Victory?

An Essay By Aisling // 6/11/2003

I was struck with the idea for this piece a few days ago, and I hope that I shall be able to remember all I had intended to write!

“In Baptism man is enlisted in the army; in Confirmation he is armed for the battle,” says an early Church writer. When I read that line in my religion book I thought it was so perfect, so true, so beautiful. So many people today seem to have a very false sense of life, of liberty, of success, of victory. So many people think to get all we can here and now is the ultimate goal. How far from true! In our world where so much emphasis is put on wealth, and possessions, in this time when who we are is founded on the quality of our job, how much money we make, what type of car we drive, or what size of a house we live in- now, more than ever, the line between true victory and that of this world is blurred, is blotted out, is covered by a thick fog. So many people fall into concentration on comforts that can never satisfy, and luxuries that can never content us. So many people are concerned about popular opinion, and what others will think, or say. So many people are anxious to appear the best, to wear the newest clothes, to go to the newest movies, to drive the newest car. Why? Why do we care more about what the world thinks then what God thinks?
Because if we don’t care about what the world thinks we aren’t going to fit in. We’re going to be looked down on, teased, despised, shut out, ridiculed, rejected. We’re going to suffer, and the human nature shrinks from suffering. Hence, it gathers about itself every comfort it can find, and struggles to fit in, to be accepted, to be admired, to look good. So many people would call this victory. Wealth, pleasure, comfort, esteem. “What could be a greater victory?” They would ask, “What can be better than being great in the eyes of the world?” I say, “Being great in the eyes of God.” True victory is this. Of course we know none of us can be perfect, but the striving for perfection is half the battle. The desire to over come our selves is half the struggle. God doesn’t say life won’t be hard, He only says life won’t be impossible. He doesn’t promise that we won’t ever be despised, He only promises He won’t ever leave; He, at least, will never cease to love us. Isn’t that enough?

“In Baptism man is enlisted in the army; in Confirmation he is armed for the battle.” God equips us with what we need to conquer our selfish or proud inclinations, to conquer sin and temptations. He knows that we will suffer; furthermore He knows what it is to suffer. He became the smallest of the small to show us what it is to be great. He became the weakest of the weak to show us what it is to be strong. He became the object of so many people’s hatred to show us what it is to love. He came to be mocked, tortured, beaten, and finally killed, to show us what it is to be victorious. Can’t we see it now? Victory is not in the money we accumulate. Victory is not in the house we inhabit. Victory is not in the job we get. Victory is not in what we know, or where we’ve been, or who we’ve met. To be victorious is to stand up and face the world with our sword in our sheath and our shield in our hand, with the courage to say “no” to the world, and “yes” to Christ. Victory is not found in any of this world’s temporary luxuries. Victory is only found in the cross. Have we the courage to accept it? Have we the courage to undertake the fight? Have we the courage to strive for a costly victory, when we might have to do it without the assent or the esteem of the world? God calls us to be enrolled in the army, He arms us for the battle, but He cannot make us fight. That is what we must choose: victory, or defeat.

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