Overlearning Conquerers

In Psychotherapy, especially Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, there is a concept called 'overlearning'. This is doing more learning than you need to do to ensure that you have really cracked the problem. For example, if you are scared of heights, your goal may just be to be able to go walking in the hills - but you may chose to spend a day abseiling just to really ram the point home that gravity doesn't move sideways at the top of a cliff! Or if you are scared of busy places, you may chose to visit a huge mall and go shopping even though you will only ever need to go to the local Co-op on a day-to-day basis.

The learning reason for this is simple - if we stick at the 'only just enough' level we will survive - but that is all. We will always be a bit scared, a bit on edge, a bit wary and filled with 'what if' thoughts. Whereas if we have done something more scary we can say, "Pah, this is nothing compared to that time when I abseiled a 60m drop". Conquering something is better than just surviving it.

God calls us to be 'more than conquerors' in the famous passage at the end of Romans 8, and I think this will involve a degree of overlearning of we are to grasp these verses - if we are to truly grasp that God is able to protect us from these perils rather than we just got away with it 'cos we had a lucky day or Satan was asleep ;-)
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:


"For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. — ROMANS 8v35-39

Another example is in Matthew 5v43-47 where we are told to go the extra mile and not just tolerate our enemies but actually love then. It is as though God knows that if we just tolerate them they will always have an emotional hold over us, whereas if we love them - explicitly, confidently, outrageously - we will break that hold and be free of their power.

These verses also contain the bit about it raining on the undeserving as well as the deserving and gives us the secret of how we are not to be annoyed by this. If we have loved our enemies and overlearnt, we will have submitted ourselves to the commands of God already and will not be thrown by the sovereignty of God, even if it seems unfair from a human point of view. We will KNOW at a deep and true level that he has all things in control. We will have LEARNT this personally rather than have just glimpsed it from a distance or heard it in a sermon.

Will you settle for just surviving or will you become more than a conqueror? Will you commit to overlearning?
Rob Waller, 09/04/2008