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May we shout for joy over your victory and lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the Lord grant all your requests. Psalm 20:5

We don’t celebrate our victories or the victories of others often enough. In old testament times armies that would go off to battle would do so behind their banner, a flag of sorts that told the world who they were. When victory was accomplished they raised their banners high in celebration.

The ultimate victory each of us has as believers is our salvation of course. We don’t fight for that; it was done for us by the King of Kings, Jesus Christ. That alone is cause for celebration on a daily basis. Our banner, in a sense, is life itself. As followers of Jesus Christ we have a hope the world can’t gain, a future in heaven for eternity and forgiveness and freedom from guilt. We have plenty of things to celebrate, so let the celebration begin!

This was brought to mind recently when a friend told me of a huge struggle he was having with a co-worker. My friend’s marriage was struggling and he wasn’t sure how much longer he could endure the pain of the failing relationship. Everything he did to try to make the relationship work seemed to fall by the wayside.

In the meantime, a woman at work had become a very good friend and sounding board. On one occasion she invited him to lunch with other co-workers. He went and had a great time. Then she invited him to her home for an after-work drink. It would have been very easy for him to give into the invitation but, as he said to me, “Right now with my marriage the way it is, I can’t trust myself to be alone with her. I feel like such a jerk for letting this happen.”

I realized what my friend was saying. He’d been struggling with thoughts of this woman for some time, yet had always put those thoughts out of his mind. He’d done nothing physically with the woman and had never been alone with her, but there was a strong emotional attachment.

Rather than allowing him to dwell on the ‘might-have-beens’ I reminded him of the victory he’d had! I encouraged him to celebrate the victory he had over temptation and sin. We read the story of Joseph and how he fled from the advances of Potiphar’s wife. I don’t think for a moment that he wasn’t tempted to give in, but he didn’t. That was time to celebrate even though for a time is seemed like a tough situation.

We need to take sin seriously in our lives, but we also need to take time to celebrate the victories we have over sin. We need to join in celebration with our friends when they overcome obstacles on the journey. We need to lift our banners high not only in our own victories but in the victories of others.

I’m happy to say, by the way, that my friend and his wife are rebuilding a rocky relationship. They aren’t out of the woods yet, but things got better once he started to celebrate the victories he had over temptation.

Take time each day to celebrate the victories you have through Jesus Christ. It will do your soul good!

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I’m guilty of dwelling on my past, my failures, my struggles and my temptations. I realize now that those things have kept me from celebrating the positives and dwelling on the victories I have in you. Thank you for setting me free. Empower me to live a life of victory and celebration. Amen.

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May 2012
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