By Brother Michel Lankford
Yes, overcoming could hardly be more important. In fact, the bulk of Scripture is all about overcoming.
Thank you so much for your kind attention.
If the Holy Bible had a subtitle it would likely be, ‘God’s Practical Manual for Overcoming Life’s Challenges.’ That is the WHOLE goal of Scripture.
- Every Commandment and Instruction that God has given us in Scripture is meant to train and equip us to overcome. Obeying and DOING what Scripture says to do is the engine that propels overcoming and moves it forward to success. That is partly WHY the Commandments exist (2 Timothy 3:12–17). You CAN’T overcome WITHOUT OBEYING Scrpture, and putting God’s Word into practice. That is HOW you OVERCOME the storms of life (Matthew 7:24–25; Luke 11:27–28; John 8:31–32; John 14:21; Romans 12:21).
- Every Promise that God has given us in scripture is there to transform us, to refresh us, and to, restore and to give us the energy to continue obeying God, and NOT QUIT until we successfully overcome. That is the WHOLE point of God’s Promises (2 Peter 1:3–11; 2 Corinthians 6:14–7:1).
ANY good thing that you want to do is going to REQUIRE that you overcome SOMETHING in order to successfully accomplish it. There is NO REAL accomplishment WITHOUT OVERCOMING in some way.
- If you truly want to become a Loving person, then you’re going to be required to develop the Love Characteristics (1 Corinthians 13:1–8). To develop those crucial Love Characteristics, you’re going to be required to submit to God, and let Him coach you and discipline you, until your attitudes and behaviors truly MATCH the Love Characteristics. To get there, you are going to be REQUIRED to challenge and OVERCOME EVERY attitude, desire, and behavior that DOESN’T match the Love Characteristics. You CAN’T become a truly Loving Person WITHOUT overcoming in the process.
- Pick ANY other Godly Characteristic you care to name; (Mercy; Faithfulness; Stability; Forgiving, or whatever; it is a 100% GUARANTEE that to get you to those Characteristics, overcoming something is going to come into play in the process of getting you there,
The BIGGEST Promise in the entire Bible centers on overcoming:
As it is written: He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.” (Revelation 21:7, NKJV)
Is it important to you whether or not you inherit ALL of the good things of God’s Kingdom? Does it matter to you whether Almighty God considers Himself to be your Father, and whether or not He considers you to be His Child?
If you truly value those Great Promises, and you want those excellent results to be true in your life, then what does Revelation 21:7 declare that you MUST do? If we want those Great Blessings to be a living reality in our lives, then we MUST OVERCOME. Everything hinges upon our overcoming.
Look at Messiah’s Final Instructions to the churches (Revelation Chapters 1-3). Seven times the Savior repeats “… To him that overcomes…, I will grant…” If you reread and pay attention to the first three chapters of the book of Revelation you get a clear idea of how important overcoming is in God’s sight. Why would he make such a point of making this part of His final Instructions to the churches if it was not VITAL in His Priorities?
If You Want to Know How Much God Values Something, Then Look at His Level of Rewards or His Punishments for Various Behaviors
You can always get a sense of God’s Priorities by looking at God’s Rewards or His Punishments for various behaviors. The bigger the reward for doing something good, the more important that good behavior must be in God’s sight. Conversely, the bigger God’s punishments are for a certain bad behavior, then the more God must dislike that behavior, and the more important it becomes to OVERCOME that bad behavior, and not do that wrong behavior anymore. That should be obvious but it bears observing closely.
With this core precept in mind, let us review the HUGE rewards for overcoming, and the HUGE punishments for NOT overcoming. That should give us a clear-cut idea how high overcoming should be in our list of priorities, because of where God puts it, based on His Rewards and Punishments,
The Rewards if WE DO OVERCOME (Revelation 21:7)
- God calls Himself our Father.
- God Calls Us His Children.
- We will inherit ALL the good things of God’s Kingdom.
God’s Punishments for NOT OVERCOMING (Revelation 21:8).
As it is written: But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”” (Revelation 21:8, NASB95)
The punishment for NOT overcoming sin is the Lake of fire and the second death. The fact that Revelation 21:8 begins with the word “BUT,” refers to the fact that the author is making a clear contrast between those who overcome and those who don’t overcome.
