With reading that passage, I can just imagine the mass of believers saying, “Amen!” to this passage and thinking how true it is, but possibly never really experiencing the valid truth of it all. If I haven’t experienced the overcoming nature, is it because of my circumstances, some person standing in my way, my upbringing, culture, or maybe its not my gift!?! No matter what the excuse, you’d be wrong whichever way. To be an overcomer isn’t a matter of what is hindering me as much as it is about who’s enabling me to live in the reality of this passage?
Make a critical decision…..
…..to be an overcomer. I know, you’re thinking, “Seriously?” Yes, I’m serious. To overcome begins with a decision to be what God’s Word says, and in addition to this, you have to make a decision on how you are going to view circumstances. You can look at all the successful people around you and say they have it easy, or something worked in their favor which is not available to you, but you would be mistaken. All people face circumstances and those who overcome have chosen, at first, to overcome the issue. Those who haven’t made a decision to overcome at some point decide to lay down and die…RIP! Are you a believer who is struggling with living the overcoming life? If so, you need a new way of thinking through your challenges. You need to see them not as issues to discourage you, but they can be your greatest motivator. Maybe you’re not following completely yet, but just keep reading!
Get a Transformed Mind…
…..if you want to start succeeding in faith. Romans 12:2 tells us this, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” What does this mean? Well, it’s as simple as being disciplined enough to think……Godly! If you are praying and wanting God to just drop the overcoming life, or a transformed mind on you then you’re missing your responsibility to have your mind transformed by Him. You’re going to have to get into God’s Word and spend some time with your LORD in the pages of your Bible and allow that living Word to find a place in your thoughts, heart, and your life. It will take more than just a five minute prayer life, and you need to start spending some quality time talking and also listening to your Father. Yes, you need to spend some time communicating with Him, and you’re going to need to draw near to Him, so He can draw near to you. I can’t imagine hoping a complete stranger who has the keys for my life is actually going to help me if I never develop a relationship with that person, but we do this with God. We think we are close to Him just because we attend church, or follow some basic Christian disciplines, but we’ve failed to know Him. Even so, we’ve failed to become known by Him as His child, and His servant. The more time you spend with God and experience who He is, what He thinks about you and His love for you, and what His plan is for you…..this will increasingly transform your mind from, “I can’t ever….”, to “With God, all things are possible.”
My Response should be like…
…..King David’s. He had to come face to face with the champion of the Philistines, Goliath of Gath. (1 Samuel 17:23-27) David shows us what the response of an overcomer is and how it is practiced or lived out in our lives.
1. Overcomers respond to the challenge, not the problem.
How many times has someone said something about someone else and that person, to stand up to what was said, chooses to say something derogatory about that other person? It’s a real low blow and pretty immature. David was better than that because the situation wasn’t really about him. He didn’t respond to Goliath as if he were his problem but as if his words were a challenge to the God of Israel and he was right! Goliath was challenging God and David knew his God was up for the challenge. It’s critical how you perceive the problems in your life and how you perceive God. If all you can do is focus on problems then it’s hard to focus on your God who is up for the challenge. When obstacles come, the challenge for you is this…..how much do you know God and trust Him to be faithful and able?
2. Overcomers don’t allow themselves to be shaped by circumstances, criticism, or the opinions of others.
In 1 Samuel 17:28-33 we see David’s older brother, Eliab trying to deflate David’s champion attitude into some kind of defeatist attitude. He was embarrassing and belittling David and even went as far as questioning his integrity. In the same way, the enemy is always trying to tear you down, insert doubt, and give you reason to focus on your own powerlessness. The enemy may be right that you can’t do it on your own, but you aren’t on your own! We allow others to overly influence us, and we focus on their words rather than God’s Word about us. When the circumstance or opinions say, “YOU CAN’T!” is when you have to know what God has said and go with that instead.
3. Overcomers live by what God’s Word says, not by what they see, hear or imagine to be true.
Before David even took up his sling there was a battle of words and Goliath was shouting at the top of his lungs and intimidating the armies of Israel with his boasting. It was Goliath’s word against God’s Word! David responded with a word from God…”I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel whom you have defied….” David didn’t get in a shouting match, He spoke what God put in his mouth to say and then he let the stone fly and God did the rest! Speak God’s Word over your situation, call on your God to come to your aid, ask Him for insight, help, and strength, and you will see God’s hand move in your life.
4. Overcomers respond with courage to seemingly impossible challenges.
We each face incredible opportunities that are camouflaged as impossible situations. Your problems are not unsolvable, impossible, or unfair. It’s here where your thoughts have the ability to guide you….your thoughts about situations, your thoughts about your God and His love for you, and even God’s availability to you and His ability. We all have Goliaths, but how are you going to respond? Each of us can be like David, draw on God’s courage within our spirits and rise to the challenge because God is with us and we never stand alone!