How often do we think about whether we are "overcoming or not?" Probably, it isn't on our front burner...but, it should be. Read on to find out the 3 things that you need to overcome and reach your full potential.
Did you know that you are 'fighting a fight,' right now, even as you are reading this? The converted have a tremendous struggle. We have to battle everyday...with ourselves, and with a world influenced by Satan.
What do I mean? Well, we are imperfect. Even when we truly want to obey God, we find ourselves thinking things that we do not want to think. We find ourselves doing things that we don't want to do and we are easily influenced by the evil in this world at times. It is Satan's world.
For that reason, if you are trying to obey God, it can be easy to become discouraged at times. We, as Christians have to struggle against the tide, we have to swim upstream. The word "overcome" means to struggle...to gain the victory. How do we gain the victory over ourselves when we are so weak? We have to remember that when we were baptized, we died. Our old person that we once were has died.
Paul said of this in Romans 6:13-15
"Neither yield ye your members [as] instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members [as] instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid."
Yes, you are fighting with a dead man...it is yourself! Since we still live in our old body, we fight what Paul called "the flesh." The unconverted person doesn't face this in the same way. They naturally always go along with their human nature. It can be very difficult for the converted person to have to fight his own nature. By the way, if you don't have this problem, something is very wrong.
Endurance is what makes us complete and perfect. This is why James said,
2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you fall into various temptations,
3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
4 Let endurance have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4
We need to develop endurance, but we also need two other important things to overcome.
The apostle John explains,
2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
3 For this is the love of God, (this is how we love God) that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
4 For whatsoever is born of God overcomes the world: and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.
5 Who is he that overcomes the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? 1 John 5 KJV
These are the two other things that we need. Faith and belief in Jesus Christ. So, you see, we don't need to be humanly perfect. We can't be...our old dead man cannot achieve that ever. Some anti-commandment people claim that we are trying to accomplish some sort of human perfection by keeping the Ten Commandments, but NO WAY. Keeping the Commandments is how we show our love for God according to the Apostle John. (vs3 above)
So, it is good to know that even if we are not perfect people, we can still overcome. The people who have overcome so far have in fact, been very imperfect men. Sampson is mentioned in the book of Hebrews as being a servant of God, yet, he killed thousands of people, and others besides Sampson in the book of Hebrews were guilty of various other "sins."
But, the point is that these "imperfect "people became complete or "perfect" by endurance. They all hung onto God, in spite of their own human frailties and weaknesses.
All of the faithful people mentioned in the book of Hebrews shared this one common denominator. They all endured and they all had ultimate faith in God. They were not perfect people that kept the commandments perfectly. They were all flawed men and women. Look at Jacob. He lied to his dad and took Esau's birthright by deception, but God still said that he loved Jacob and hated Esau. Why? Because, Jacob truly wanted what God had to offer...he put value on it. All the people mentioned in the book of Hebrews wanted what God had to offer them more than what this world had to offer.
One last thing about keeping the commandments. All of these people in Hebrews kept the first 4 commandments nearly flawlessly. They all worshipped the right God and they were to the person all Sabbath Keepers... They all had a covenant with the true God. Their faith was in Him alone. It is for certain, that one cannot overcome, if they worship the wrong God. The first 4 commandments tell us who the right God is, and because of this, they are the most important.
God wants us to overcome and to make it into the Kingdom of God. The whole Bible is written as an example for us. For example, the night that Jacob wrestled with Jesus Christ all night, he showed us how to overcome with God. Jacob could not overpower his opponent, BUT...Jacob overcame by not quitting, and, even after Jesus Christ knocked his hip out of joint, Jacob would not let go. So he was renamed "Israel," which means "prevailer with God"
And that must be our path too. We must want to keep God's law, we must want what God has for us and we must hang on to the very end, and then we too will be prevailers with God.... because "He that endures to the end, the same shall be saved." This is the person who will overcome.