by Neil Anderson
Everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, and he who humbles himself shall be exalted
A small percentage of people defend against rejection by buying into the dog-eat-dog system of the world and learning to compete and scheme to get ahead of the pack. These are the movers and shakers, people who earn acceptance and strive for significance through their performance. They feel driven to get on top of every situation because winning is their passport to acceptance. They are characterized by perfectionism and emotional insulation and they struggle with anxiety and stress.
Spiritually, the beat-the-system individual refuses to come under God’s authority and has little fellowship with God. This person is committed to controlling and manipulating people and circumstances for his own ends, so it is difficult for him to yield control in his life to God. In our churches this person jockeys to be chairman of the ruling board or the most influential member on a committee. His motivation is not to serve God in this position, however, but to control his world because his self-worth is dependent on it. Beat-the-system controllers are some of the most insecure people you will meet.
Sadly, the controlling individual’s defensive strategy only delays inevitable rejection. Eventually his ability to control his family, his employees, and his church diminishes and he is replaced by a younger, stronger controller. Some survive this mid-life crisis, but many who make it to retirement don’t enjoy much of it. Studies show that high-powered executives live an average of nine months after they retire. They base their lives in the world system they seek to conquer, but inevitably the world claims its own. “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ” (Colossians 2:8).
Prayer: Gracious Lord, teach me to be in this world but not of it. I choose Your kingdom to be my standard.