May the Lord bless you, may He keep you and may He make His face to shine upon you. Welcome back to Faith and Insight. Last week's article ended with the question "How can I be an overcomer?
To be an overcomer is first and foremost a step of faith. As students and disciples of the Word, we need to keep faith in the right perspective. I John Chapter 5, verses 4-5 defines this perspective: "For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world - our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?" What this is saying is that our faith needs to be a Christ-centered faith, not faith in our faith. Faith in Him who is our faith.
The book of Revelation speaks of those who will overcome. Chapter 12 verse 11 states, "And they overcame him because of the blood of the lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and because they did not love their life even to death." The "him" in this passage refers to the devil and the evil that is in the world because of him.
Three things are mentioned here, let us look at each in light of being an overcomer.
First the verse says...because of the blood of the lamb. It is only through the death of Jesus and His blood being shed that we are redeemed to the Kingdom of God from the kingdom of darkness. Only through His blood can sin be washed away. Thus no longer having dominion over us. Death, along with the devil, has been defeated forever. Every bondage and weight has been broken. The power to lead us in victory is now ours, as it was their's.
Secondly..."because of the word of their testimony." This means their public proclamation. Putting their faith absolutely in Jesus and His shed blood as the atoning sacrifice for sin. Each of us who has confessed and receive the salvation of Jesus has this testimony to share openly. By doing so we enter into the full power of His cleansing by living what we speak. Our faith will not do anything for us, nor will it enable us to overcome unless we trust with the same trust as we do for our salvation. We seem to be able to trust in the security of salvation. Yet we cave in when it comes to applying that kind of faith in the daily things of this life. If you trust in "your" faith and not in Jesus, you merely suppress the problem at hand. We need to trust by faith in Jesus, on Jesus, and through Jesus with our total emphasis being Jesus and His ability to do all things.
Thirdly ... "they did not love their life even to death." This is so very important if you're going to be an overcomer. This by no means is saying that we are to be Christians with the proverbial martyr complex. It is saying that we understand that the cost of overcoming is at the cost of a death-to-self relationship to Christ. We must live by the statement that "It is not my way but God's way." We cannot have any reservations or restrictions about how God will use us. We must not have hidden agendas that would try to tell God what to do or how to do it. We must be as the New Testament Christians were. Willing and content with God's way, even if it meant martyrdom. My life is not my own it was bought with a price - His shed blood.
The secret of Overcoming: Jesus taught us through His example. He overcame the devil by dying on the cross. Through His teaching we are taught that "...unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit." John 12:24.
So the secret of overcoming is through dying. Dying to the right of recognition, honor, position, respect, and the list could continue. Think of it, if we die to these things in our flesh through faith in Jesus, these things would no longer bother us or have a grip on us. When was the last time a corpse argued with you? Galatians Chapter 2, verse 20, says we are dead, yet we live, but no us Christ through us. (paraphrased)
It's so very hard for us to overcome because we constantly fight death in the fleshy part of our life. Pride = my way. Faith - Yahweh.
Battle Preparation by Gisela Yohannon:
Have you ever wondered by just before a major spiritual event or battle, you are all of a sudden confronted with struggles in your own heart? You discover bad attitudes, resentment, bitterness, pride, unholiness, lack of patience, lack of love, neglected duties - things you didn't know were there or you thought were mastered long ago. It seems very disturbing to you to have to deal with these conflicts just before such an important upcoming event. You did your best to shut out all outside disturbances, so you could prepare yourself with prayer, fasting, studying, reading books, making plans and raising funds. Now this!
Is it the devil disturbing you? Maybe. He is trying to hinder God's work every time there is a chance. But if what comes your way just before a battle has to do with your holiness, your attitudes, your recognition of failures or sins of your own heart and willingness to repent...then it is not the devil, but the Lord!
Do you know what God's first step is to prepare us for battle? it is not the revelation of great strategies and special anointing. They come later. It is a call to consecration or cleanse our hearts! The Lord knows well that we can't win against the powers of darkness unless our hearts are consecrated and totally His. In order to give us such an opportunity, He has to shine His light very deep into the innermost parts of our hearts. The result: all of a sudden we see ourselves as He sees us, and we feel terrible. In fact, it totally crushes us. He doesn't do this to make us fee. bad or to put us down. No, it is a call to consecration. Look at the children of Israel when they left Egypt and traveled to the promise land.
They faced many battles as well as important encounters with the Holy God Himself. Before some of these major events. The Lord instructed Moses and later Joshua to consecrate the people. Actually, throughout the Bible, God called His people, their kings and their leaders to cleanse, purify, consecrate, separate and sanctify themselves before He could meet them face to face, give them victory in battle, provide for their needs, heal their sick, restore their land and accept their offerings. When you read your Bible, try to watch for these special calls of God. Whenever God laid out this condition and His people responded with cleansing and repentance, God's presence and victory always followed as a result.
The distinguishing characteristic of Christianity is not that Christians are prefect, but that a Christian knows the right thing to do when they realize that they have not been perfect. Aim for the highest goal. In his love grip,
Pastor Patrick Propster is with Carson City Christian Fellowship, 3691 Research Way, No. 111. For information, call 883-5215.