For by their own sword they did not possess the land; and their own arm did not save
them;

but Your right hand, and Your arm, and the light of Your presence, for You did
favor them.

Psalm 44: 3

Most of us like to take charge; we want to cause the outcome of our day to fall in our
favor. Being hands on with hands up and ready to engage the fight is human
nature. This approach can get to be very frustrating when the ledger at
the end of the day has more defeat and ground lost counted onto it than
positive movement. It gets hard to own all of the decisions and the
tactics that led to defeat; so, we frequently look for others to blame. Then
our relationships suffer, and the ground lost is increased even more.

The swords that people swing and the strength of the arms that swing them can
lead to accomplishment. We use our intellects, cunning, experience, will-power,
careful planning, and meticulous execution in the pursuit of success. We train
and we practice; we gain education upon education, attend seminars and
workshops, and engage in sports and activities in order to become stronger and
sharper. The greatest problem that is attached to most of these gains is that
they are temporary. We never truly take ownership of the new land. We only occupy
it until something or someone pushes us out. Even worse, I have too often been
the cause of my own failure to retain what I have worked so hard to gain;
for, through my own stupidity and conceit I have been forced to surrender,
turn away, and seek shelter.

Despite all of my failed efforts and willful behaviors, God promises that He
favors me and that His hand will not only protect me from all harm; but He will
bring victory to me. His concept of victory may be a lot different from mine;
however, when I allow the Lord to guide me through the planning
process so that my priorities are aligned with His, and I follow His
example and leadership in how I engage the contest of life, the gains that are
achieved have a quality of permanence. They tend to be the kinds of things
that show the love and the provision of God to others. These times of true
victory of the heart are also times when the presence of the Lord is
strikingly real to me.