I have frequently made the statement: The Kingdom is not triumphalistic, however, it is inexorably victorious! In response I have asked for clarity. At first encounter that phrase may seem paradoxical. Both terms may be used interchangeably, but there is a subtle but important difference. The simple phrase triumphal focuses more on changing external circumstances. Victorious is an internal attitude and posture that exists regardless of external circumstances.
We need to understand this distinction between triumph and authentic victory. We can win many battles (triumph) and still lose the war (victory)! We often ask God to make us triumphant in order that we may have victory. His purpose is for us to be victorious and consequently be proven to be triumphant.
My Biblical pre-supposition is that everything that God seeks to accomplish is done so with humility and mystery. God’s own Son, creator and ruler of the universe, was born in a stable. For me, acknowledging and embracing God’s divine humility and embracing His personal choice has been both enlightening and disconcerting. Each time I encounter this aspect of God, choosing humility, a wave of amazement sweeps over me with an enlarged love for God and acknowledgement of His ways being perfect.
God the Father is humble. He would not request our humility, without demonstrating that same characteristic in His own behavior. This is demonstrated in the life and ministry of our Lord Jesus. It appears as an inviable principle.
His intentionality is clear when He says in Scripture: I have chosen that which is weak. Weakness for us has always been a no! For God, omnipotent and eternal, He prefers, actually chooses, to enter humanity’s distress and complexity when we are weak and defenseless.
Presently, I am rejoicing afresh in my weakness, increasing due to age and physical limitations. However, I discover repeatedly that I am convinced of the ultimate victory of our Lord Jesus Christ over the rulers and rogue systems of this world system.
In our weakness we unaffectedly turn to Him in His person and presence as our refuge. It is our desire for personal strength poses the danger of our seeking to use Him to fulfill our own agenda. My first encounter with this was quite shocking. On one occasion, I heard the Lord respond something like this: you should be more aware of the manner in which you use the word “please” in seeking to influence me as your Father.
It is difficult to communicate what this simple insight accomplished within the depths of my human spirit. The word “please” almost disappeared within my prayer life. It was most often an effort to use God to fulfill my own agenda. My desire to “have it my own way” was triumphalistic. I wanted to use Him to stay on top of the external circumstances, demanding to be protected, defended, and made wealthy, healthy.
Actual spiritual victory begins in humility. We, like His own Son, may need to be “born in a stable” to truly become mature sons and daughters living victoriously in the midst of weakness! He has and He will continue to allow each of us to experience weakness as a mysterious form of wisdom that must be discovered. Humility defies explanation.
Listen, as Christ instructs us very personally: “Learn of me. I am meek and lowly. In your meekness, you will find rest.” Rest is, in itself, a form of victory. He seeks to prepare us to represent Him in maturity and effectiveness. May each of us learn to continually live and abide in genuine victory through Him who loves us!