Let’s firstly begin with a poem by Benjamin Barton (1874-1916):
When I am neglected or forgotten, or purposely set at naught, and I smile inwardly, glorying in the insult, that is VICTORY.
When my good is evil spoken of, my wishes are crossed, my taste offended, my advice ridiculed, and I take it all in patient, loving, silence, that is VICTORY.
When I am content with simple raiment, plain food, any climate, any solitude, any interruption, that is VICTORY.
When I can stand face to face with folly, extravagance, spiritual insensibility, contradiction of sinners, persecution, and endure it as Jesus endured it, that is VICTORY.
When I never care to refer to myself in conversation, nor seek commendation, when I can truly love to be unknown, that is VICTORY.
Now let’s examine 7 points concerning Victory over Self:
When you never care to refer to yourself in conversation or to record your own good works or seek commendation; when you can truly love to be unknown … that is victory over self.
When your good is evil spoken of; when your wishes are crossed; your advice disregarded; your opinions ridiculed and you refuse to let anger rise in your heart and you refuse to even defend yourself but take it all in patient loving silence … this is victory over self.
When you are content with any food, any offering, any kind of clothing, any confinement, any society, any solitude, any interruption by the will of GOD… that is victory over self.
Do we find ourselves wanting : more? … something different? … a better house? a better car? … better experiences?
Some have no running water. Electricity is only available three hours a day. Water has to be warmed up on the stove. Children get to school without any heat there whatsoever. They wear six layers for clothing. Many brethren are not paid for six months of the year and eat only what’s in their own gardens. I’m sure if we saw their living conditions we would learn contentment.
- Proverbs 37:16 – Better is the little that the righteous has than the abundance of many wicked.
- Proverbs 15:15 – All the days of the afflicted are evil, but the cheerful of heart has a continual feast.
- 1 Tim 6:6 – But godliness with contentment is great gain…
- Hebrews 13:5 – Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
- Phil 4: 11-13 – Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
When you are content with any food, any clothing, any climate… this is victory over self.
Are you content with any climate: snow, cold, sun, heat?
Are you content with any interruption?
How annoyed do you get if things in the day interrupt our plans for the day?
When the day has been done, and you have done your best, WAIT for the results IN PEACE.
Really, all the LORD expects of us, is to do the best that we can each day. When our head touches the pillow at night and if we weren’t able to accomplish all we wanted … Still… BE AT PEACE and leave the results with our Father.
When you lovingly and patiently bare any disorder any irregularity any impunctuality or any annoyance; when you can stand face to face with waste, folly, extravagance, spiritual insensibility and endure it, as Jesus endured it … that is victory over self.
We realize that often at times we allow ourselves to get overly upset to that which is absolutely insignificant in the light of eternity the event may be next to nothing but the consequences to how we react day by day could literally effect our eternal destiny.
We have many scriptural admonitions to help us realize the importance that our Heavenly Father places on the development on complete patience and acquiescence to whatever the LORD’s providence may permit.
- 1 Corinthians 13 – Agape love is PATIENT. It endureth ALL things…
- 1 Thessalonians 5:14 – Be patient towards all men.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:15 – See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.
- Hebrews 10:36 – For ye have need of patience, that, having done the will of God, ye may receive the promise.
- James 1:3-4 – 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.
The VERY REASON OF ALL TRIALS, IS TO DEVELOP PATIENCE.
- Luke 21:19 – By your endurance you will gain your lives.
- Romans 2:7 – To those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life…
- Romans 5:3-5 – Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
How did we endure in the little annoying disturbances of life? How did we endure that which is beyond our control?
GOD permits it for the crystallization of our characters.
When you can receive correction and reproof from one of less stature than yourself and can humbly submit inwardly as well as outwardly finding no rebellion or resentment rising up within your heart … that is victory over self.
Seeing our own weaknesses is very difficult. It’s ten times easier to see everyone else’s! Our flesh can rationalize and feel ourselves thinking, “oh, we’re doing great all the time … and that we’ve got a few shortcomings but, oh, they’re only very minor”… but when someone out of love pulls to our attention an area that would be kind of good to correct or look into, well, at first, it may hurt us! Our flesh may have a tendency to react and think it’s unjustified; it wants to go on the defensive and try to look at the other person and find faults in them thinking who are they that they should be correcting me! Our Heavenly Father knows our flesh has this tendency but how important it is, when someone suggests how to correct us. Our Heavenly Father relies on others in what He wants to correct in us.
