Victory Or Success
By Phil Scovell
Seated in a man's office, we began to pray. I was there
because I was having anxiety and panic attacks, hearing voices,
and was so dizzy most of the time, I was often disoriented. I
even fainted once, due to lack of sleep and food, and falling on
a concrete porch, cracked my head pretty hard. Even the
prescriptions recommended by our family doctor weren't doing a
whole lot of good.
Sleep had become something to fear. Voices literally
awakened me at times even when I was able to finally drift into
sleep. Yes, I knew exactly who, and what, the voices were but
try telling your doctor or pastor or close Christian friends that
and see what they think. Furthermore, terrifying nightmares
invaded what little sleep I was able to achieve. To complicate
matters, I began to jerk with muscular spasms when falling to
sleep at night or any other time I tried to sleep. This happens
to everybody occasionally but for me, it happen even if I were
falling asleep sitting up in a chair. My muscular spasms were so
violent at times, I literally knocked things over on my bookshelf
at the head of the bed. One night, my leg jerked so violently, I
kicked one of our small pet dogs right off the bed. Have you
ever been so frightened that you were too afraid to go to sleep
and you were too afraid to stay awake? I have.
My mind and thoughts felt cloudy and foggy every day and
just trying to focus on anything for very long was nearly
impossible. My attention span diminished to seconds and I could
not concentrate on anything long enough to accomplish much of
anything. I felt as if I were whirling around and around at a
rapid rate of speed in side of a huge funnel; dropping closer and
closer to the opening at the bottom. My fear was what might
happen when I dropped out the bottom; I knew I would die and that
would be my final failure. To complicate my confused state of
mind, I was afraid that what God was asking me to do was
something I was incapable of doing and I didn't want to fail God
again. this was a lie of the enemy but at the time, I did not
recognize it. The bottom line? I was, at this stage, about 95
percent dysfunctional. Most people, at this point, would be
Sadness became so tangible at times, it was like a physical
weight pressing against my skin. Crying became common in my life
and came from so deep within me, I felt at times as if my own
life was literally slowly ebbing away. I also had no control
over the tears and they came at all hours of the day and night.
Although they tried, no one in my family could say or do anything
to comfort me and believe me, they tried. A friend would jump in
his truck, drive rapidly over to my house whenever I called him,
and try and read Scriptures to me. He stayed up nights with me
because of my fear. He called me from work in order to pray me
through the day. Yet nothing was working. The levels of fear
became more and more acute.
During this emotionally critical time of my life, I lost my
job. 3500 dollars a month suddenly disappeared. I don't know
about you, but losing that much over night was financially
devastating and put tremendous stress on my family. To make
matters worse, my wife had to work overtime just so we could keep
our nose above water. I had failed at preaching, pastoring,
providing for my family, raising my children, serving the Lord
and everything else was a failure in my life. I truly wanted to
die and begged God to kill me hundreds of different times in my
prayers. The voices in my thoughts encouraged me to take my own
life but I never would do that because of guilt; I simply did not
want to cause my family even more suffering. Again, have you
ever been too frighten to live and too frightened to die? I
When most of this began, I had just turned 50 years of age.
as I sat in my own office one day, I realized I couldn't point to
a single thing in my life where I could say I had been
successful. In fact, I had, in my mind, literally failed at
everything. Later, as the Lord began to heal the woundedness in
my life, I realized I was being deceived and that these were lies
used by the enemy to keep me from doing the will of God for my
life which was now very near at hand. I knew there were things I
could point to in my life which were pleasing to the Lord but my
deepest desire was to simply serve the Lord in ministry. That I
wasn't doing so why bother to live? Who wants to live if you
can't serve the Lord? Not me! Yes, I now understand the origins
of this thinking but at the time, I was completely confused and
that was the purpose of the enemy's attack in the first place.
Oddly enough, before all of this began, I felt the Lord
telling me two things. He told me I would be working with people
on a one-to-one bases. Later, within weeks, He told me I would
be involved in teaching others how to be intercessors. This
wasn't too surprising because I have been an intercessor since
1985 but somehow I knew in my heart that this intercessory prayer
was a focused form of prayer with which I was totally unfamiliar.
