I want to be a victorious Christian. I want to be an overcomer. I want to be able to conquer whatever difficulties come my way. I know it is possible because the Bible tells us that it is, but deep down, I'm afraid most of us don't believe it's possible.
Romans 8:37 tells us that in all things we are more than conquerors through Christ Jesus, but what does that really mean? First and foremost, we cannot be victorious without God's leadership. That means we have to lean on Him every step of the way.
What Keeps Us From Victory?
We have to trust that Jesus loves us and that He will be with us. Romans 8:35 asks the question, "Who can separate us from the love of Christ?" Then the verses go on to list a bunch of real fears we have. These are fears that keep us from believing Jesus loves us and keep us from being victorious.
Here are a few of them: trouble, hard times, tribulation, calamity, anguish, hatred, distress, persecution, harassment, famine, hunger, homelessness, deprivation, bullying, backstabbing, destitution, nakedness, danger, peril, murder, death threats and the worst sins listed in Scripture.
Most of us know what trouble, hardship, anguish, hard times, distress, hatred, backstabbing, harassment, bullying and danger feel like. Hopefully none of us have experienced the worst sins listed in Scripture, unless we count gluttony, which is said to be one of the seven deadly sins. If so, I definitely have to raise my hand on that one. What about you?
Fear Overwhelms Us
We may not have known what famine, hunger, homelessness, persecution, deprivation, destitution, nakedness, peril, murder or being threatened with death feels like, but on some level we have all been afraid one of these might happen to us.
It's really the fear of these things, along with the shame and guilt of the things we have done, that cause us to not be able to overcome and be victorious in our walk with Jesus. These are things we are trying hard to guard against happening to us.
Even the effort we put toward trying to stay out of debt so we aren't homeless, naked and hungry can make us feel like God doesn't love us because we aren't getting ahead or making the money we feel will make us comfortable.
Worry Paralyzes Us
Our minds are sometimes our worst enemies. They can conjure up many things that make us fearful of the future. We start worrying and then the worrying makes us turn to substances we think will help us stop worrying and stressing. For me, that was always sugary foods and desserts. They helped for a while and then I need more to feel anywhere near normal.
However, all the negative things we tend to worry and stress over we shouldn't even give another thought to because Romans 8:37 (NIV) tells us that even "in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." Nothing can separate us from Jesus' love.
To be one who overcomes all these issues, our attitude has to be, "None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us," (Rom. 8:37, MSG). Nothing should faze us and it won't unless we allow it to; unless we camp our thoughts on the negative.
What Jesus Promises
No, we must turn our eyes toward the outcome that is promised us. If we keep focused on that, we will be overcomers. "Despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us," Romans 8:37 (NLT) says.
Our conquest is current because Jesus has already conquered the world. That means in everything that happens to us, even the seemingly "bad" things that come our way, we can rejoice. We can glory in it because we know we will only grow stronger in Christ through every trial.
When difficulties come against us, they are small in comparison to the refining process we are going through to make us into the people God wants us to become. When gold is put in the furnace, what happens? It is heated to an intense temperature so it will lose the dross, which is the scum that formed on the surface of the molten metal. That must be removed in order to make the gold pure.
Furnace of Affliction
When we are tried in the furnace of affliction, we are being purified. Everything that is of no value is removed from our lives. So even in our most difficult moments, God is still working behind the scenes. However the truth is, sometimes the furnace of affliction looks a whole lot like distress, hardship and trouble, but when we come through it, we will be more than conquerors.
We don't have to worry because in every difficulty and trial, God is with us. Second Corinthians 1:3-5 (TPT) tells us God "is the Father of tender mercy and the God of endless comfort. He always comes alongside us to comfort us in every suffering so that we can come alongside those who are in any painful trial. We can bring them this same comfort that God has poured out upon us. And just as we experience the abundance of Christ's own sufferings, even more of God's comfort will cascade upon us through our union with Christ."
The more difficulties that come our way, if we will turn to God, the more consolation and comfort He will give us. This also begins to develop us into victors! He not only comforts us, which allows us to do the same for others, but He also strengthens us so we can bear the difficulties with a unique blend of holiness and courage. We are not conquerors in our own strength. We are conquerors because Christ has overcome the world for us. He paved the way.
Jesus Conquered the World For Us
John 16:33 (TPT): "Everything I've taught you is so that the peace which is in me will be in you and will give you great confidence as you rest in me. For in this unbelieving world you will experience trouble and sorrows, but you must be courageous for I have conquered the world!"
Some days it really feels like all the world is comprised of its trouble and sorrows. I am grateful that God does not leave us to walk through these difficulties alone. He tells us we have His peace and great confidence when we trust in and rest in Him, in spite of our troubles. He has conquered the world so we can be more than conquerors with His Spirit living in us.
We are not strong on our own. We cannot overcome on our own. We cannot be conquerors on our own. The only way we can have a complete, overwhelming, sweeping victory and be more than conquerors is because we are connected to and loved by Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who gave His life for each of us.
How Can We Overcome?
How can we overcome the issues we face? Most of them stem from difficulties or temptations brought on by the evil one. John tells us what he saw in Revelation 12:11 (NIV): "And they triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by of the word of their testimony."
Our testimonies are powerful against the enemy. My biggest battle was with the 250 pounds on my body that needed to move. My biggest testimony is how I lost that weight only with the leadership of the Holy Spirit.
What great things has God done in your life? What great things do you want Him to do?
Teresa Shields Parker is the author of six books and two study guides, including her No. 1 bestseller, Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds. Her sixth book, Sweet Surrender: Breaking Strongholds, is available on Amazon. She blogs at teresashieldsparker.com. She is also a Christian weight loss coach (check out her coaching group at Overcomers Academy) and speaker. Don't miss her podcast, Sweet Grace for Your Journey, available on CPN.
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