed silence and solitude time of soul care.
In my running moments, I could bring my heart to the One who created it.
I could bring my tears to the One who could wipe them away.
I could bring my life to the One who continues to use it for His glory!
I could turn my loss into victorious living!

God’s Word from 1 Corinthians 15:55-57 (NIV) states,

“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 

1 Corinthians 15:55-57 (NIV)

The apostle Paul’s purpose in writing his letter to the Corinthians was to encourage them to “be perfectly united in mind and thought” (NIV, I Cor 1:10).
He reminded them of truths that should not divide them in their faith and love for Christ.  

Specifically, the passage is in reference to the words spoken by the prophets, Hosea and Isaiah, as fulfilment of prophecy. Christ came into the world to give us victory over sin and death!
These are words that remind us that we no longer need to live in the bondage of sin; Christ gives us the victory!
These are words that can bring us hope, joy and comfort through loss and grief.  

In my case, these words remind me that, because Jesus Christ was the Lord of Larry’s life and Larry is experiencing victory in glory today!
Six months after my husband passed away, I ran my first half-marathon.
My finisher’s medal that I received that day represented so much more than running 13.1 miles and crossing the finish line. 

The medal reminded me that after loss, there is still life and love; after hurt, there is still hope and healing; after pain, there is still peace and purpose; and after chaos, there is comfort and clarity.
The medal reminded me that, though the sorrow may last for the night, joy comes in the morning…and in the mourning.
I thank God for my first hard-earned half-marathon medal and for the victory that is only found through Jesus Christ!   

So what does victorious living look like?

Paul continues the passage above with verse 58 (NIV):

“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain”.

1 Corinthians 15:58 (NIV)

Friends, let’s stand firm! 
Brothers and sisters, let nothing move us! 
Church, let’s give ourselves fully (not partially, not half-heartedly, not when it’s convenient for us, not when we feel like it) to the work of the Lord.
Why do these things?
Because our “labour in the Lord is not in vain”.
This, my friends, is what victorious living looks like!
May we desire to live this life of VICTORY!

Prayer and Reflection:

  1. Ponder over some of the things that are keeping you from standing firm. 
    Write them down and bring this list to the Lord over the next few days.
    Commit to relying on the Holy Spirit to help you in these areas.
  2. What does “giving ourselves fully to the work of the Lord” look like for you individually? 
    Pray for God’s wisdom and discernment as you submit and surrender to His will.
  3. While on your next run, pray for victory in your life, and pray for boldness to help others live lives of victory through Christ!

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