What To Do In Case Of Defeat
Humbly acknowledge the defeat; but never give up. There is always a way out, seeing our God can make a way where there is no way. “If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1). I am speaking particularly to such as have enjoyed the experience of entire sanctification. First, we would distinguish between an involuntary defeat and a willful sin, There is a vast difference between the soldier who is shot down while his face is set against the enemy and is trying to do his best, and the soldier who willfully and deliberately surrenders to the enemy and proves himself a traitor. Certainly, no man can purposely and willfully sin against God and retain His favor; in such a case the only way back would be to come by contrition, and confession, and repentance, making reparation and restitution as far as possible — just as any sinner must come.
But every person who suffers an involuntary defeat is not at once a backslider and a sinner. “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand” (Psalm 37:23, 24). We may illustrate this by the child that is just learning to walk: if it falls while doing its best, and is trying to obey the call of the parent, it will not be “utterly cast down;” that is, it will not go clear down, because the parent “upholdeth him with his hand.” But if the child refuses to make the effort, and deliberately and willfully thrusts itself upon the floor, the parent is likely to engage in a different procedure.
There are three steps in the downward course: first, the fall, which, if consented to, eventuates in backsliding; then backsliding, if consented to, is likely to eventuate in apostasy; and apostasy takes one over the “dead line,” from which there is no return. Just as the Christian cannot stand still on the upward way, so in like manner, the backslider, or the sinner, cannot stand still on the downward way. Immobility is inconsistent with our being, morally, mentally or physically.
But the question is, What to do in case of defeat? Well, what can be done? What is between God and this soul? We answer, just that one thing which occasioned the defeat. God does not again bring up the past, which long since has been forgiven. We will suppose that the defeat came through a misunderstanding, or perchance through a heated argument with a brother in the very effort to do and to say what you believed to be right, you manifested the wrong spirit, and said some things that should not have been said . Now what can be done? Go to the brother and apologize; humbly acknowledge your wrong; then acknowledge it to the Lord, and put it under the blood by pleading the atoning merits of Jesus, and go on to victory. What more could be done in a thousand years?
When the children of Israel suffered defeat at Ai, because of an Achan in the camp, they were not obliged to return to Egypt and start all over again; no, they simply acknowledged the defeat, uncovered and destroyed Achan, and remained in the land of Canaan, and went on to victory, But if they had refused to acknowledge defeat, and failed to part with Achan, doubtless the Lord would have forsaken them, and their enemies would then have driven them back, clean out of the land of Canaan. We would suggest that it is well always to keep on hand a good stock of the grace of apology; never be above saying in sincerity, “I beg your pardon.” Transferring the blame, and excusing and justifying one’s self is not profitable, nor the best course to pursue.