One of the knocks against Christians, especially those in the workplace, in any kind of “competitive” environment is that they lack a “killer” instinct, they let scruples, principles somehow interfere with attaining the goal, achieving the ends. A Christian is, to the best of their ability, guided by the Holy Spirit, will do their best to strive as a Christian, to conduct their life as Christ would. Most people would find themselves much more successful and in a lot less trouble if they followed God’s leading and not their own misguided motivations.
But this goofy idea that Jesus was some kind of cream puff, almost some kind of masochist, rolling over and giving in to defeat is just silly. Jesus confronted the powerful leaders of His country to hold them accountable to God’s will, for them to stop abusing their position and truly follow God’s leading. He went to the Cross, but have no doubt if He in His divine providence decided to call down a legion of angels to absolutely destroy His enemies, He certainly could. But what was the ultimate goal here, to defeat Satan, to take away Satan’s power, undermine him in the world by the innocent suffering and sacrifice of Jesus. Jesus did the most manly thing any of us could do, sacrifice Himself so that we would live. How could Satan overcome that? He lost the world because of Jesus’ sacrifice, all he could do at this point, with his fangs effectively pulled, is to try and individually undermine our life, if we let him. We have no excuse to lose our eternal reward to Satan, except for ourselves, because of what Jesus did. So let’s get over this goofy idea that Jesus was some sort of weak, weenie, candy. He won the ultimate victory for us in the most manly way possible. Glory to you, oh Christ.
Chris McCormack has become one of the all-time greats of triathlon. Macca has won the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon twice, two world championships and other lesser Ironman’s, over 200 triathlon victories. Now Macca’s not arguing from a Christian point of view, but he wonders why others would undermine themselves: “This word ‘ego is tossed around nowadays with such a negative spin on it. It annoys me to think that by believing in yourself and pursuing your goals and ambitions with conviction you can be ridiculed.” (Triathlete Mag Aug 2013 p 42).
There are a lot of people in the world today who because of their own mediocrity make it a point to try and drag down others. If others around them excel, work hard to achieve great dreams, they are somehow pretentious, uppity, they don’t know their place, they are presumptuous. They would never say things like that, but there are many who just feel that those around them all have to maintain the same level of mediocrity. I think we see that way too much in the inner city, high schools are almost ruled by those mediocre students who have no intention to allow anyone to excel unscathed. The only exception to that is in athletics and even in that there seems to be an underlying current of mediocrity. But in academics even if you are gifted, you are expected to stay in your place and not let anyone know that you are academically gifted.
I think that Macca is incorrectly describing the argument, but I understand what he’s saying: “The issue with ego is it is up to that athlete to develop this self-belief. It is up to the athlete to accept his fears and weaknesses and implement strategies to strengthen his character in accepting them and holding true to his dream. This is difficult to do and for this reason it’s often neglected. Believing in something takes courage. And it’s not easy learning how to find new courage.”
Let me give you the Christian translation: God has put you where you are, He has given you the gifts that you have. Why would you undermine what God is leading you to do? Many have gone out and done the impossible led by God. Does it make sense to fail to do what God has gifted you with, the plan He has for your life? The Bible describes many situations where people have pushed back against God, have told God they are not capable, they cannot do what God has given them to do. They are right, it’s not going to be through their strength, it’s always going to be through the gifts God has given you, and the Holy Spirit working through you, absolutely, no doubt. But does that mean we should allow ourselves to fail, to simply give up when the Holy Spirit continues to push on us, continues to cut the path for you, gives you what you need to finish.\? Paul tells us in many ways to run the race, to win the prize, there is nothing arrogant about that, just acknowledge that it’s through God’s gifts and leadings. Not because you are somehow special and that is where humility certainly comes in, you readily acknowledge you are no more special then anyone else, but it is because in God’s divine wisdom, in the mystery of God’s sovereignty He chose you to achieve what you’ve achieved. You do it to His glory in the most principled and scrupulous manner possible.
“Stop hiding behind your fears. Embrace your ego – mold it, change it and utilize it to take you where you want to go. I have never said or done anything within the realm of this sport that I regret. I have been labeled brash, confident, cocky. At times I wondered if my desire to achieve my personal dreams was too much for people to accept, so labeling me was the easiest way to pigeonhole this drive.” Again let me give the Christian translation. Enhance your relationship with God, trust Him, trust what He’s leading you to do in your life in order to get where He’s leading you to go. Do so with humility, even meekness, but with the utmost confidence, trust and faith that God has given you. Don’t let other people who lead cold, frightened, mediocre little lives deter you from what God is doing in your life. You want a better world? Strive for what God is doing in your life, quit your fears, your pride, your dignity, your petty/weenie little scaries and be a true man or woman of God. Jim Elliot was told that he was crazy to do mission to the Auca Indians. There is no question that God was leading him to do it, and Elliot paid for it with his life. He strived to follow God’s leading, God gave Elliot the faith and courage to do what he did. The result was that the Auca were led to Christ that in heaven, in the New Jerusalem Jim Elliot’s reward would be great, 60 years later he is remembered and held in great esteem as a hero of the faith. I am not suggesting you be cocky and obnoxious and I’ve never really known Chris McCormack to be obnoxious, but no doubt there is ego, for a Christian that means faith, trust, following God’s leading. It’s difficult I’ve even seen fellow Christians try to tear down someone who feels the leading of the Holy Spirit, it might perceived as ego, as brash, but God does great things in all our lives, they may appear humble to others but to those we affect, they are great things and we trust God to do His will in our lives.
“[Macca] But what I’ve come to learn is that it is not who we think we are that holds us back; it is who we think we’re not . Remember, great things happen to those who make great things happen…” Christian translation, God is going to do great things through us. It’s not up to us to keep God from working His will. “I’m not worthy. I’m not strong enough. I’m not smart enough.” St Paul tells us: “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13 ESV) Stop listening to those timid, weak in faith, who are trying to douse the Father’s will in your life. They don’t know, they aren’t even trusting what God is trying to do in their life, why would you even give them the time of day in your life. Be an example to them, to those God has led you to disciple, to a world that likes to make Christians out to be powder puffs. Our Savior was the most courageous and sacrificing man in history, would those He gave His life for, His children, strive to live up to the example of their Lord and Savior?