Conquering The Need To Conquer
In his classic book on Alexander the Great, The Virtues of War, Steven Pressfield imagines a confrontation between Alexander's marching armies and an aged Greek philosopher, who refuses to yield the road.
One of Alexander's men points at Alexander and shouts to the old man, "This man has conquered the world!" The philosopher replies, "I have conquered the need to conquer the world."
Our culture favors the conquerors.
This same culture gave birth to these snappy aphorisms: "You've got your own life to lead," "It's just business, nothing personal," "God helps those who help themselves," "Wake up and be awesome!"
What we are discovering, however, is that this "winner-take-all" approach is leading more and more people into depression, desperation, anxiety and fear.
Frederick Buechner once wrote, "...the life you clutch, hoard, guard, and play safe with is in the end a life worth little to anybody, including yourself..."
For those of us who call ourselves Jesus-followers, this kind of approach to life runs contrary to almost everything that Jesus taught about the kingdom of God.
Jesus told his followers: "For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it."
This isn't about being a "good" or a "nice" person.
There are plenty of nice people who give money to fund cancer research and an occasional offering to their church, and then spend most of their energy ensuring their own success.
In God's economy, the only true conquerors are those who conquer their need to be first, their desire to have more, and their lust for control, power, success and security.
May you find opportunities today and every day to give yourself away for the sake of the kingdom of God. May you conquer the fear that drives you to selfishness and let go of your need to be first in order to follow Jesus more fully.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.
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