As I listened to a sermon this past week something stuck in my mind. The speaker talked about how we think, and said, “Today the focus is on self, which is all about relief, instead of victory in spite of their circumstances.” He also mentioned the fact that we are today a medicated society.
I’ve pondered that for a few days now. “relief instead of victory.” At first, I didn’t get it. I thought relief would be victory. Then, I thought deeper, and realized what he said is actually true.
We are a society who want quick fixes. We take a pill for just about everything that ails us. And, we don’t want to wait for anything. We have fast food, instant coffee, microwaveable meals, instant soup, phones on our ears, fast cars, instant news, the Internet, instant messaging, and fast texting.
Everything is speeded up in our lives today, and when we have problems we want quick fixes. We don’t think we should suffer at all. We look for that magic bullet that will fix everything. We buy the latest self-help books, videos, tapes, CD’s and DVD’s. We go to the latest guru or therapist. We simply want quick relief. We pop whatever pill is in vogue. Have you noticed all the television ads for prescription drugs lately? It seems there is a pill for every thing imaginable that could happen to us. But, you’d better not listen to the disclaimers or you will not take anything.
We have problems with relationships, and we want things to be instantly fixed. But, it doesn’t work that way. So many times people turn to the wrong things for relief.
I know a girl who lost her fiance in an accident. This girl is in her 30′s I believe. She took it very hard, and rightly so. It is not bad to grieve, but how you handle it is another thing. Two years have gone by.
She desperately wanted relief from the pain of losing the person she loved and was about to spend the rest of her life with. So, she began drinking even more and did not get the relief she desired so began medication for depression. Alcohol and anti-depressants are a bad and dangerous mix. She still hasn’t found the relief she wanted.
What this person needs is victory. But, how can she find that? First, she needs to become a Christian. Then, as she studies and learns from the Bible she will find that God will comfort her and give her a supernatural strength to get through the tough times.
1Co 10:13 NASB No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.
This verse is talking about trials and temptations that come into all our lives. If we are Christians God will be in control of the situation and will not allow it to overwhelm you. He will provide a way for you to endure. Isn’t that a wonderful promise? I loved it when I first found that verse.
Now, that would be victory for this girl! We are not to eliminate the bad circumstances that come our way in life, but instead learn how to live through them with Christ at our side. I’m sad to see this poor soul suffer when she could be praising God, and get on with her life. God has something for her if she would only realize she needs to turn to Him.
Another example of how people want relief instead of victory is of a Christian married couple who have had many problems and they end up with a divorce. Why does that happen? They want relief from the misery they live in. Relief instead of victory is not the answer.
Victory would be if that couple who are Christians would get into the Word and apply it to their lives. They could change how they see and treat each other. They could fall in love all over again. They could with God’s help have victory if they would only do it God’s way. The man needed to become the leader in that home and the woman needed to step back and be submissive to her husband instead of trying to run him and bad mouth him all the time. You see there is a difference between relief and victory.
Eph 5:22-25 NASB Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. (23) For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. (24) But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. (25) Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,
God knows everything. Nothing happens to us that He doesn’t allow. Everything that comes our way is passed through God’s grid. Nothing happens by chance. God is Sovereign, and He can allow bad things to come into our lives. But, there is always a reason. He is either teaching us or chastising us. He wants us to grow more in the likeness of Christ as we mature in the faith.
Rom 8:28-29 NASB And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (29) For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;
Well, I guess it comes down to this. We have a choice. Do we want to live our lives our own way, living by emotions and feelings.? If we do we will find ourselves full of stress and anxiety and looking for relief, not victory. We will turn to medication, or something to numb our brains, perhaps alcohol, or illegal drugs. We will say, “God, please just take these horrible feelings away. I’m tired of the suffering.” Instead we should say, “God, you know how I feel. Please give me the wisdom to learn how to live in a way that I can handle adversity with you at my side. Help me Lord to see the lessons in this that you want me to learn. Help me to judge my own heart and expose any unconfessed sin so that I may confess it and repent of it.”
Or, do we want to live our lives God’s way. Obeying everything He commands us to do in the Bible. If we choose God’s way we will have victory in all our trials and tribulations. God truly is good and I’m so thankful that He has given us the Bible as a standard to live by. We live in an age where people want to say the Bible is out-dated, and that it is too hard for any of us to really understand. Yes, we hear that. But, that is not true. God is not a God of confusion, but of logic, and reason. He is rational.
The key to not merely find relief but to gain victory is when we choose God’s way and our focus is turned from ourselves and toward Christ. Do you see that?
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