Revelation 21:7-8 (NKJV)
Romans 3:23 (NIV)
I John 5:4 (NKJV)
The Beginning, Part 4
When I was young going to church was something we did without question. The thought of challenging going to church every Sunday never entered my mind. When I was 15 years old my friends went to church across the street from where I went to early elementary school and I asked my dad if I could go there. He agreed that going to church to be with friends (fellowship of the body) was important so I changed churches.
It turned out to be a good thing because it gave me a little bit of a different outlook on worship and God. That’s because different churches in the U.S. have varying thoughts about theology. The church I attended in high school was big on social justice and caring for others. That gave me a good understanding about caring for the needs of others.
According to Revelation 21:7-8, the overcomers are people who seek their courage from God, who believe in God, who value human life, who morally consider others, who worship God alone, and who embrace the truth of God. The scripture says it this way, “He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
One key phrase in Revelation 21:7 is “he who overcomes shall inherit all things.” So, what does it really mean “to overcome?”
According to dictionary.com, the verb overcome means to succeed in dealing with a problem or a difficulty.
By definition, there is a problem and the person who succeeds in dealing with being cowardly, does not believe God, is unpleasant, seeks to kill, is immoral, does not worship God, and lies. Looking at that list makes me uncomfortable. I am reminded of the Apostle Paul’s words in Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”
We all sin.
Jesus was the only person who walked the earth who did not sin. So really how do we become an overcomer?
In I John 5:4, John (the same John who wrote Revelation, tells us, “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.”
When we believe in God to the point we turn to God and rely on the character of God, we become overcomers. Please understand, this is not a matter of working for our faith. It’s simply a matter of surrendering TO God and relying on His power.
In other words, when we are tempted to lie, turn to God and ask Him to show us truth, His truth. I’ve found that being a truth teller is not the easy route. When I was in junior high I was a bit awkward with fashion and hair styles. There are girls who always look great and they make looking great easy. I struggled terribly so I relied on my dad to tell me the truth. Many times my hair style was laughable and instead of telling me “it looks great”, or laughing at me, he would say, “I like the other style better”. He was intent on telling the truth but he was trying to be kind. I knew if my dad said, “I like the other style better”, that meant this one didn’t work.
I learned there are ways to be truthful without being blunt.
Every item on John’s list in Revelations can be overcome (effectively dealt with) when we turn to God. Our faith in God makes it possible for us to be overcomers.
One key element to being an overcomer is turning to God and relying on God for forgiveness. When we rely on the Spirit of God for forgiveness and guidance, the Spirit of God will work in our lives.
The key is always turning to God. We are not “good enough” to do it on our own. God doesn’t expect us to do it without Him. That’s because God loves us and loves it when we turn to Him. My best all time example is remembering when my own children (and now grandchildren) are struggling with something and they come to me for help and guidance. I love it that they trust me enough to come to me. I love the time we spend together. That’s how God feels when we turn to Him for help. Those times ARE the best of times!
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Turn to God
Whether you are dealing with a specific problem or you simply want to take time loving God, turn to God and spend time with Him. Tell God you trust Him and rely on Him in all things. Ask God to remind you to turn to Him when you have a problem. God will most definitely honor that request.
In God, Deborah