As we have concluded in Part 1, so long as we resist the feelings doubt and disbelief that arise in a circumstance of defeat, defeat will have no power over us.
When we refuse to tear ourselves down in our losses, we have truly begun to walk the path of victory in the presence of even our most pressing trials and tribulations.
However, a truth that very few people may ever come to realize is that defeat has the power to bring us face to face to the reality of our own hearts.
Though most of us may think of defeat as a feeling that is better off never being experienced in life, defeat naturally places us in a profound state of humility and resignation that the door becomes open to even the most staunch and upright individuals to engage in the act of self-reflection.
Defeat is not just pointless suffering, it is an opportunity to learn and a doorway to maturity.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
In an instant of pain, suffering, or affliction, each of us is bound to ask a single question that brings everything about the reality around us into full view, “is the pain I’m feeling right now worth it?”.
Every parent must ask themselves is the motivation of the well-being of their children strong enough to allow them to endure the hardships of parenthood.
Every artist must ask themselves is their drive to one day praised and recognized for their work powerful enough to carry them through the pain of being ignored.
Every teacher must ask themselves is the ambition to help children from all walks of life reach their full potential potent enough to persuade them to overlook the cynism and indifference of the students they teach.
Any man or woman who has ever set goals or expectations for themselves in life have all at some point in time been confronted with an obstacle or impediment so severe and so critical that they must force themselves to make a decision on whether to endure that pain and sacrifice necessary to get to the other side or give up their ambition completely.
Yet as bleak as this reality may seem, this test of will can in many ways be a truly be a valuable asset to each of us in our life once we fundamentally understand that while there are some goals that are worth the sacrifices we make to achieve them, there are also some goals that we set for ourselves that are quite simply better off never being obtained.
What it means to accept the truth of defeat is to accept that just as certain defeats in our lives are merely obstacles for us to overcome, some defeats may instead serve a warning to stop pursuing whatever it is we think we need to be satisfied lest we get actually get it and suffer for it.
because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.
Not every goal that we have in our lives is worth suffering for.
Whether it’s aiming to surround ourselves with people we like yet who bring out the worst in us, making ourselves out to be the most prominent figure in both our eyes and the eyes of others, or making the mistake I almost made and trying to find our identities in something other than God.
The hard yet plain reality of life is that because sin will always be apart of our lives, sometimes the goals we may set for ourselves may just be our sin in disguise.
Our selfishness may pass itself off as a goal of having a family, our pride may hide in the goal of fame and recognition, our greed may cloak itself in the goal of having wealth and prosperity.
The dreams and aspirations that we may have been holding onto for the vast majority of our lives could possibly be the key to our undoing.
And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,
One of the greatest skills we can have as believers in Christ is the ability to discern what things in our lives are worth suffering for and what things in our lives simply cause suffering because they are not good for us.
Although this skill could be honed over course of a lifetime yet still have much more room for improvement thereafter, at the core of what it means to be able to know what is good for us and what is bad for us is to be able to genuinely ask and answer the simple question “why is it that I want this for myself so badly?”.
When we go deep with ourselves and question or feelings and desires in the midst of defeat, the truth behind the feelings and desires we have slowly begin to manifest themselves right before our very eyes.
We may realize that the goals that we have are far more important than we have ever realized and soon find the renewed strength we to fight back against the pain as a result.
We may realize that the goals we have are truly not bad for us in and of themselves yet we ourselves are at fault for pursuing them for all the wrong reasons.
We may realize that the goals we have absolutely nothing of value to offer us in our lives and should be done away with completely regardless of who we may presently feel about them.
Whatever the case may be for each of us as individuals when we take the time to firmly establish what it is we want in life, we may either be blessed or cursed when we finally receive it.
Therefore, we ought to make a commitment to ourselves that when a day should come were we find ourselves face to face with the greatest obstacle we will ever encounter in our lives, the goal that we are striving for will be worth it.
Defeat is what we make of it.
If we choose to make our defeat out to be a symbol of everything that makes life empty and unpleasant, then it will be just that, meaningless and unavoidable suffering.
However, if we choose to use suffering as an opportunity to rethink and renew our priorities in life and the decisions that lye within it, defeat will become a greater ally to us than victory ever could.
While victory assures us of the value of everything we have learned and experienced thus far in our lives defeat can be both a warning to avoid the pitfalls of life and a reminder to pursue the things in our lives that are truly worth the effort.
If we respond to defeat with a mindset to improve and enhance ourselves, every victory becomes truly meaningful and every defeat can only lead to victory.
Thanks for Reading!