The goal of all education, preaching, and instruction is the development of mature individuals who will understand that difficulties in life are Divine-ordained challenges to overcome and opportunities for growth, and not excuses for defeat and self-ruination.
To conquer oneself is a greater victory than to conquer thousands in battle.
To bear up under loss; to fight the bitterness of defeat and the weakness of grief; to be victor over anger, to smile when tears are close; to resist disease and evil men and base instincts; to hate hate and to love love; to go on when it would seem good to die; to look up with unquenchable faith in something ever more about to be - that is what any man can do, and be great.
So far as man stands for anything, and is productive or originative at all, his entire vital function may be said to have to deal with maybes. Not a victory is gained, not a deed of faithfulness or courage is done, except upon a maybe; not a service, not a sally of generosity, not a scientific exploration or experiment or textbook, that may not be a mistake. It is only by risking our persons from one hour to another that we live at all. And often enough our faith beforehand in an uncertified result is the only thing that makes the result come true.
It is not the victory that makes the joy of noble hearts, but the combat.
The man who strives to educate himself - and no one else can educate him - must win a certain victory over his own nature. He must learn to smile at his dear idols, analyze his every prejudice, scrap if necessary his fondest and most consoling belief, question his presuppositions, and take his chances with the truth.
The absolute demonstration of man’s mastery of fate and command of all condition - the victory of man - all men in this racial man, this elder brother of mankind in his triumph over sin, fear and death! But one thing had remained in my mind as necessary to prove to the mass of men to-day man’s absolute supremacy over death in all its forms as an attribute of his oneness with God, with Eternal Life, Perfect Love, Perfect Justice, Omniscience and Omnipotence.
The winning team like the conquering army claims everything in its path and seems to say that only winning is important. Yet like getting into a college of your choice or winning an election or marrying a beautiful mate, victory is fraught with as much danger as glory. Victory has very narrow meanings and, if exaggerated or misused, can become a destructive force.
He got the better of himself, and that's the best kind of victory one can wish for.
It is the easiest thing in the world for us to obey God when He command us to do what we like, and to trust Him when the path is all sunshine. The real victory of faith is to trust God in the dark, and through the dark. Let us be assured of this, that if the lesson and the rod are of His appointing, and that His all-wise love has engineered the deep tunnel of trial on the heavenward road, He will never desert us during the discipline. The vital thing for us is not to deny and desert Him.