When We Feel Defeated

by Sandy Pope on June 7, 2010

in OVERCOMING LIFE'S CHALLENGES

I remember as a little girl watching ABC’s Wide World of Sports on Saturday afternoons. I wasn’t a sports fan but I loved the intro to this program which featured sports footage accompanied by Jim McKay’s powerful and dramatic narration. “Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sport! The thrill of victory! And the agony of defeat…” Seconds before Jim McKay said “and the agony of defeat” there was a sudden blast of descending orchestral music with a visual of a 20-year-old ski jumper ferociously plummeting out of control off of a ski ramp into a crowd of spectators. I can imagine at that moment in time that ski jumper must have felt extreme defeat, embarrassment and failure. Click here to look at the video footage for yourself. It’s incredible to watch! I’ll talk more about this ski jumper’s story later in the article.

In our personal relationship with Jesus Christ we may have the best laid plans in place but similarly suffer loss and experience trials and disappointments that can lead to feelings of defeat that make us feel like our lives are tumbling out of control. For whatever reasons we experience difficulties, God is there in the midst of it all. He loves us and provides us with comfort. Jesus said in John 16:33(NLT), “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” Because of this, feelings of defeat should only be temporary and diminish as we draw closer to God for strength, peace and deliverance during hard times.

Why does God allow suffering? After all, he has the power to stop all suffering instantly. The truth is, God never intended for us to suffer or feel defeated. Suffering began when sin entered into the world (Genesis 3:1-13) and the consequences of sin immediately followed (Genesis 3:16-19). There are also so many things in life that occur that are beyond our control. We experience illness, loss of employment, loss of finances, loss of loved ones and other things that make us feel defeated. The Bible says when these things happen, it’s for our good (Romans 8:28) and that we should consider it pure joy (James 1:2). These can be difficult passages to receive if we’re trying to tackle difficult circumstances in our own strength or if we choose to focus on our circumstances rather than focusing on God. God does not enjoy seeing anyone suffer pain, disappointments and tragedy. But on the other hand, how can we truly experience the power of God and exercise our faith if we do not experience trials and difficulties? God uses difficulties to bring us closer to him and we are blessed by his faithfulness, grace and deliverance. He even uses pain and tragedy to bring unbelievers to faith in Jesus Christ. Whatever we go through, God will give us the peace to endure if we stand on his promises and trust him. Isaiah 26:3-4 says, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock.”

The Apostle Paul suffered great affliction for the advancement of the Gospel. In 2 Corinthians 1:3-11, Paul describes the severe hardships that he experienced in the Province of Asia. In light of all that happened, he begins verse 3 by saying, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort.” Then in verses 4-7, Paul talks about how the suffering and difficulties of each Christian is a benefit to the entire body of Christ “so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God”. There are many occasions when can take our “misery” and use it as a “ministry” to help others who are struggling through similar circumstances. In addition, our suffering produces endurance and perseverance. In verse 9-10, Paul talks about how he relied on God and not himself while facing adversity.  He also speaks of God’s deliverance from almost impending death and in verse 11 he mentions how the prayers of the believers were answered and helped in the advancement of the Gospel. Paul says that his confidence and hope is continuously in God’s deliverance. What a great example of reliance upon God despite strenuous circumstances!

We must also be alert and recognize that a battle is being waged against us to hinder our testimony and purpose that God has for our lives (Ephesians 6:12). Satan and his demonic forces are waging this battle against us. 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Satan was defeated forever when Jesus died and rose again. Yet in light of Satan’s eternally defeated condition (Luke 10:18; John 12:31; Rev 12:9; Rev 20:10), he will do all that he can to make us feel defeated and lose confidence in the Lord. If you are experiencing a satanic attack, claim God’s promises (Romans 8:31, Isaiah 54:17, Psalm 23:4). Stand in the power and authority of the Lord Jesus Christ and do not run away and retreat. Pray for God’s protection over your life and ask him to help you persevere when facing difficulties.  Ask God to reveal areas of weakness in your life. Pray on and put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:10 – 18). When Jesus was tempted in the desert by Satan (Matthew 4:1-11), he was armed with the word of God. God has given this to you to use as a sword. It’s important to remember that you cannot effectively use the armor that God has provided for you if you do not recognize that you are in a battle and as a result, you will suffer defeat again and again.

