“Long-lasting victory can never be separated from a long-lasting stand on the foundation of the Cross.”Watchman Nee
Over the last four months, victory has been a reoccurring theme on this blog. These posts were developed after personally working with John’s writing and seeing the constant refrain of nike (victory; conquer; overcomer) in his letters and Revelation. Today, I want to recap in one post where the last four months have taken us. Here’s an overview of what we’ve observed:
John provided four basic principles that all those who walk in victory emulate. Think through these principles and ask the hard, personal questions. Evaluate where you are at this particular moment:
- One means by which spiritual strength that we need for the journey is provided is through abiding in God’s Word.
- Another means by which spiritual strength is provided is through living each moment with the realization that God’s own Holy Spirit indwells us.
- Victory is enjoyed by those who walk by faith.
- Victory is not attainable by our own strength.
These aren’t “deep” thoughts. These four simple principles are embedded in John’s theology of spiritual victory. The goal isn’t to learn these intellectually; it’s to live them practically!
John scatters throughout his writings an abundance of promises made specifically to overcomers. Here’s a quick recap of the nine promises we studied on our journey.
- God has everything under control; you have no reason to fear.
- God has prepared a table of grace for you.
- The sting of death is not effective against you.
- God has a white stone for you!
- You get to reign with Christ forever.
- God is making some new things for you.
- God promises you stability.
- You can sit with Christ at His throne.
- You get to inherit everything with Christ.
God’s promises are abundant. He never breaks a promise. Because of who we are in Christ, each of these promises are applicable to us today as well. Live them personally!
In the opening posts we demonstrated from Scripture who John had in mind with the word overcomer. The conclusion was that John wasn’t referring to a special class of special saints. No, he was describing you and me. That truth means that every promise made to the overcomer is personal!
Our position of being “in Christ” grants us this special title and description of being an overcomer. Sure, there are times when we may not live like one, but this truth that God sees us as an overcomer gives hope, motivation, assurance, and encouragement.
To use an illustration from Paul’s writings, we know our life should be described by Romans 8 – so why does it seem so often to be in Romans 7?!
We desire to do good, but evil is present with us. We often find that those things we don’t want to do, we do anyway. This opens up an avenue of attack from the accuser. We’ve all been there – at those moments, we definitely don’t feel like overcomers. In fact, our feelings are more described as defeated, guilty, useless, and hopeless. What do we do?
These posts over the last four months dealing with victory could have the subtitle, “Hope for Struggling Overcomers.” My desire since the first post has been to foster hope and encouragement that each child of God is truly victorious in Christ.
In that spirit, let me conclude by reminding you of two simple truths one more time:
- Our old self (old man, old nature) has been affected by our raising, our culture, our experiences and our own sinful desires. When we fail to see ourselves as Christ sees us, we default to this carnal man – and feel as though victory has been lost.
- We are told to “put on the new man,” which reminds us that there is a conscious decision to align our position and our practice.
The key to walking in the victory we already possess is recognizing our position, our identity in Christ. As long as we listen to this world and our old self, we will be victors, overcomers, in name only. Let’s be overcomers more than in name only. There is hope for struggling overcomers!