None of this information helped and I seemed to be even more
spiritually frustrated because of it. In fact, things turned
As the man, in whose office I sat, began to pray, somehow
the Holy Spirit brought me to the notion that I believed I wasn't
successful at anything. As we prayed, I clearly heard the Lord
in my thoughts telling me something that suddenly changed my
life. The True Lord Jesus Christ said, "I never asked you to be
successful." It was as if someone had let the air out of a very
large balloon. I felt the relief. I was startled by this
revelation because I had somehow, although raised in the church
all my life, gotten the idea that every man had to be successful.
If it was ministry related, well, then, he had to be successful
in that, too. If he wasn't? Well, he wasn't, at the least,
spiritual, and at the worst, he was out of God's will. Seated in
my own living room one day, even my own pastor told me I had
failed and I was out of God's will. Try carrying that heavy
weight around for awhile and see how heavy it becomes.
So when the True Lord Jesus Christ said, "I never asked you
to be successful," it somehow rocked the foundation of what I
thought was Biblical theology. Yet I realize, with sudden
clarity, it was true; He never had asked me, or required me, or
told me, or commanded me, or demanded me, or ordered me, or
insisted, or even suggested I be successful. Quickly digging
into my theology, I suddenly realize the only thing the Lord
required is that I "follow" Him and that, fortunately, I was
already doing. Thus, following Jesus equals victory and victory
Over the next few months through intercessory prayer
sessions, healing came to dozens of places in my life. The
anxiety and panic attacks went away. The voices vanished. More
peaceful sleep returned and my life slowly returned to stability.
I began to learn that salvation was maintenance free victory.
My ministry, the very one the Lord called me to, began to
slowly surface and take shape. I now work with sexual abused
women, multiple personality cases, demonized people, and
everything else in between. I use nothing more than intercessory
prayer on a one-to-one bases and the True Lord Jesus Christ does
the rest. I am also the happiest I have ever been. Who but God
could do such a thing in the heart and life of such a wounded
This raises a lot of questions for most. Isn't a person
with anxiety and panic attacks mentally ill? don't they have a
chemical imbalance in the brain and that's why they have these
emotional problems? There really isn't such a thing as demonic
voices, is there? If so, isn't that a clear sign they are indeed
Christians complicate the issue even more by suggesting that
such problems can only be solved by the professional medical
community because the church just simply isn't trained for this
sort of thing. Jesus had a different viewpoint. He empowered
His disciples to not only cast out demons and to do what He did
but He told them that when He left to go to the Father, He would
send the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, whom would dwell within us
and cause us to do even greater works than Jesus did. (See John
14:12-20). I realize that many, if not most, believe this to
mean that the church collectively, worldwide, would do more than
Jesus did when He was upon earth conducting His own ministry for
three and a half years but that isn't what Jesus said. We are
simply guilty, therefore, of not following the great Commission,
which I like to call "The Only Commission," and going out without
obeying exactly what Jesus commanded His disciples to do. We are
either His disciples today or we are not. You can, if you
choose, believe that many such miraculous things died out with
the last apostle, whoever he was, but proving that philosophy
from the bible is impossible. Why? Because it simply isn't in
the Bible no matter how hard some radio preachers or megachurch
pastors or parachurch ministers try and make you believe.
The truth lies in the title: Victory Or Success. Yes, I
know what God said in Joshua 1:8 concerning success so shall we
consider that particular passage in order to be absolutely
certain we understand what the Lord meant by success?
This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou
shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to
do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt
make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
Frankly, this verse has been one of my favorites for all of
my adult life. It is a solid rock upon which to stand regardless
Let's consider how the King James translators employed the
word "success" found in this verse.
The word "success" in this passage is used some 63 times in
the Old Testament. Here is how it breaks down.
The King James renderings gives us a lot of insight to the
meaning of "success." Let's go one step farther and consider the
actual Hebrew interpretation and application of the word to see
what else can be learned. This information can be found in your
Hebrew Definition of Success.
1 To be prudent, be circumspect, wisely understand, prosper.
1a To be prudent, be circumspect.
1b1 To look at or upon, have insight.
1b2 To give attention to, consider, ponder, be
1b3 To have insight, have comprehension.
