Question: “What is the key to living a victorious Christian life?”
Answer: The victorious Christian life is the life that is lived, by faith, in a moment-by-moment surrender to God. The victorious Christian life is rooted and grounded in faith. The whole of Hebrews 11 tells the stories of men and women who, by faith, were victorious in some way. Our God is always victorious, no matter the foe. Even the cross of Christ was not a defeat for the Lord, but a victory: “Now the prince of this world will be driven out,” Jesus said in the final week of His earthly ministry. At His trial before the high priest, Jesus testified, “You will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven” (Mark 14:62). That’s the victory believers share in.
The victorious Christian life is a life lived in triumph over “everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (1 John 2:16). It is the conquering of fear, knowing God’s peace (John 14:27; 16:33). It is perseverance through “trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword” (Romans 8:35), showing us to be “more than conquerors through him who loved us” (verse 37). The victorious Christian life naturally leads to a defeat of death itself (1 Corinthians 15:54–55) and a glorious reward in heaven (Revelation 21:7).
“The righteous will live by faith” (Romans 1:17), and it’s impossible to overemphasize the importance of faith in living the victorious Christian life: “Everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God” (1 John 5:4–5).
Part of living the victorious Christian life is properly dealing with temptation. First Corinthians 10:13 says, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” In the context of this verse, Paul is speaking to a church surrounded by idolatry and temptation. There were social, financial, and political pressures to return to their old ways and participate in pagan practices. God in His faithfulness told them, and us, that there is no temptation anywhere at any time that will take Him by surprise, and He will always make a way to escape it and thus endure. When a Christian faces a temptation, God will always give a clear way of avoiding the sin, but it is still the choice of the individual to take the way out or not. Avoiding temptation requires moment-by-moment submission to God.
In John 15, Jesus tells a parable that gives a key to the victorious Christian life. Jesus Christ is the vine, the source of life and health and wholeness, and we are the branches, utterly dependent on the vine. The word used over and over throughout the passage is most often translated as “abide” or “remain.” The original Greek word really means “stay where you are.” Where is the Christian? The Christian is in Christ (Ephesians 2:13).
The victorious Christian life is a journey of faith, not just for eternal salvation, but of daily decisions building up into lifestyle that reflects Christ (Galatians 2:20). Faith is the calm assurance that what we do not yet see is far more real, more substantial, more trustworthy than what we do see (Hebrews 11:1). The life of faith chooses to believe God in all things (Romans 4:3). “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3:1–4, ESV).
The victorious Christian life is lived with eyes set on the things of heaven, not of this world. Jesus is our model in this: “For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:2–3). The eternal life of the believer is set securely in Christ. We, too, are at God’s right hand, by faith. The victorious Christian is one who lives in that reality.