A “defeatist mentality” is a mindset which assumes all attempts at success, change, and victory are pointless. It believes that the enemy is too strong, the righteous are too weak, and that the inevitable outcome of history will be one in which Satan gets the last say. It quickly gives in to despair and refuses to risk anything, convinced that such attempts would lead only to defeat. If we are being honest, each of us struggles with this mindset from time to time.
It seems that this thought process is particularly popular at our present hour. Every month we take one step forward and two steps back. Right when it appears that the situation is getting better, a new story hits the headlines and we are quickly reminded that we live in a fallen world. What can we possibly do—individually and as the church—to face such darkness? The odds seem insurmountable and the darkness seems to grow every day. The church can easily slide into a defeatist mentality if we don’t intentionally guard against such.
In contrast to this, the Psalmist had immense confidence in inevitable VICTORY because the Lord had equipped him:
“For who is God, but the Lord?
And who is a rock, except our God? —
the God who equipped me with strength
and made my way blameless.
He made my feet like the feet of a deer
and set me secure on the heights.
He trains my hands for war,
so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
You have given me the shield of your salvation,
and your right hand supported me,
and your gentleness made me great.
You gave a wide place for my steps under me,
and my feet did not slip.
I pursued my enemies and overtook them,
and did not turn back till they were consumed.
I thrust them through, so that they were not able to rise;
they fell under my feet.
For you equipped me with strength for the battle;
you made those who rise against me sink under me.”—Psalm 18:31-39
Notice that the Psalmist is confident because God equipped him with strength. He goes on to detail how God has empowered him for conquest, overcoming the wicked by the Lord’s aid and finding a solid place to plant his feet in the midst of battle. Because of this, the writer doesn’t grow arrogant when he gains victory but gives God the praise. At the same time, without his active participation, the Lord wouldn’t have equipped him. Victory is a partnership in which the Lord equips us for battle, strengthens our hand, and assures us of victory, but we must submit, obey, and act in faith.
So Christian, don’t give in to defeat. Don’t assume that evil will win in the end and that nothing can be done about the darkness enshrouding our nation. The Lord has equipped us for battle (Eph. 6:10-ff); the weapons of our warfare may be different, but they have “divine power” (2 Cor. 10:4). So steady your feet on the rock of salvation, unsheathe the sword of grace and truth, and look to God in hope—for He has equipped us for victory!