Our public victories are preceded by our private victories. Consider what David said when he said he would confront Goliath. “‘Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine (Goliath) will be like one of them’” (1 Samuel 17:36) Then we read this, “So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone” (1 Samuel 17:20). David won a battle privately with the sheep, and then won a public victory over Goliath.
One of Wendy’s and my favorite songs is “Inner Man” by Phil Driscoll. The song starts with these lyrics:
“Can you can you hear it
The voice of the hero in you
Listen to your inner man
Speaking what you never dreamed
Can you hear your inner man
He’s calling for the hero in you
His voice is getting clearer now
Urging you to press on through
Don’t listen to your mind
Listen to your heart”
In the rest of the song, we hear over and over “You’re a winner, you’re a winner.” It was a crucial message for us as we broke off the loser culture that had developed in us.
As I think about the message of this song and the truth that inner victory almost always comes before outer victory, I am reminded of one of the most important questions to ask ourselves which will grow the hero inside of us. It is this: What is God doing in me now? Or it can be asked this way: what is being developed in me now through the circumstances I am facing?
James gives us some scriptural insight to the importance of this question: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4).
James says we are tested in our faith through “all kinds of trials.” Trials are things we don’t like in our lives. When we experience things we don’t like, there is a testing of our faith (beliefs) involved. If we can identify specifically what we are being tested in, we can experience pure joy because we will know something very good is being developed in us through this. The trial is actually an opportunity to get a private victory which will lead to public victories. This is one of the main ways we grow the hero in us.
Here are some examples of trials and what can be developed in us through them:
Financial trials give the opportunity to develop
A greater trust in the Lord as provider
The ability to steward finances at a higher level
Our joy in a time of lack
Relational trials give the opportunity to develop:
Love (keeping our love on for others)
Wisdom and clarity
Personal weakness trials give the opportunity to develop:
Our biblical identity (we are not who our past says we, but we are who God says we are)
A greater connection to God’s empowering grace to help us overcome
Being righteousness and forgiveness conscious instead of sin and guilt conscious
Our frustrations have gold in them for us. When we ask, “Lord, what are you developing in me through this frustration?”, we will begin to see something we are equipped for to get a major private victory over. As we embrace God’s power and wisdom to do, we are growing the hero in us that will cause us to release greater public victories in the future.
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Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.