Can you think of a game, a sport, or even a war victory that is owed to force more than strategy? The weapons used, the position of troops, and the element of surprise are all vital to winning. It’s also the underdog team that devises a crafty plan that receives applause. TV characters who outwit others in the challenges they face become heroes.

Naturally, victories won by sheer force are rarely celebrated. We value more the strategy and its effectiveness.

Yet isn’t it by force that often how we try to win or overcome in life?

Knowing that “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us,” (Romans 8:37) we often look at stuff in this world like we’re entitled to beat it out. We try to overcome by sheer force of will. We ignore problems to forge ahead, or push to be great so that we can do great things for God. But it’s never by these forces that we’re actually winning.

Acting impervious or refusing doubt, grief, and pain during difficult circumstances might make us feel like we’re actually winning at the holiness game and at life, but here’s the thing:

We’re often playing the wrong game because the stuff that matters is won by Christ.

Casting Crowns’ “All You’ve Ever Wanted” says:

“I was chasing healing when I’d been made well
I was fighting battles when You conquered hell
Living free but from a prison cell”

Familiar? We so easily forget that Christ already won the war. He goes before us in battles, too, and His will is perfect. Rather than being freed by our own efforts at making life “what it should be” or “overcoming,” our best option is to act like David or Gideon before battles: to pray and obey. If He says it isn’t worth fighting, let it go.

We do not need to be playing by the rules of this world, but by the rules of its maker.

Though the saying goes “there are no rules in love or war,” there actually are. There are rules of logic, morality, sociological principles, patterns that must be followed, and natural consequences of actions.

For those that know this is His world, there are also rules natural to the Kingdom of God. Rules that defy much of what society suggests.

Just look at Christ. He conquered death. He is King forevermore. Yet His strategies for battle were:

•  Humility
•  Obedience
•  Enduring suffering and temptation
•  Loving kindness
•  Peace

Of course there were more. His example turned on everyone’s head the idea of conquering and overcoming.

Remember His triumphal entry?

His people long-awaited their savior, riding in on a white horse with an army and all glory and splendor. As it turned out, all glory and splendor, and all needed for conquering death, was a donkey. A young donkey, borrowed from someone else and the perfect God on top proclaiming peace among men instead of terror.

That’s winning in God’s Kingdom.

To fight the good fight of faith we must act in faith. Galatians 3:3 phrases it this way:

“Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?”

Be ready for battle. Be armed with the weapons of God. Be trained in righteousness.

Be constant prayer, asking the greatest commander to offer His strategy of peace to rule in your heart (Colossians 3:15).

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