Advent gives us a new view of Christ’s victory. It sets our eyes rightly on the “in-between” world where we live, as we anticipate Christ and His coming. We remember the victory that is already ours in Jesus, and we look ahead with eager expectation for what is to come. Along the way is the “in-between,” the world between victories.

In part one of this series we learned the danger of the in-between place: we are forgetful, and we are far too easily pleased with counterfeit hope. There is an enemy whose weapon is set to steal, kill, and destroy our hope and joy in Christ, (John 10:10).

But, there is also a Hero who came to give us life to the full! When the road between seems long and slow, with far too many detours, there is a way to press on.

Let’s explore three ways to live in a world between victories: we fix our eyes on Hope, we despise the shame, and we proclaim Christ.

1. We fix our eyes on Hope.

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

2 Corinthians 4:18

What is seen now in this world between victories is temporary. When we look ahead to the unseen coming victory, we stir hope in our hearts. We believe that these present sufferings are not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed in us (Romans 8:18).

The in-between place is often heavy: we hurt; we groan; we are hard-pressed; we are perplexed; we are persecuted; we are struck down. The enemy wants us stuck here. Or worse yet, to seek out counterfeit hope when the weight presses in even more.

But, from this place we can look behind us to the good news of great joy (Luke 2:10) and Christ’s completed work on the cross, and we look ahead to His glorious return.

And while it is essential that we remember who we are in Christ, sometimes it is good to remind ourselves of what we are not.

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed…

2 Corinthians 4:8-10

The God of all hope is with us! Therefore, we do not lose heart.

We are constantly renewed in our day to day, because we have hope beyond our current circumstances. In light of eternity, we know our troubles are but momentary, and the eternal glory before us far outweighs our present reality. We live in a world between victories by fixing our eyes on what is eternal, (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).

2. We despise the shame.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Hebrews 12:1-2

Despise literally means “to think little of.” To almost defiantly deem something as nothing because it is unworthy of our attention. Jesus thought little of the shame of the cross, because there was great joy before Him. The anguish of the cross was real and excruciating. We know it weighed heavily on Him, but it was not preeminent. He knew the triumphant victory ahead. He knew He was about to conquer death! And that sustained Him.

Jesus endured the anguish of the moment because He knew the ultimate joy and victory ahead.

That means when I find myself in the depths of discouragement, I don’t have to give the discouragement more recognition than it deserves. I can think little of it, resist even as it persists. I press on because I believe the joy that is coming. Our enemy would rather see us collapse under the burden of suffering and shame, but that is not the future Christ has prepared for us.

Living between victories means shame, discouragement, pain, and suffering do not get the final say. Jesus wins!

We have the power and example from Christ to lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and run with endurance the race of the in-between place, (Hebrews 12:2). Praise be to God!

3. We proclaim Him.

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”

1 Peter 2:9-10

During this “meanwhile,” we are His. We are redeemed recipients of His mercies that are new every moment. We once walked in darkness, but no longer! In a world between victories, we live in His marvelous light, and with grateful joy, proclaim His excellencies to a weary world.

Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

We shine His light to proclaim Him and give Him glory. We expose the darkness to His marvelous light, and we point others to the Hope that sustains us during the already, but not yet. His Kingdom has come! And His Kingdom is coming!

All this leads us to three significant truths, and the ways they overlap lead us to savor Christ.

Discouragement is real.

Sometimes the discouragement feels all-consuming, casting a shadow over every facet of our days. But when we are in Christ, discouragement, pain, suffering, and shame no longer get to hold space as the main thing. Living in Christ in the world between victories means I have hope as a sure and steadfast anchor for my soul (Hebrews 6:19).

Christ is a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head (Psalm 3:3). He lifts my gaze higher than my circumstances. I fix my eyes on Jesus, the author, the perfecter. There is joy in that – in knowing He is using this space between the victories to perfect my faith, to make me holy as He is holy.

“And after I have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called me to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish me.”

1 Peter 5:10

Victory is already ours!

Our Hero has come! Remember the baby born at Christmas that grew into the man, tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin, and gave His life as a ransom for many?

Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” 

1 Corinthians 15:57-58

We are living in a world between victories.

We are sorrowful at times, but always rejoicing, (2 Corinthians 6:10). How do we forge ahead as we long for a better country? We fix our eyes on the eternal, we choose to esteem Christ above the hardships in this life, and we shine His light before others.

But, wait! There’s more to living in the hard in-between place! Here’s part three: Be on the lookout for part three: 3 Steps to Living in Advent Hope.


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