Have you ever tried to encourage someone to follow their dream, only to walk away frustrated by their negative, defeated, “I can’t do this!”, “I’m not good enough!” attitude? This mindset is called “The Defeated Mindset”. A defeated mindset causes people to give up on their hopes, dreams, and goals, and even on the promises of God. It causes people to settle for less than God’s best for their lives. The defeated mindset has harassed many Godly people and it must be exposed so that we can be set free from it.
A demonstration of this mindset is found in 2 Kings 13:14-19 (NIV). “14 Now Elisha had been suffering from the illness from which he died. Jehoash king of Israel went down to see him and wept over him. “My father! My father!” he cried. “The chariots and horsemen of Israel!” 15 Elisha said, “Get a bow and some arrows,” and he did so. 16 “Take the bow in your hands,” he said to the king of Israel. When he had taken it, Elisha put his hands on the king’s hands. 17 “Open the east window,” he said, and he opened it. “Shoot!” Elisha said, and he shot. “The LORD’s arrow of victory, the arrow of victory over Aram!” Elisha declared. “You will completely destroy the Arameans at Aphek.” 18 Then he said, “Take the arrows,” and the king took them. Elisha told him, “Strike the ground.” He struck it three times and stopped. 19 The man of God was angry with him and said, “You should have struck the ground five or six times; then you would have defeated Aram and completely destroyed it. But now you will defeat it only three times.”
At first glance this OT story does not describe the defeated mindset, but it has some hidden gems if we dig a little deeper. In the Hebrew culture prophets of God were honored and instructions given by a prophet on his death bed would be especially heeded. It was the custom of the day to shoot an arrow or cast a spear into the country which an army proposed to invade. Therefore, the king understood this was a prophetic, symbolic act and represented the defeat of Syria. Thus, the king’s pitiful effort of only striking the ground three times revealed his half-hearted lack of faith. Instead of walking in faith and complete obedience to the word of God, the king gave up too soon.
There are many situations in which we should “keep shooting arrows”, but we are content with small victories. God gives us a word on what to do to save our marriages, our children and our jobs, but because of our defeated mindset, we only go through the motions and never get our breakthroughs. We learn to fake it, but we never learn to make it! Do not stop too early and give up too soon. The word of the Lord for you today is keep shooting the arrows He has given you!
Here are some common areas we must keep shooting our arrows to see our victory:
Keep shooting in the battle against sin.
Keep shooting in the battle for a Godly marriage.
Keep shooting in the battle for a Godly legacy.
Keep shooting in the battle for the lost.
Many years ago, while visiting some friends in the hospital, God reminded me that when He invites us to receive something from Him by faith, we must do it boldly. I was challenged and encouraged by my friend’s faith. Her husband was ill, and the doctors believed he was dying of cancer. The wife, however, was so filled with faith. She sought God’s face until God gave her a Rhema word and she held onto that word. Today they are home from the hospital! We can all learn from this woman of faith. We can no longer give into the mindset that tells us, “I can’t do it!”, “I’m not good enough!” Instead we must believe the Bible when it says, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” (Phil 4:13). When God gives us a word, like he did to the King of Israel, we must receive it and not just go through the motions. Hold onto the word of God and live what you believe. It is time to be transformed by the Lord Jesus and put the defeated mindset under the feet of Jesus where it belongs.
Friends, it has been a challenging year for all of us, but now is the time to stand back up and walk in faith, not defeat! It is time to believe again, set those goals, follow your dreams, and most importantly declare the promises of God over your life.
If you desire to overcome an attitude of defeat, then join me in this prayer:
Heavenly Father, thank you for giving me everything I need for life and godliness. When I feel defeated and I falter in my faith, help me remember I have victory in you. Because you have overcome the world, through faith in you, I too can overcome every difficulty, challenge, and hardship that comes my way. Thank you, God, for giving me the strength and faith to walk in obedience to your word. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen