Growing up in the Boland home, Momma was always fond of saying to her children, “God never promised you a rose garden. But He did promise you the thorns.”
To him who overcomes . . . (Revelation 2:7)
Let’s be clear about one thing. The only people who don’t face opposition are already in glory with Jesus; opposition has been promised to the rest of us. Jesus put it this way:
In the world you will have tribulation, but take heart; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33 ESV)
And because He has overcome the world, His followers can also. The apostle John assured us, “Everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world” (1 John 5:4 ESV). And Paul exulted that in all things, “We are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).
So . . . do you believe that you are an overcomer in Christ? Perhaps you’re not “feeling it” today; perhaps you feel that you have been overcome by the opposition you’re facing in your life today. You are not alone; I’m sure at some point in their lives almost every Christian has felt the same way! Let’s look at how we can “take heart,” as our Lord commanded us.
The first step in overcoming the things that have come up against you is to acknowledge the fact that nothing strange is happening to you. As the Wise Preacher said in Ecclesiastes 1:9, there is nothing new under the sun. What happens to you happens to all of us. We all face physical opposition. We all face mental opposition. We all face emotional opposition. We all face spiritual opposition. Opposition is the result of our first parents’ disastrous fall in the Garden of Eden.
The second step in overcoming the things that come up against you is to acknowledge the fact that Jesus has overcome everything that opposes us. Jesus has overcome our opposition . . . whether it be physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual. He overcame it all in His sinless life, His sacrificial death, and His supernatural resurrection. He has overcome the world!
The final step in overcoming the things that come up against you is to fight with all His might, not your own. To be more than a conqueror, you must conquer in the strength of the Almighty. Remember, greater is the power that is at work within you than any power that comes up against you (1 John 4:4). Because of your union with Jesus, what He overcame on your behalf you will also overcome.
When Jesus said, “It is finished,” He meant what He said! He conquered every enemy, including our last enemy: death (1 Corinthians 25-26). Jesus became the death of death, so death has lost its sting for all those who are united to Him by grace through faith (1 Corinthians 15:54-57).
Overcoming assumes opposition, and those who overcome acknowledge the inevitable reality of opposition and respond to it in His strength, not their own.
Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord Almighty. (Zechariah 4:6)
Remember, He who began His good work in you has promised to complete it in His strength, in His way, and in His timing . . . not yours. And so, Christian, as the apostle Paul encouraged you, “My dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!