The Overcomers Get All The Good Stuff!

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God Thoughts Wired! (Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5) (May 9 - 22, 2010)

To him who overcomes...
Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21

Here’s a concept that I believe with all my heart: Before we can become we must first overcome.

In fact, I can make a pretty good argument from scripture that “overcomer” is synonymous with “Christian.” Consider the following verses,

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world... and who is the one who overcomes, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
1 John 5:4-5 (bold mine)

Additionally, Revelation 21:7 tells us that the common-denominator in Heaven is this very attribute! “He who overcomes shall inherit these things.

Before we can “become” all that God intends for us, we must first learn how to “overcome” the enemies and obstacles that keep us from “becoming.” There are five key areas in which we must develop the skills and attain the knowledge to overcome. They are:


-Sin.

Sin is crouching at your door, and its desire is for you, but you must master it.
Genesis 4:7

-Self.

The heart is deceitful above all else and desperately sick.
Jeremiah 17:9

-The World.

Do not love the world or the things in the world.
1 John 2:15

-Demonic Forces.

Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Ephesians 6:12

-Other People.

‘They will fight against you, but they will not overcome you, for I am with you to deliver you’, declares the Lord.
Jeremiah 1:19

REMEMBER: The overcomers get all the good stuff!

PART 1: OVERCOMING...SIN

The first (no particular order) of the five key areas in which we must {attain the knowledge, develop the skills, and cultivate the will} to overcome is:

-Sin.

Sin is crouching at your door, and its desire is for you, but you must master it.
Genesis 4:7

Yes, we must master sin. “His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). That being the case, it simply boils down to skills and choices. Is it fair for me to suggest that, “The time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries” (1 Peter 4:3).

So, skills and choices. First, the skills:

But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lust.
Romans 13:14

Solomon put it this way,

Do not enter the path of the wicked and do not proceed in the way of evil men. Avoid it and do not walk by it; turn away from it and pass on.
Proverbs 4:14-15

And then, the choices. “Choose for yourselves today, whom you will serve...But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself” (Joshua 24:15; Daniel 1:8).

Skills, choices, mastery over sin. And the overcomers get all the good stuff...FOR ETERNITY.

PART 2: OVERCOMING...SELF

The second (no particular order) of the five key areas in which we must {attain the knowledge, develop the skills, and cultivate the will} to overcome is:

-Self.

The heart is deceitful above all else and desperately sick.
Jeremiah 17:9

I have found the enemy and the enemy is...me!” Whoever coined that phrase certainly had an understanding of the human dilemma . “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but he who walks wisely shall be delivered” (Proverbs 28:26). Wow! It’s not wise to put our trust in our own feelings. We must always evaluate our thoughts and emotions and attitudes through the grid of God’s word.Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5).

Beware the “self-sins.” Self-centeredness. Self-justification. Selfishness. Wherever conflict exists, there’s an awfully good chance that there’s a whole lot of “self” goin’ on.

PART 3: OVERCOMING...THE WORLD

The third (no particular order) of the five key areas in which we must {attain the knowledge, develop the skills, and cultivate the will} to overcome is:

-The World.

Do not love the world or the things in the world.
1 John 2:15

How do we overcome “the world?” I used to think that discipline was enough. It’s not. Don’t get me wrong. Discipline is important! Indeed, discipline is vital to a successful Christian walk...but it is not enough. “He who walks with the wise shall become wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm” (Proverbs 13:20). If the alcoholic spends all of his time in bars, he will eventually fall no matter how much discipline he has. The compulsive gambler will fall if he spends too much time hanging out in casinos.

They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world” (John 17:14). In the world, but not of the world. That’s the key!

Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever...Therefore come out from their midst and be separate, says the Lord.
2 Corinthians 6:14-18

We are called to love those who are in the world. Reach out to them. Be-friend them. Care about them. Witness to them and be the hands and feet of Jesus for them. Enter into their lives in order to expose them to the “light” of Jesus. “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). But PLEASE always remember:

It is never God’s will to diminish our light in the hopes of reaching those who are in the dark. That’s called compromise. Jesus calls it being “lukewarm” (see Revelation 3:15-16).

I call it...BEING DECEIVED!*

*Beware the preacher who is embraced by the world. Jesus said of His true followers, “I have given them Thy word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world” (John 17:14). And He also said, “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (John 15:18-19).

“It is amazing the distance some Christians go to seek persecution and all so unnecessary. Draw a little nearer to Calvary, and persecution will seek you. The world still hates the man who hates his sin.” | A.W. Tozer, A Word in Season, p.110

THE WORLD WILL ALWAYS HATE THE MAN THAT HATES SIN!

PART 4: OVERCOMING...OTHER PEOPLE

The fourth (no particular order) of the five key areas in which we must {attain the knowledge, develop the skills, and cultivate the will} to overcome is:

-Other People.

‘They will fight against you, but they will not overcome you, for I am with you to deliver you’, declares the Lord.
Jeremiah 1:19

Relative to the others, this is by far and away the greatest challenge (in my opinion). The following is what I call “The Grand Test:

Let the positives in others point you toward God, Without allowing the negatives to pull you away from Him.

I’ve been studying (and attempting to practice) this concept for a little more than ten years now and I’ve identified three components. Three keys to becoming an overcomer in the area of other people. “The Grand Test” requires three attributes:

Love. This kind of love, found only in God, “Does not take into account a wrong suffered” (see 1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

Humility.For this finds favor (with God), if for the sake of conscience toward God a man bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly...” (1 Peter 2:19-20).

Submission.While being reviled, He did not revile in return, but kept entrusting Himself to the One who judges justly” (2 Peter 2:23).

Yes, I call it “The Grand Test,” and we are given this test virtually every day...sometimes many times a day. Love, humility, submission. The highest of the “high roads.”

But “To him who overcomes...

CONCLUSION: OVERCOMING...DEMONIC FORCES

The fifth (no particular order) of the five key areas in which we must {attain the knowledge, develop the skills, and cultivate the will} to overcome is:

-Demonic Forces.

Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Ephesians 6:12

As far as we are concerned, the skill is simple. “Don’t give the devil an opportunity” (Ephesians 4:27). However, this is only half the battle because, “The devil prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). He is proactive! So, when the devil (demons) come knocking on your door the key is to “resist him (them) (see 1 Peter 5:9). James 4:7 promises, “resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (see Jesus in the wilderness for a perfect model of this, Matthew 4:4-10).

And how do we “resist” demonic forces? By putting on the full armor of God.*

Take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist...
Ephesians 6:13

*For an in-depth discussion on this topic, click on: The Bible Says Series: Armor of God