- Chris Crosby
Victor or Victim?
My mind started to wander from the sermon. Our pastor used a phrase I didn’t remember hearing before, and I stopped to ponder it. Realizing what was happening, I made a quick mental note to spend time reflecting on it later so I wouldn’t miss the rest of the sermon. The entire message was powerful, but those few words have stayed with me since then. The phrase is the title of this blog…Victor or Victim?
We all see examples of both. Some people seem to allow negative events to crush or bruise them, leaving them feeling like a victim to their circumstances. Others take even the harshest of experiences and turn them into opportunities to grow stronger and come out victorious.
Those three words victor or victim require reflection on my own responses to life. Although the sermon was not on the book of James, that is where I went to study more. James 1:2-4 says, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
Notice that the verse states when we meet trials, not if. Every one of us faces challenges. We are not called to rejoice that the trial hit us, but we respond joyfully to what God does in the challenge. He works to grow us, making our faith stronger. Just as a muscle develops and handles more weight as we work it, so too our faith grows as we journey the obstacles of this life while trusting God.
We are called to count it all joy. That requires a choice on our part. Life is not fair. Curveballs are headed our way at some time or other. We do not control those. What we do control is our response to them.
My immediate response rarely has me thanking God for what just landed in my life. Yet, I am quicker than I used to be at turning to Him for strength, wisdom, and guidance. As seen in the verses from James, steadfastness leads to completeness and perfection. Perfection means spiritual maturity. Walking through trials while depending on God strengthens my faith. Little by little I grow in my spiritual walk which leads to increasing maturity.
As I reflect on these verses from James, I realize that God holds me accountable for my response to life. I cannot control what others do to me; however, I can control my response to them. I am challenged to choose to be a victor rather than a victim. I want to choose God’s path of honoring others, leaning on His promises, and walking in obedience to His Word and not responding through my frail emotions.
The stories of those who responded to life by overcoming with God’s help provide inspiration for us. May we also choose victory over victimhood and encourage others to overcome in this journey through life. If you are currently going through a struggle, are you choosing the path to victory?