[orginally sent Nov.28th to the subversive underground subscribers]
The Biggest Loser? By Keith Giles
Yesterday I heard someone praying out loud that we could all live the ‘Victorious Christian Life”. It makes me wonder, where do we get that from?
I guess, on one level, I wonder where the phrase comes from? I honestly can’t remember Paul or Jesus or any of the disciples talking about living the “Victorious Christian Life”, and then I have to ask, “As opposed to what”?
I mean, if I’m not living this “Victorious” kind of life, doesn’t that suggest that I’m a loser?
Nobody wants that.
So, of course, when I hear this prayer for us to live the victorious life, I immediately must strive to either live that sort of life, or admit the shame of my failure to do so.
I don’t know exactly what this guy was referring to in his prayer, although he did mention our soaring with the eagles alongside Jesus and claiming the victory through the blood and things like this…but honestly, I’m not sure what the practical application is for our lives.
Now, I don’t want to pick on this person. I’m sure that I’ve prayed something just as vague and full of ‘Christianese’ myself numerous times before.
What I’m getting at is, where do we get this idea of what victory and success are in the context of following Christ?
Does the victorious Christian life mean I never experience frustration, suffering, temptation, or spiritual warfare? Does it mean I experience rest, comfort, and plenty because I’m a child of the King?
When I look at the life of the actual “Child of the King” Himself, I don’t see a life free from sorrow, opposition, temptation or pain. Far from it.
What about the cross? Didn’t Jesus say that it was impossible to follow Him without taking up my own cross daily?
Maybe I just have a knee-jerk reaction to statements like this because it smacks of the same old “easy believing, kick-ass” versions of Christianity I rebel against with all my being.
When I think of following Jesus I think of Paul’s statement that the power of Christ is revealed in our weakness, not in our success, or talent.
Where do we locate the victorious Christian life in our weakness? We forget that the soaring with eagles promise comes only after we’ve endured the long season of waiting upon the Lord, which everyone hates passionately.
I think what I am concerned about when I hear the success driven, prayer of Jabez stuff is that we are living within a culture where we attempt to shortcut true discipleship.
For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, and whoever will lose his life
for my sake will find it. – Matthew 16:25
Maybe being a “loser” is the better life after all?
We want the joy, the peace, the fruit and the anointing without actually spending any time at the feet of Jesus, enduring suffering as He did, serving others without accolade, waiting for the answers, praying with bitter tears and holding on to Jesus like there’s no tomorrow.
I think our focus, too often, is on the good life that we think God owes us because we have prayed the prayer and paid our dues, instead of on the simple loving trust in God with our whole lives, no matter what.
David Ruis makes a great comment about how Jesus said He was sending us out like lambs among the wolves. But, we want to be the one’s who swagger in like the movers and the shakers, we want to snap our fingers and have God rain down fire from heaven. We want to pray in faith and receive the bounty of plenty, to the awe of our heathen neighbors.
That will show them.
We are enamored with the way of the wolf. Yet Jesus said he was calling us to be like sheep among the wolves; The weaker ones, not the ones with sharp teeth; The humble ones, not the ones with the cool factor; The vulnerable among those who snarl.
Does this mean we have to hang our heads and accept defeat? Not at all. But, if we are to actually learn to live a life of victory in Jesus, it will be found at His feet, in our weakness, shouldering a cross day in and day out, with our focus on the One we love, not on the victory party in the executive suite.
We must embrace the Truth. The Truth is that every life has moments of bliss, moments of joy, and every life has moments of pain, disappointment and sorrow.
So, rather than seeking after the elusive “Victorious Christian Life”, maybe I’ll settle instead for a walk beside my Master who said, “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart for I have overcome the World.”
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