It’s an easy thing to say that Christians are a victorious people, but how do we prove it? What is there about our lives that shows the victory we claim in Jesus Christ? What’s the measuring rod for spiritual victory?
We often hear non-Christians say that if being a Christian is like that person (and they point to someone who identifies themselves as a Christian), they want no part of it. Why would they say that? If our life is victorious, why wouldn’t people want to live it? Good question.
“He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly; He guards the paths of justice, And preserves the way of His saints.” Proverbs 2:7-8
“He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.” NIV
Experiencing and expressing victory during our lifetime on earth is a total dependence on God’s wisdom and guidance. Notice the four steps Solomon shared about having victory in life.
- God stores up sound wisdom for the upright
- God is a shield to those who walk uprightly
- God guards the paths of justice
- God preserves the way of His saints
Keep in mind that Solomon is writing to his son and telling him to “incline” his ear to wisdom, “apply” his heart to understanding, “cry out” for discernment, “lift up” his voice for understanding, “seek” wisdom as silver, and “search” for wisdom as for hidden treasures – “Then you will understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God” (Proverbs 2:1-5). Solomon says that is because “the Lord gives wisdom” and “From His mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Proverbs 2:6).
The process of living victoriously begins by being “upright.” The Hebrew word is yashar, an adjective, and means “to be straight as a road, even, level, right, pleasing, correct.” Some English translations use the word “righteous” for yashar. That is the life God has called His people to lead – upright, righteous, straight, pleasing, correct.
However, how can anyone be yashar when the Bible says, “There is none righteous, no, not one. There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.” (Romans 3:10-12 – also see Psalms 14 and 53)
Paul answered his own question a couple of chapters later in Romans:
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned— (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification. For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.) Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous. Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Righteousness is a “gift” God gives to those who agree with Him about their sin and His Son. It is not something we deserve or can earn. I can’t go up to God and demand it. I must bow humbly before Him and ask for mercy and forgiveness. It is in that act of humility and His generous Grace that we gain tremendous wisdom.
Sound wisdom is kept in store for the righteous. There is no sound wisdom kept in store for the unrighteous. Prior to Solomon telling his son how sound wisdom is kept in store for the righteous, he said this about those who lack wisdom – “fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7) and “fools hate knowledge” (Proverbs 1:22). Solomon also wrote – “fools die for lack of wisdom” (Proverbs 10:21).
God is a “shield” to those who walk uprightly. The Hebrew word translated “shield” is magen and comes from the word ganan (to defend, cover, surround). The magen (shield) was a strong covering to a soldier. He depended on it to keep him alive during fierce battle. God is always our “shield” as we battle with the enemy of our soul. Jews still use the word magen. HaMagen (The Shield) was a Jewish defense group in Palestine during World War I. The famous Star of David in Hebrew is Magen David (Shield of David).
God “guards” the paths of justice. The Hebrew word “guards” is natsar and means “to watch, guard, protect.” What does He guard? The “paths of justice.” These are the paths that His children walk. It is a godly attribute to care about justice because that is the path God has given us to walk. God is a God of perfect justice and we are His children.
God also “preserves” the way of His saints. The Hebrew word “preserves” is shamar and translates as “to keep, guard, protect, watch.” It’s the same word translated as “keep” in Genesis 2:15 – “Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.” God gave Adam the job of shamar the garden – keep, guard, protect, watch over. Though Adam failed miserably at protecting the garden and his wife, God never fails to guard and protect His children as they live their lives in this world (the way of His saints).
What is the result of what God does for us? “Then you will understand righteousness and justice, Equity and every good path” (Proverbs 2:9). Isn’t that amazing! God guides us, shields us, guards us and preserves us and we get the blessing of understanding righteousness and justice, equity and every good path. Awesome!
In Christ’s Love and Grace,
“Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”