It has been amazing to watch the 2016 Olympics! I find myself sitting there in awe as many athletes overcome the odds to be the best they can be for their country. They are truly overcomers! The word overcomer is an end-time word, emphasized in the book of Revelation and some other passages in the New Testament. It carries a key description for what is needed to finish strong.
Overcomers carry a victorious heart regardless of intense resistance that comes against them. In modern living, we are able to have many things without much effort or waiting. We can become conditioned to expecting great results with great ease. It can be so subtle for us to apply that to our walk with God. In God’s kingdom, anything of value He deposits in our life often gets challenged. Those treasures we gain are worth contending for. The very resistance that comes to steal is our training ground to galvanize us to new levels of maturity and effectiveness. Overcomers move past the comfort stage and into a “whatever is needed to win” kind of mindset.
I find it to be true that people with overcoming hearts challenge complacency. Neutrality and passivity get shaken to the core around overcoming spirits. Those who are not “all in” back away in the presence of overcomers. People admire the breakthrough overcomers bring to the table, but they neglect to understand the price involved with it. Because people are satisfied with complacency, many live decades without much change. Families stay the same. Churches remain stagnant. Businesses only go so far. Very little risk is taken, and soon people are lulled into living like drones. This will never change until someone decides to live as an overcomer.
When we enter into the overcomer’s arena, we allow everything that can be shaken to be shaken. We are no longer afraid of preserving our reputations, possessions or coping mechanisms. How we think and act all get put to the grid of kingdom living relationships. It’s not easy all the time, but it’s the adventure we were made for. The moment that you make a decision to pursue a breakthrough or deal with issues that have not been addressed, get ready for resistance to rise up against you and push against your forward progress. How we respond to this separates those who just want to play Christianity and those who want to actually be history makers.
In the Greek context of the New Testament, the word overcome is the word nikao, which is 3528 in the Strong’s concordance. This word speaks of prevailing, being victorious, conquering, overcoming and getting the victory. A true overcomer is one who is willing to do whatever it takes to see what Jesus paid for happen on this planet to the fullest. They carry a mindset to defeat anything that resists the work of God in their life. Their perspective is not for a quick spark, but for a blazing fire to the very end. They carry a relentless endurance. They just refuse to quit.
So the question starts to become: Exactly who or what is it I am overcoming? Some would think they are resisting themselves, that their enemy is their own self. Others see everyone around them as the problem. They see others as being a part of the resistance against them. Maybe it’s a mother-in-law, a person at work or a former friend. We could go down an entire list, but those people are not whom you are overcoming. The resistance you feel inside of you is what you are overcoming. Those pulls you feel to go back to comfortability; the draw toward an easier way; a nudge toward dysfunctional yet familiar relationship patterns. The wall that rises up every time you want to make a step into a direction of healing and wholeness.
If you have ever tried to walk in greater maturity or new direction, then you have met the resistance. Anyone who has ever stepped out into a new venture has immediately met the resistance. The resistance is not you, nor is it a human being. The resistance is Satan and his army of evil spirits that come against you. They resist any fruitful work of God in your life and they seek to contain the overcomer from ever rising up inside of you. The moment you make a decision to get free and live a greater life, the resistance intensifies, to immediately discourage you and push you back to status quo. Most people are not prepared or equipped to handle the resistance that comes against them. So very few actually break free into the greater things available to them.
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Eph. 6:12
Those who do not live as overcomers do not have a personal reality of the enemy’s resistance in their life. They chalk it up to life not being fair or their own inabilities. We can easily forget who is behind the scenes, resisting the work of God from flourishing in our lives. If we don’t have a spiritual lens to our struggles and battles, overcoming is nearly impossible. The writings of Scripture give us a spiritual battleground lens to carry as overcomers. When we do, we carry a sobriety regarding the battles and struggles we face on a daily basis.
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.” 1 Pet. 5:8-9
How does the enemy do this? It all happens through our thoughts. With continual thoughts, feelings and emotions bombarding us on a daily basis, the goal is that you will not pursue the fullest identity and destiny available to you in Christ Jesus. We must discern his ways and not be ignorant of the strategic attacks that come to derail the purposes of God. This is what separates the overcomers from those who want to coast in ease and complacency. The question is, will you be an overcomer? This Sunday at South Side during worship at 10:45 we will continue our series entitled “Who Are You?” God says that you are an overcomer!
South Side Church of Christ