Although a spiritual battle is being waged against believers, not all defeat can be attributed to spiritual warfare. Ephesians 4:27 says, “do not give the devil a foothold”. Feelings of defeat may require some self-examination and seeking the Lord to know if our motives and desires line up with his will and timing. Also, leading a life of prayerlessness, submitting to sin and fleshly desires, lack of intimacy with God and complacency in studying the Bible can result in a defeated and spiritually unfulfilled existence. All of these things leave a gaping hole in our spiritual armor giving the enemy a clean shot. James 4:7-10(NLT) says, “So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.” If we suffer defeat because of any of these things, we have a loving Heavenly Father, who we can run to and ask for forgiveness. (1 John 1:9)

Now, getting back to the ski jumper mentioned at the beginning of this article. His name is Vinko Bogataj and he’s from a central European country called Slovenia. I was surprised to find out that he only suffered a minor concussion from the traumatic spill he took off that ski ramp. Bogataj is alive and well, now in his 60′s and still living in Slovenia with his family.   He never emerged as a great ski jumper and ultimately left  competitive ski jumping all together.   Here’s what’s interesting.   Bogataj was completely unaware that he had become somewhat of a minor celebrity in America until 1981 when he was contacted by ABC’s Wide World of Sports for their 20th year anniversary celebration. He had absolutely no idea that the Wide World of Sports video footage of his failed ski jump was being viewed by millions of Americans every Saturday for years.  When he arrived at the celebration, he was treated as if he was a gold medal winning world champion. Everyone wanted to meet the man who survived that fearful ski jump. To top it off, Muhammad Ali, one of the greatest sports legends of all time asked him for his autograph.  What a surreal moment for him!  I imagine that he must have felt some sort of vindication from what he may have considered to be a huge failure from his past. I don’t know where Bogataj stands with the Lord, but his story definitely bears some resemblance to Christian themes about how all things work together for our good.

In conclusion, whatever hardships, trials or difficulties that we may experience God is greater and uses these things to make us more dependent upon him. When we feel defeated we can get back on track by living victoriously in Jesus believing that he will comfort and help us. He is in control and greater than our circumstances. Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong (1 Corinthians 16:13). Let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up (Galatians 6:9). We are more than conquerors through him who loved us (Romans 8:37)! Lastly, if you’re someone reading this that has never trusted in Jesus Christ as your personal savior I have some great news for you. God loves you so very much and has tremendous plans for your life. He not only wants to save you from your sins so that you can experience eternal life and be with him in heaven, but he also wants to be there for you through life’s difficulties. Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). If you’ve never trusted Christ before, I want to offer you the opportunity to hear the Gospel for yourself. Simply click here.

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

sherry June 7, 2010 at 7:41 PM

I needed this today!!!

Lori June 8, 2010 at 1:57 AM

Suffering is definately a part of life. Great scriptures to meditate on. We don’t have to live as if we are defeated. We are to press on in any circumstances to win the prize God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Monica June 8, 2010 at 11:49 AM

I feel like you’ve been reading my journal :-)! Thank you for this WORD. Being out of work and expecting a new baby to feed and clothe was not in my plans. And I pray daily for the strength and peace and provision for our family. And today was another one of those days when I had to lay it all down at the feet of Jesus and say, “Help! I can’t do this without you.” I’ve come too far and lived through too much to believe He would ever leave or forsake me. I have seen the mighty work of His hands and know beyond all things that His words and promises are true. “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.” Ps. 37:25
And I will PRESS ON…

Monica L. June 25, 2010 at 10:13 AM

Thanks for the encouragement!

michele June 28, 2010 at 9:39 AM

Thanks so much for this article! That was great and so are you. God has given you a wonderful gift.

Tanisha C June 3, 2012 at 10:08 PM

2 years later almost to the date that this article was written and it is still blessing lives! Thanks for the word and helping to send reminders and REALITY checks to those feeling defeat!

Sharing God's Grace June 4, 2012 at 10:43 PM

@Tanisha C, To God be the glory… So glad this ministered to you. God gave me the strength to write it when I was going through… Thanks for reading and be blessed… :-)

Jeanne August 11, 2012 at 9:03 AM

I gave my LIFE to the LORD today.

Sharing God's Grace August 11, 2012 at 11:58 PM

@Jeanne, This is awesome, AWESOME news! The BEST decision you ever made. Praying for you on this next leg of the journey… God has GREAT plans for you! :-D

MaryGW October 27, 2012 at 10:41 AM

Thank you for this word of encouragement… I truly was led here this morning.

Sharing God's Grace October 27, 2012 at 6:48 PM

@MaryGW, Praise God! Glad you were encouraged… May God richly bless you! :-)

Lynda January 29, 2013 at 11:39 AM

I simply googled ‘psalms for feeling defeated’ and your piece came up – THANK YOU…it’s filled with words of wonderful wisdom and perfect links to what I was in need of today.
Praise God …
Lynda

Sharing God's Grace January 29, 2013 at 11:12 PM

@Lynda, I’m so glad you were encouraged by this article. To God be the glory for leading you to it and for it accomplishing his mission. Thanks for visiting Sharing God’s Grace. Please follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/sharinggodsgrace.

