MsDora, a former teacher and Christian counselor, presents practical Scriptural principles for joyful everyday living.
Have you ever played against someone whose primary goal was to prevent you from winning? The victory chant at the end of the game may well be, “You lose. You lose.” Nobody wins.
Perhaps you are designing a self-improvement plan, applying for a position, entering a program which is going to make a major change for the better in your life. Then you encounter a person, a situation, a crisis which makes it seem impossible for you to succeed. What is your chant likely to be?
There is an Old Testament story which illustrates the predicament of one woman trying to improve her life, and another trying to prevent her. The women are not given names, but titles by which we can identify them: First Woman and Other Woman. They both face a critical disadvantage—giving birth to babies, which is a major inconvenience in the sex industry, to which they belong. The First Woman adopts a faith, which directs her fight. The Other Woman starts a fight, totally misdirected by a lack of faith.
The Story (Abridged)
First Woman (indicating the other): My lord, she and I live under the same roof… Three days after my child was born, she had her own child… One night her baby died because she lay on it during her sleep… She stole my baby out of my arms … and placed her dead baby in my arms.
Solomon: This woman says, “My son is alive, and your son is dead.” The other woman says, “My son is alive, and your son is dead.” Bring me a sword. (Receiving a sword) Cut the living child in half, and give each woman one of the halves.
First Woman: Please don’t cut the child in half! Just give the whole child to her! Please do not kill him!
Solomon: The living child belongs to the first woman. Give the boy to her, and do not harm him. She is the true mother.
(Read the entire story 1 Kings 3: 16-27. This excerpt is from the VOICE Version)
First Woman’s Faith vs Other Woman’s Fight
The First Woman seems willing to leave her old trade for something nobler. She finds new purpose in becoming a parent, and she pursues it with passion. She has faith in her ability to embrace a new lifestyle. Her instinct tells her that the dead child in her bosom is not her child, and she exercises faith in the justice system to help her regain what is rightly hers. Her faith causes her to persevere in her love for the child, and in her determination to keep him alive. Her faith guides her fight.
The same problem brings out the worst in the Other Woman. She fights to remain in the lifestyle to which she is accustomed. First, she kills her baby—perhaps accidentally, but it is dead anyway. She destroys her purpose and wants the First Woman to experience the same fate. She fights the First Woman in court for the right to kill her baby also. She has no qualms using a sword (the ultimate fight weapon) to get her victory. The absence of faith in her fight makes her cold hearted, destructive to her self and to the First Woman.
Everyone can relate to the women in the story because everyone encounters life-changing problems, and everyone is responsible to choose whether the response will be primarily faith or primarily fight. Bible students may recall the words of the Apostle Paul about the "good fight of faith" (1 Timothy 6:12). According to Ellicott's Commentary, this good fight is fueled by the strength and courage derived from one's personal faith. It is faith which motivates the individual to fight for integrity, love, loyalty and other virtues which motivate fair play in the game of life. Fight without faith is driven by vices like selfishness, covetousness and hate. Faith first is definitely the wiser approach.
Lessons for the Game of Life
Know Your Purpose
Adopt the First Woman's attitude and recognize your purpose, which is sometimes hidden within the problem. Exercise faith to believe that you have a God-given purpose, or else the First Woman (within you or within someone else) will offer a substitute purpose which may be dead already.
Questions like the following will help you discover your purpose: What do you get to do that makes you glad you’re alive? What skill or talent do you prefer to spend your time engaging in? What do you hope to be, to do, to have before you die? If you still haven’t figured it out, get help. Discover it and fight to keep it alive.
Adjust Your Perspective
Do you think that your past dictates your future, or do you have faith to believe that divine intervention can redirect you? Will you remain stuck in the Other Woman's perspective and fight to survive in the dead-end life you have always known? Or will you accept the First woman's perspective and allow your faith to push you into the fight for a more meaningful, satisfying life?
You can choose to engage in a faithless fight to your own detriment. Or, you can exercise the First Woman's faith and follow your heart to victorious living.
Follow Your Passion
How hungry are you for the satisfaction you want out of life? How committed are you to keeping your God-given purpose (your baby) alive? Are you prepared to fight the fight of faith until your faith is rewarded?
Stay in the fight no matter the intensity of the Other Woman's efforts. Focus on the purpose of your fight: to become the person you are designed to be, to perform with excellence according to your level of giftedness, to obtain the life you deserve.
Begin Your Chant
Life coaches encourage individuals to visualize the end of the game, literal or figurative, before they start. It is easy to image that as soon as the First Woman realized the Other Woman's ploy, she began to chant inwardly, "The child is mine. The child is mine." It takes faith to believe that what her instinct (God's voice) told her would be realized, even when she came so close to losing.
Yet the First Woman's faith overcame the Other Woman's fight which was fueled by callousness and deceit. So, see your purpose clearly, and pursue it with faith and integrity. Encourage your loved ones to do the same, and persevere individually or together. From day one, begin your personal chant of faith: "It's mine. It's mine."
© 2021 Dora Weithers