The Thrill of Overcoming…a post by Jim

When I was in High School part of the requirement for our 11th grade Physical Education class was to wrestle other students in the class. I hated it. On a mat in front of the entire class with someone who was stronger than me. My record was pretty pathetic until the one time that I somehow got my opponent in a full-Nelson hold. He went limp and I pinned him for the three second count (never mind that the hold was illegal … I didn’t know that and had no idea how I wound up getting him in such a hold!). It was one of the few times in HS athletics that I felt like I was an overcomer. I still remember the feeling! I won. I defeated my opponent.

In Romans 12 Paul ends the great chapter by saying, “Don’t be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.” In a world of great evil (including times when we sin and times when we are wounded by the sins of others) we need the challenge of being an overcomer. How do we live victoriously over our attitudes and actions that are an affront to who we are in Christ? And how do we not let our wounding at the hands of others get the best of us?

The answer Paul offers is to overcome evil with good. In other words, our focus needs to be on what it means to keep in step with the Spirit and live the life of Christ in our ordinary lives. It is tempting to focus on what we need to stop or on our pain that comes from the actions of others. But we are told to concentrate on the good, the true, and the beautiful of the fruits of the Spirit.

Today I encourage you to have a clear and compelling vision of what it would look like to live as if the Spirit had complete control of your attitudes and actions. Have an image of what will most honor Christ in every situation you face. And live toward that. Paul promises that we will overcome whatever it is that keeps us from living our truest identity in Christ.



2 Comments

  1. Roseanne Tilden

    Jim, thank you for this post. Just this morning I finished a transcript of a class that Bessel Van der Kolk gave entitled “How to Rewire the Traumatized Brain”.
    When we were with you guys last month, you told us it is ok to “plunder Egypt’s gold”. This is what I see I am doing in going to and believing the research about how the brain works. In your post you said, “It is tempting to focus on what we need to stop our pain that comes from the actions of others. But we are told to concentrate on the good, the true, and the beautiful of the fruits of the Spirit.” Is this in contradiction to what Bessel says,
    “You might have had ten years of psychoanalysis and cognitive behavioral treatment, but when your animal brain gets triggered by a particular sound, smell, or visualization, that animal part of your brain takes over.
    Your frontal lobes will be running like crazy to keep it under control – you’ll be trying to manage that “raging dog” inside of you.
    But in order to really overcome trauma, you need to take care of that “frightened dog” inside – and that is really the challenge.
    Our knowledge about all of this is relatively young. It started o with people like Pat Ogden, Peter Levine, Moshe Feldenkrais, and Ronald Alexander – body people who were able to help people to be still and quiet in their bodies.
    They really were the first people who helped us to think about limbic-system therapy – of quieting down this frightened animal inside, and it wasn’t by saying, “You shouldn’t be scared,” or “You’re scared because your father messed with you” – understanding with words like that doesn’t make the fright go away.
    Insight does not quiet down the limbic system.
    So, the big question is this: How do you quiet down the frightened animal inside of you?
    The answer to that is probably in the same way that you quiet down babies. You quiet them by holding and touching them, by being very much in tune with them, by feeding and rocking them, and by very gradual exposure to trying new things.
    Little kids do a lot of exploring – they can fail or succeed – but they can only do all the exploring because there is somebody who picks them up when they get hurt.
    The way human beings learn is by doing, and this includes learning that there are certain things you can do to make yourself feel better.
    A very important part of trauma therapy is to help people to once again engage in activities that make them feel safe.”

    In the bible verse you quoted, I was wondering if you have a more specific WAY to “to have a clear and compelling vision of what it would look like to live as if the Spirit had complete control of your attitudes and actions. Have an image of what will most honor Christ in every situation you face. And live toward that. Paul promises that we will overcome whatever it is that keeps us from living our truest identity in Christ.”? I am having trouble putting these two ideas together. If this would take too much time or too complicated then please disregard this comment.

  2. Dan Carr

    Very good! This is where we live.


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