1b3a Insight, comprehension.
1b4 To cause to consider, give insight, teach.
1b4a The teachers, the wise.
1b5 To act circumspectly, act prudently, act wisely.
1b6 To prosper, have success.
1b7 To cause to prosper.
2 To lay crosswise, to cross hands.
Without a doubt, it can be implied that the word "Success"
in Joshua 1:8 does mean success in a traditional sense. The
Hebrew interpretation, however, is so much deeper than the idea
of just being successful in life, that it cannot be ignored. It
really boils down to one word, and that is, understanding. As
you can easily see from the definitions given, understanding,
coupled with wisdom, is real success. Thus, if you understand
the Lord and His Word, you will be successful at applying it to
every situation and circumstance you face. Being ignorant of His
will and His ways, concerning His Word, makes it impossible for
you to be prosperous nor successful in any sense of the word.
I pose this question. If it really was the Lord whom I
heard in my prayer time who said, "I never asked you to be
successful," was He violating His own Word in Joshua 1:8 and
dozens of other passages which say He does, in fact, desire us to
be successful? The only way that could be true is that Jesus
doesn't know the meaning of the word "success" and I am pretty
certain that isn't the case. So then, what is success for the
My definition of grace is when the Lord does more for you
than you do for Him. Victory, in my opinion, is walking in
grace. So, in short, we need to allow the Lord to do everything.
If we do exactly that and nothing more, we will be successful. I
am not dismissing the physical implications of Joshua 1:8; quite
the contrary. I am suggesting, on the other hand, we have been
doing all the work instead of allowing Him to build His own
church within us. How is this accomplished? Through prayer and
submission and accountability to other Believers. Isn't the
church already doing this? You can answer that question for
yourself. As for me and my house, as Joshua said, we will serve
the Lord. That is successful Christian living. Add your
Christian works to that and you won't be walking in the grace of
god. You will also discover more and more spiritual conflict
occurring in your own life. When you come to that point, give me
a call and we will pray together about it in order that the Lord
may heal you of the spiritual confusion which has been generated.
Finally, the Hebrew definition of "success" in Joshua 1:8
means (to lay crosswise). What does that mean? Those who are
"successful" in the things of the Lord will throw their life
across the path to block anything that attempts to come against
their relationship with god. It is putting up a block or shield
or wall saying, "Come this far but no further." It is literally
death to self. Unfortunately, by the time you have made a few
hundred mistakes and listen to a few hundred sermons and Bible
lessons which have taught you a lot of wrong thinking about God,
His Word, and His nature, this makes little sense to you.
Sacrifice and suffering, however, to the one who has lived
through it knows what it means. They will not allow anything to
come between them and their relationship with God. It isn't
pride or arrogance or perseverance and spiritual growth, it's
called love. Do you love god today? "Oh, sure," someone says,
"I love God more than anything in this world." Will you lay your
life down for Him? How about your cable TV or broad band
internet or your video games or your movies or your car or your
house? How about your children or your grandchildren? How about
your wife or husband or fiance? Here's one I bet you've never
considered. Would you lay aside your sexuality for the Lord if
He has called you to ministry which precludes a sexual
relationship in marriage with someone you love?
Let's turn this around and stop being so negative. What
would you lay down for the Lord? Now, that list gets pretty big
pretty fast but it isn't what the Lord wants. He wants you to
prosper and be successful by giving yourself to Him. What is
self? It is who you are. "But I'm not a very nice person right
now. I have things to get settled in my life. I'm already doing
the best I can do." God doesn't want the best you can do; He
wants the best He can do for you, in you, and through you. That
means He will have to do the work and you get none of the credit.
Now your flesh rises up and says what Jim Bakker said on national
television one night. He said, "I built PTL with my own two
hands." No, Jim, you didn't build anything and that's why you
lost it all. If you are unable to take yourself out of the
Biblical equation for success, you will not prosper. If you
don't die to self, you cannot obey the command to renew your mind
in Christ as a Christian. As I said, if you need help, call me.
The rest is up to the Lord and you have nothing to do with it.
I'm sorry if that bruises your ego but God isn't after your ego;
He's after you.
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