What’s better than victory? Better than achieving a goal? We all love victory. We love to win. Whether it’s a sport, a board game or a personal goal, we love accomplishment. Bookstores and social media sites are full of advice on how to win or how to achieve our goals. Why shouldn’t we seek to win?
In our Christian life we are often discouraged by the lack of progress we make. So often we don’t feel like we are living victoriously. We struggle with a variety of sins. We wrestle with our attitudes and desires. When we realize how we fall short we feel defeated.
One of my favourite Christian authors, Jerry Bridges, writes:
“It is time for us Christians to face up to our responsibility for holiness. Too often we say we are ‘defeated’ by this or that sin. No, we are not defeated; we are simply disobedient! It might be well if we stopped using the terms ‘victory’ and ‘defeat’ to describe our progress in holiness. Rather we should use the terms ‘obedience’ and ‘disobedience’.” (The Pursuit of Holiness, p.84)
We aren’t helpless in our daily struggle to live a holy life. God’s Holy Spirit was given to help in moments of weakness. Too often we just decide not to obey what we know to be God’s will. It’s a simple choice we make over and over again.
God is concerned about our personal growth and development as a believer. He desires that we live holy lives. But we also have a responsibility. We don’t simply overcome because we are now Christians. We face a daily choice of obedience or disobedience. We are told to “put to death” the sin in our life and to stop walking in the way we used to go. (Colossians 3:5-8) Now that we have new life in Christ we are expected to act like it. We are required to do something about holy living.
Obedience to the things of God is valued more than victories and accomplishments. God said he desires obedience even over sacrifice. (1 Samuel 15:22) If we are obedient in the things that God calls us to, then we will have victories. But if we simply try to be victorious we’ll keep on failing. Work at obedience and these other things will be added.