Friday, May 13, 2011

Defeating Soul Search to Victory

“If I’m honest, I’m feeling defeated lately. That’s if I’m being honest – which I usually don’t do. I’d much rather eat.” These were the words I typed to my friend the other day as she checked in to keep me accountable. She responded with “Can you pinpoint why?” I really couldn’t pinpoint the source of my feeling. It was just a pity place I’ve visited too often to wallow in.

Being faced with this question, I’ve had to do some soul searching. Romans 8 instructs that “ all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” If victory is my truth in Christ, defeat is nothing but a lie. Why, then, am I overwhelmed with a feeling of defeat?

Housework defeats me as I awaken every morning to the same mess I fell asleep in. My scale continues to defeat me after three years of half-hearted effort to overcome. All too often, I watch the backs of those I intentionally invested time and effort in as they walk away and I’m left defeated in relationships. Defeat is a ministry I am passionate about dwindling in numbers. It is the anger I display toward my husband and children when my desperate desire is to reflect my God. The lie I all too easily believe, is due to the everyday factors that I’m just not good enough while I play the comparison game to others.

Author Dee Brestin is doing a study of idolatry at her blog. Three common deep idols she refers to are: control/power, comfort/security, and approval/affirmation. I never really thought much about idolatry in these terms, despite my familiarity with them. My heart sank as I realized defeat is the result of idol worship.

All too easily, I give in to the desires of my flesh. When I’m hungry, I eat. I sleep when I’m tired. If I’m cold, I turn on the furnace. As the seasons grow warmer, I simply switch to the air conditioning. Comfort/security is most certainly, sadly, an idol in my life. Laziness, despite what others see, is my greatest declaration of allegiance.

My need for control/power is revealed daily through my anger. Defeat sets in because I have no control over others. Desperately, I want to make them share my desires in life. I think I know best how others should live and it frustrates me to watch them in opposition to my desires. My aspiration for control/power is revealed in my overbearing response.

While the idol of approval/affirmation is not as blatantly evident in my life, it still exists. I want my relationships and the ministry I am involved in to affirm my efforts. It is important to me that others think highly of me. Defeat is only possible because my efforts strive to please others instead of seeking God’s endorsement.

It is rather disheartening to realize I am giving my allegiance to idols outside of God. Even as I type the words, I struggle to admit that I am worshipping other gods. Each time I say “no” to God and “yes” to these other…gods, I will continue to experience defeat. Victory is found in God alone. Each “yes” I give in response to His requests of me bring me that much closer to my desired feeling of triumph.

“The usual solution is to attack the surface sin - perhaps a better budget, a better diet, or a better alarm clock - but because you have not addressed the deep idol of COMFORT/SECURITY, and allowed God to be your comfort, your security, that idol will cry out when restricted and win.” - Dee Brestin

“For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ. So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.” – 1 Corinthians 15:56-58 (NLT)

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