There’s a battle that rages on, every moment of every day and it’s happening within you. Understanding this battle is probably the greatest secret to success, so don’t give up just because you don’t understand right from the start.
If you win this battle, you’ll lose, but if you lose this battle, you’ll win.
Jesus is quoted in the Gospels of Mark (8:35) and Luke (9:24) as saying “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.” This isn’t about physically becoming martyrs for your faith, but instead about dying to the desires of the flesh or the ego. The less ego wins the more Christ (the perfect spirit within each of us) shows up.
I’ll say it again, “If you win the battle, you will lose, but if you lose the battle, you will win.” Let me say that another way, “If you lose the battle, you will win, but if you win the battle you will lose.” That didn’t really clear things up, did it?
It’s About Dying To Yourself… Yep, Death!
I actually really like the explanation we get from the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans who were new to following Jesus.
For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. -Romans 8:13 (NRSV)
For so long, I understood this to be about having “eternal life” in Heaven some day. This is what so many see when they read this verse. But, now, understanding this becomes much easier; it’s about having LIFE in this life. It’s about being the best you can be; allowing the perfect spirit within us all, to show up.
If You Win This Battle… You Must Lose.
I know exactly what you’re thinking right now. “If I win this battle, I’m going to lose? Then why would I want to win the battle?” Because, if you lose the battle, you’re going to win and after all, don’t you want to win? “Yeah, but you said winning the battle is losing the battle. I don’t want to lose.”
Give Up What You Want to Get What You Really Want
Now that you’re completely confused, don’t give up understanding this. Let me explain what I’m referring to with this little riddle. Each one of us has a battle that goes on within us each day, throughout the day. It’s the battle between what I want and what I REALLY want. Unfortunately, for too many of us, we’re settling for what we want and forsaking what we REALLY want.
For example, let’s look at the issue of physical health and well-being. What you REALLY want it to feel great every morning, waking up with plenty of energy and having the stamina to work hard throughout the day. You REALLY want to be able to work through the afternoon without feeling sluggish and you want to be able to get up from your desk and not hear your knees pop and feel your back ache. You REALLY want to be able to wear the clothes that fit well and accentuate your figure without feeling like you need something loose fitting to cover up your “bulges.” These are the things you REALLY want, but unfortunately, you’re stopped when you settle for what you want…
What you want is to sit on the couch, staying up late, eating ice cream and watching television. What you want is to eat what we’re craving, like a hamburger, french fries and a milk shake. What you want is to have someone else prepare your food for you and hand it through a little window so you don’t have to get out of your car and walk inside. What you want is to spend your “off time” relaxing instead of going for a run or engaging in some resistance training. What you want is to feel comfortable right NOW.
Getting What We Want Keeps Us From Getting What We Really Want.
The same thing happens with our financial success; getting what we want is keeping us from what we really want. You want a brand new HD LED Television right now, but what you really want is to have no debt, less stress paying the bills and more money to put into your retirement account. What you really want is more income, more recognition, a job that fits your passions in life, but instead of doing the work to find, apply for and chase after that new career, you’re settling for what you want now, which is to spend your evenings relaxing on the couch, watching TV, playing a game or reading a novel.
So, now you understand, in order to win the battle for what you REALLY want, you need to lose the battle for what you want now. Inversely, when you lose the battle for what you REALLY want, you win the things you want right now. It seems like you’re getting what you want in life, but doing that has cost you something even better.
Knowing the Issue is Half of the Battle
Now that you understand this battle, believe it or not, you’re well on your way to winning… and being willing to lose the smaller immediate desires in order to gain the greater prize. This is a good start, but there are other things you can do equip yourself for this battle and I plan on providing those for you here on the site. For now, be mindful of the battle and ask yourself if you’re settling for an immediate win at the cost of a greater win down the road.
You can read more on this topic by clicking on the Self-Discipline category below.