TIllman April 18, 2013 at 9:32 PM

God bless you. I was feeling so defeated today in every area of my life, but after reading this I am reminded of how grest God’s love is, thank you I feel so much better,

Sharing God's Grace April 20, 2013 at 12:35 PM

@TIllman, Thanks so much! So happy this article encouraged you and to God be the glory that you feel better. :-)

Tyrus April 24, 2013 at 3:24 PM

Thank you so much. I felt defeated because I just experienced today that I just want to give up. But, God has kept me and provided for me in so many different areas so many times and as a Christian who hasn’t done his best to fulfill his Christian duties, I know that God hasn’t given up on me yet. I thank him for grace, mercy and strength in times where I thought that I wasn’t loved or felt that he was listening, but he always is. He is a GREAT ALMIGHTY God who deserves praise even in the midst of the battle. I thank you for this message, as it is helping me as I sit at my work desk. Please pray for my journey and pray to have consistent faith in the midst of trials and tribulations.

Sharing God's Grace April 24, 2013 at 8:44 PM

@Tyrus, I’m so glad this article ministered to you. Keep hoping and trusting in the Lord. He sees you and knows all about your struggles. Isaiah 40:31 says, “But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” I will keep you in prayer. We serve a mighty God and nothing it too hard for him. Please be encouraged. God sees you and loves you so very much! :-)

Joseph August 29, 2013 at 12:37 AM

Very true and encouraging giving one the facts to face adversity by the horns…

Cristina August 30, 2013 at 11:15 PM

Sitting here feeling like everything’s coming down on me when I happen to stumble upon your post…Thank you, I definitely needed this.

Sharing God's Grace September 3, 2013 at 9:36 PM

@Cristina, I’m so glad this article encouraged you. God has a way of leading us to just what we need to hear in our time of need. Be blessed and encouraged.

Sharing God's Grace September 3, 2013 at 9:37 PM

@Joseph, Amen! It’s good to know that with God on our side, we’re not facing adversity alone. Be blessed and be encouraged, Joseph.

Alison November 26, 2013 at 9:30 AM

I just received some legal papers in the mail this morning and was feeling EXTREMELY defeated. I already know Christ, but I forget how strong He is, and how strong I can be in Him. God obviously knew I needed this, and I will turn to Him to help me get through my pending crisis. There IS joy in all of this! Thank you, Lord, for putting this article in my path today, and reminding me that I can do all things through YOU, who strengthens me. :)

Kathie Mendoza December 12, 2013 at 9:11 AM

Amen! Thanks for this, awesome words

Amanda January 5, 2014 at 2:10 AM

I woke up in the middle of the night, just overwhelmed with a sense of failure and defeat. After trying to pray and recall scripture, I googled ” I feel so defeated ” on my phone. I really needed to be reminded of God’s grace and forgiveness that He freely gives to us when we humble ourselves and admit our need. Thankyou so much for writing this article.

Ryan LEwis January 13, 2014 at 6:22 AM

So today after deciding to choose joy I still found myself feeling, in the words of google… Defeated. I didn’t have a word for it when i typed out the words, “when a christian feels… “.

An then it was confirmed, “count it all joy when faced with trials of many kinds…”. Four year s later and this article is still very relevant. #BlessJesus

Pamela April 9, 2014 at 11:04 PM

God has used your words to comfort many a weak and burdened heart. Thank you for allowing God to use you. These words were such words of comfort. Stated in a very meaningful presentation. Thank you, so much. May these words comfort many.

David August 10, 2014 at 7:34 AM

Thank you for the words of encouragement! I have struggled with an inferiority complex for as long as I can remember, because my dearest hopes and aspirations always seem beyond reach. I have grown very familiar with the feeling of defeat and it’s often a struggle to keep the faith and to believe that the Lord Jesus has a plan for me. There has been much anger, disappointment, self-doubt and fear in my life. But thank the Lord, His love is greater than all the negative feelings and experiences I have gone through! No matter how bad the situation was (last week was particularly tough at work), and how defeated I felt, He was always there to keep me going, although I usually realized this on hindsight. Your sharing has reminded me that we need to align our hopes and dreams with the Lord’s plan for us, and that with Him by our side, things will always turn out well. I am praying for greater clarity and acceptance of His purpose for me, to be able to enter into His peace and calmness in times of trouble, not to compare myself to others, and to be joyful always. Come what may, I know the Lord Jesus is on our side!

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