"Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny” – CS Lewis
Our God is constantly shaping us through people, events and circumstances. Many of the things that help us to grow and prepare us for future victorious moments are times of hardship.
When I think back on my sophomore year at Chico High school, one of the first things I remember is playing football. I remember the applause of fans as we won every game and won the league title for Junior Varsity. Few final scores were even close, which means that second string players like me were able to play in almost every game.
That extraordinary season was probably won even before the first day of school started. Late summer practices twice a day to get us in shape and teach us how to work together as a team was a winning strategy. Suffering through “hell week” before the start of school prepared us for lesser hardships later during actual competition because they would pale in comparison.
“Leadership is getting someone to do what they don’t want to do, to achieve what they want to achieve.” - Coach Tom Landry
I never once thought of myself as a victim during football practices. I understood that I was being prepared by the coach to be victorious. It was an opportunity to learn perseverance and develop a winning (victorious) mindset.
"It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it." - General Douglas MacArthur
Military training is similar. I once interviewed a man in the special forces and asked him, “Why do you literally almost kill guys in your training?” His answer was that training must be the most you could ever handle so that when you are in combat you say to yourself, “I’ve been in tougher situations.”
The soldier I interviewed would never feel sorry himself and say that they “picked on me” in training, but rather, he would point to the importance of that time to adequately prepare him for battle, resulting in earning him the Bronze Star.
God shapes us through difficult experiences to prepare us for future successes.
We are prepared to be victorious by working through times of trial. Easy days without struggle don’t prepare us for future successes. God doesn't cause the horrible things that happen to us. Bad things happen in this life to good people who didn’t deserve or cause their painful circumstances. Jesus says that as long as we are still on this earth, we will have troubles (John 16:33) and he promises that they will always be leveraged to help us grow toward our destiny.
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” - Romans 8:28
Do you view yourself as a victorious overcomer, or do you find yourself feeling more like a victim?
As Christians, we all struggle with feeling like a victim instead of a victorious overcomer to some extent. How do we reverse our thinking?
As we continue to look at recovering our true identity in Christ on Sunday mornings, I want to remind you of the truth of who you are today. Romans 8 calls us “super conquerors.” Over and over again we are told that we are victorious overcomers.
What are some antidotes for the poison of victim thinking that affects us?
In my message last Sunday about Living as Victorious Overcomers, NOT Victims, I gave some antidotes to the victim mindset to help us overcome evil with good, and change our thinking patterns. If you missed our series Identity Theft Recovering your TRUE identity in Christ, click here to listen to the podcast or watch the video.
I encourage you this week to take some small steps to begin living in a more victorious mindset that lines up with what the Bible says about us.
In the words of C.S. Lewis, “The smallest good act today is the capture of a strategic point from which, a few months later, you may be able to go on to victories you never dreamed of.”
I invite you to join us this week for one of our Sunday morning service options.