Now I move to the next part of my theory: the battle is the victory. Here's the fact of the matter, we fall on this upward climb. We struggle. Yes, we find ourselves revisiting a lot of landscapes we've seen before. We also revisit a lot of the obstacles. We never escape the flesh. We continue to battle the same lies... and that's okay. I had to remind myself of that the other day. When I am tempted to fall back into old habits or believe an old lie because I'm revisiting (or being revisited by) areas of insecurity or doubt or fear or whatever was at the root of my old struggle, I have to make a choice. I have to choose whether to give up and give in or to stand up and fight the lies with Truth. When I am tempted yet again, when I feel weak, discouraged, fearful, resentful, bitter just like I used to, I can choose to act differently. I can choose to battle, and the battle is the victory.
When I decide to act differently and cling to my Savior in a new way when I revisit old circumstances, that is victory. Victory is not an absence of temptation. It is not perfection. It is not walking away from struggles and never looking back. Victory is taking up the Sword of the Spirit and standing strong in Grace and fighting. Most of all, victory is trusting Him. Sometimes I'll wimp out and my emotions will get the upper hand. I'll fall, and I'll fall hard. I'll give in to lies and turn my back on Truth. We all will. But He is so faithful to lift us up again, and I can repent, and we can continue on this upward climb, and I'll be stronger, and my heart will be refined by the fire. The battle is the victory because it is in the battle that I realize I can't fight on my own. The battle is the victory because the battle drives me to the throne of grace. Regardless of the outcome, God meets me in the battle and that is sweet and precious and it outweighs the struggle. Every battle is a victory because, by the grace of God, even in the conviction of sin and the breaking of my prideful heart the Enemy is routed.
Here's my favorite thing about life as a spiral staircase and the battle being the victory: I do revisit some struggles... okay, a lot of struggles, but I also get to revisit victories and more than anything, I get to continually return to the throne of grace, and even if it's often pain that drives me there, those are the most precious times in my life, at the altars, on my knees before the throne of grace.