Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Selfishness (02/14/05)
TITLE: Here the Battle is Joined
By Lisa Smith
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This is not unusual or unexpected, of course. It adds to my sorrow that, even knowing that here the battle is joined, I choose to put myself before others. And make no mistake, it is a choice. A choice conditioned by long acquiescence to the self, but a choice none the less. This is where the problem lies. For so long I have allowed the old man to make the decisions, to climb his throne. There he sits, smirking and satisfied, as I make sure everyone knows the sacrifices I make for my family. Small sighs, loud complaints, no matter. As long as the message gets through to them that my needs are being ignored, he is happy.
It is precisely in these small moments that I must engage the enemy. Killing the self is a long process of shoving him aside, and allowing the true King to rule. I canít do it solely through my own effort, of course, but the more I do it, the more I realize that it can be done. For I am not alone in this struggle. Jesus is always there to give me the strength that I lack, and to show me the way of victory - the way of the Cross.
So each day, without fail, I resolutely look the old man in they eye, and begin to drag him off the throne. I focus on the others whom God has entrusted to me, and I set my needs aside. I ignore the whining voice that seeks my own gain. I measure my words before I speak, and I pray each day for the grace to give up my desires. I give my complaints to God, and discover that in my service to others, I serve Him.
The old man does not go gladly or easily, and often he pounces back on the throne with a shout of glee. I lose my temper, I insist on my rights, and he leans back and settles himself in. But then I remember, and give someone else the choice to go first, or to watch the movie they want, or to relax while I do the dishes without complaint, and he trembles. He has no choice but to crawl off the throne and hide while the gracious Lord sits down.
The sweetness of victory in this battle is immense. Yet it is a small taste of the glory to come, when all gladly throw their crowns before the Lamb and shout, ďWorthy is He who was slain!Ē I long for that day. In the meantime, I try to faithfully practice the small things that increasingly grant me the glorious freedom from the rule of the greedy, grasping old man.
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