- Proverbs 15:32 – He who neglects discipline despises himself, But he who listens to reproof acquires understanding.
- Psalm 141:5 – Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness; let him rebuke me—it is oil for my head; let my head not refuse it. Yet my prayer is continually against their evil deeds.
- Proverbs 25: 12 – Like a gold ring or an ornament of gold is a wise reprover to a listening ear.
- Hebrews 12:6 – For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”
May we strive to not go immediately on the defensive but go on our knees and see if it is what is true and if we find it is a valid truth, to pray for GOD to help us accomplish correction.
When you can see your brother prosper and see his needs met and can honestly rejoice with him in spirit and feel no envy nor question GOD while your own needs are far greater and in desperate circumstances … that is victory over self.
There may be times in our lives, that financially we may be in despair and envy may be in our hearts when we see others prosper by the popularity of others or with their talents or by their position in ecclesias or that they have so few trials, or are able to do what we can’t or have what we want but can’t have. Here are some brilliant texts of scripture to rid our hearts of this condition of thinking :
- 1 Corinthians 13 – Love does not envy; it does not boast…
- Proverbs 14:30 – A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.
- Romans 13:13 – Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy.
- 1 Corinthians 3:3 – for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?
- James 3:14 – But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth.
- Galatians 5:24-26 – And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
If there is envy, then pride enters the picture, and we think we deserve better…”if they have it, then we should have it too” …
- Proverbs 25:27 – It is not good to eat much honey, nor is it glorious to seek one’s own glory.
- Philippians 2:3 – Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
- 2 Corinthians 12:7 – even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.
Apostle Paul realized when he was weakest, that’s when he was closest to the LORD and was dependent on him during his loneliness.
Let’s gain complete victory over self image!
The sentiments of these verses I’m sure we are all striving to accomplish.
But knowing the qualities of our fallen human nature we realize that it’s most difficult to achieve perfectly.
They all involve the putting down of the tendencies of being overly concerned with the thoughts of self and our image and how its looked with and perceived by others.
It jars us to look inward and see how each of these phrases applies to ourselves. Is it true of me that I never care to refer to myself in conversation… or like to mention my good works.
Our flesh is so successful in calling attention to ourselves in such subtle ways. If we analyse ourselves carefully perhaps we realize we have. Often we do it subconsciously and we may not even be aware of it. E.g. we may be telling of someone’s trials or victories in conversation or perhaps in a testimony meeting and then perhaps just somewhat in passing our flesh weaves in mention of self in the story and leaving our somewhat favourite impression of our involvement it seems that our flesh almost desperately wants to be liked and well thought of by others and feels that it’s fulfilling our conversation vows really well.
Do I never have a longing for approval from others?
Who doesn’t like to hear a compliment? I know I do. We all do.
The aim of this discussion is to :
- Reflect inward … how much am I concerned about self image and how others view me?
- So many scriptures show us how GOD hates pride.
- To decrease our concern of how others think of us but be more concerned how does GOD think of us and are we bringing praise and honor to our Heavenly Father? Our Father has given us Scriptures :
- Proverbs 16:5 – Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the LORD; be assured, he will not go unpunished.
- Proverbs 19:11 – A man’s discretion makes him slow to anger, And it is his glory to overlook a transgression.
- Proverbs 15:1 – A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.
- Psalm 37:8 – Cease from anger and forsake wrath; Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing.
- 1 Corinthians 4:12, 13 – and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things.
- 1 Peter 2:20 – For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God.
View every experience our Father permits to come to us is for our good in gaining victory over self.
When you are forgotten or neglected or purposefully said at nought and you don’t sting or hurt with the insult or the oversight but your heart is happy being counted worthy to suffer for CHRIST … that is victory over self.
When we take all of these seven points discussed in all LOVING PATIENT SILENCE and BARE IT ALL and ENDURE LIKE JESUS ENDURED IT, humbly submitting inwardly and outwardly without any anger and rejoice in spirit when other brethren prosper and when we are forgotten, neglected yet we don’t sting back but our heart is happy being counted worthy of suffering with CHRIST, and when we realize we will never do it all perfectly, let us strive more to achieve more perfectly … and let’s HELP EACH OTHER and NOT BE A HINDERANCE.
Acknowledgment: George Tabac