It doesn’t take long in our lives before we understand the concepts of “winning” and “losing.” Perhaps it’s the competitive nature of the society we live in, or perhaps it’s simply that human beings are apt to make comparisons between what we are able to accomplish and what others are, but we are quick to claim victory when it looks to be ours. Even young children playing hide-and-seek shout with exclamation when they have “caught” someone and thereby win the game.
The problem with this proclivity is that we tend to establish our relationships on the same dynamic. We think that in order for someone to “win,” someone else has to “lose.” Perhaps there is no more detrimental arena for this mindset that with our relationship with Christ. We read passage of Scripture about losing our lives (Lk. 17:33) or being led as captives (2 Cor. 2:14, NIV) and it grates against our inclination to want to be independent creatures. We want to be the victors, and we fear that in giving up “our” rights to ourselves and becoming instead “enslaved to righteousness,” (Rom. 6:18) we will no longer be able to claim this title for ourselves.
We might well pray for God to invade and conquer us, for until He does, we remain in peril from a thousand foes. We bear within us the seeds of our own disintegration… The strength of our flesh is an ever present danger to our souls. Deliverance can come to us only by the defeat of our old life. Safety and peace come only after we have been forced to our knees… So He conquers us and by that benign conquest saves us for Himself.
In other words, while we think of conquering as defeat, when Christ is our captor, He saves us from defeat. It’s when we rely on our own abilities and strength, instead of trusting in His refining power, that we are truly vulnerable to attack. When we allow Him to conquer every area of our life, than we are safe.
And in addition to all this, God, in His great mercy, promises that those who are in Christ, will be “more than conquerors” over the earthly trials and foes that seek to detain us. He will protect us against their attacks, not allowing one thing to separate us from Him. While the battle may be fierce, His power is stronger still. And He will hold us safely, held captive by His love, until He brings us Home.