Normally when we think of victory, we think of something beneficial, something that feels good. But can there be such a thing as a malignant victory? That is a victory that’s not beneficial but malevolent, vicious, injurious and harmful to its own victors?

If you think for a moment, you will realize that when we say someone died from cancer, we are announcing a malignant victory. Cancer cells differ from normal healthy cells in several important ways. First of all, they are “rebels.” Instead of operating in an ordered and systematic way that allows for balance in the body, cancer cells break all the rules exclusively for their own benefit.

You might say cancer cells are completely selfish. They divide rapidly without any regard for how their numbers affect the needs of other cells. They refuse to stay localized and instead spread and invade other parts of the body where they don’t belong, disrupting the body’s functioning. And they consume the lion’s share of nutrients, creating their own supply systems and starving out normal cells. Left unchecked, they eventually destroy the body they have invaded, and in their malignant victory they also destroy themselves.

Like a cancer, malignant victories in human societies are always self-destructive. They are fueled by self-interest where one group feels entitled to the greatest share of benefits at the impoverishment of other groups. Rather than respecting the contributions of others through collaboration, one group seeks to dominate, creating a barrier between itself and other groups. This dominant group often usurps existing authority and operating rules in order to entrench its own power structure. Eventually, however, the systems created by malignant victories either collapse internally or are overthrown by revolution.

Human history is full of examples of societies destroyed by malignant victories. The collapse of communism in the former Soviet Union is an excellent example. Proclaimed to be superior to other forms of government, it managed to last only 70 years, in the end strangling on its own stagnant economic growth.

The current civil war in Syria is another example. President Assad represents an elite that has ruled harshly for decades, denying the majority many freedoms, and controlling their access to jobs, food, communication and sources of information. Instead of listening to the complaints of the majority and creating positive reforms, the elite has chosen to retaliate with force killing an estimated 70,000 and turning 1.2 million citizens into refugees. Everyone agrees that the current regime will not last, but in its bid for malignant victory, it appears determined to destroy the country that has sustained it for so long.

Father God cautions us not to engage in malignant victories. He warns us not to be dominated by self-serving interests. In Proverbs 16:25, He tells us, “There is a way which seems right to a person, but its end results in death.” Self-interest will always inevitably turn to self-destruction.

Instead, Father God encourages us to seek Him, and His priorities. He reassures us that when we do, we will receive everything we need and truly desire (Matthew 6:33). Father God has a strategy for true victory that is never malignant and gives abundant life to all. “Wealth and power come from You (Father God); You are the ruler of all things. In Your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all.” (1 Chronicles 29:12)

Come join us this Sunday at 9:00 AM or 11:00 AM. We are continuing our series on “The Victorious Church.” My message is “Ekklesia: God’s House of Prayer.”

Ché Ahn and his wife, Sue, are the Founding Pastors of HRock Church in Pasadena, California. Ché serves as the Founder and President of Harvest International Ministry (HIM) and the International Chancellor of Wagner Leadership Institute (WLI). With a Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary, he has played a key role in many strategic outreaches on local, national and international levels. He has written more than a dozen books and travels extensively throughout the world, bringing apostolic insight with an impartation of renewal, healing and evangelism.