So, it should be obvious by now that since God’s rewards for overcoming are so high (Revelation 21:7); and since God’s punishments for NOT overcoming are so devastating and SEVERE; then we should have a clear understanding of just how important overcoming is in God’s Sight. God’s rewards for overcoming would not be so high, or His punishments for NOT overcoming would not be so severe unless overcoming was a high-priority issue in His Sight. With this in mind, how high of a priority should we place upon overcoming in our own lives? We should mimic our Heavenly Father (Ephesians 5:1). Since overcoming is so high of a Priority on His list of virtues, then we need to learn to make overcoming a higher priority in our lives, obviously. It’s about prioritizing things the SAME way that God does.
God’s Basic Recipe for Overcoming (Revelation 12:11)
As it is written: “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.” (Revelation 12:11, NASB95)
The first thing I would like to point out is would you please notice that in God’s basic recipe for overcoming, there is a combined effort at work. It is a Cooperative Work of Grace. There is a part that God does supernaturally. There is a part that God requires us to do. Then there is another part that is a combined effort where God and we work together to accomplish the results.
- God’s Part: We Overcome by the Blood of the Lamb. God applies the blood of the Lamb to our situation. That’s God’s part. He does that supernaturally. All we can do here is ask for it, believe for it, and receive it. That part is God’s job.
- OUR Part: We overcome by the word of our testimony. That part is OUR job. This is where obedience comes into play. When ever we obey a God-given Commandment or principle and we see through living experience that God’s Word WORKS in transforming our circumstances, we are then building a living testimony at that point. Whenever we encounter a God-given Promise in Scripture, and we fulfill God’s conditions to receive that Promise, and we experience God’s promises transforming our circumstances in that instance. We are building a living thriving testimony, where we know that God’s Promises are true, because we have seen His Promises working in our lives. That’s WHY obeying Scriptures matters, because God’s word transforms our situations, and that builds a living thriving testimony that helps us to overcome. That’s WHY we should not discredit or disregard obeying Scripture. It serves a great purpose in helping us overcome. You CAN’T build a functioning experiential testimony WITHOUT OBEYING God’s Commandments and seeing the results in your life. You CAN’T build an experiential testimony without experiencing God’s Promises FUNCTIONING in your life and transforming your circumstances. Now, God helps us with his Grace to do our part successfully, but we MUST STILL DO it. We don’t overcome without doing our part. It doesn’t automatically fall into our lap. If it did it wouldn’t be called overcoming. That’s the whole point.
- Ccombined Effort: We overcome by Loving God’s Kingdom and His Precepts more than we love our lives and our comfort. The enemy loses a ton of ability to manipulate and control you when you love God and His Kingdom more than you love your comfort and more than you love your life. When you reach that point the enemy can’t use your love of life or comfort to manipulate you into sinning against God. Valuing God’s kingdom above all is an immensely powerful weapon when it comes to overcoming. This is something where God works in us with His Grace to be able to do this, but we have a part to play by making the choices and choosing to value the most important things. God with His Grace that helps us to carry out those choices. So it is a combined effort with God and we working together.
Bonus Tip: Choose to View Challenges Through the Lens of Optimism (James 1).
One of the biggest factors to becoming an overcomer is getting our head screwed on straight. If you really want to become an overcomer, I suggest that one of your first priorities is that you make a willful decision of your will that you are going to choose to look at hardships, difficulties, and challenges optimistically first. It’s tempting when you’re going through a challenge, hardship or difficulty to wonder if God is setting you up to fail. He is NOT setting you up to fail. God is trying to discipline you, to coach you and to build you up so that you develop the living experiential testimony with Him that you’re going to need to succeed in the future. God is not trying to crush you, he is trying to build you up so that you will overcome and succeed in the end. We need to get to the point where we endure challenges, difficulties and hardships as part of the discipline that God is using to help us grow up. We need to get to the place where whenever we are experiencing hardship, we take this attitude:
“Father, I admit that I am not enjoying this. This is definitely not the fun part. I know that you are intending to use this to coach me and discipline me so that I will produce good fruit and have a stronger experiential testimony. I choose to trust you even though I’m not having fun with this at all. Help me to submit to you and to cooperate with You more perfectly through this challenge and discomfort so that You can bring about the very best results possible in my life. Please don’t let me faint in discouragement through this hardship.”
If you ask for this you are guaranteed to receive it (Matthew 7:7-8). God can turn around any difficult circumstance to our advantage if we will make the determined choice to cooperate with him through our hardships. His intent is not to harm us or not to hurt us. He intends it to be the making of us, if we cooperate with Him.
This is by no means intended to be an exhaustive explanation of how to overcome, but if you take this approach described in this article you have the basic foundation to get you started on overcoming any challenge that you face.
I do hope this was helpful to you.
Thank you so much for your kind attention.
Brother Michel Lankford