Updated: Nov 21, 2020
For a long time, I believed that living the life of an overcomer had to do with conquering circumstances, winning an external battle. Making things happen despite many challenges. Perhaps this is part of it, but there is more.
Lately, I have come to realize that the Lord was calling us to overcome the greater battle of what lies within. To overcome ideas about religion that draw us away from the truth by distracting us with rituals and acts. Early in the New Testament, Jesus alludes to the importance of concerning ourselves with the condition of our hearts.
Matthew 15:11, 18 states, "What goes into someone's mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them. But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these things defile a man."
How radical this was, at a time when religious people were concerned with doing what appeared to be right. Following procedures. How radical this still is today. That’s the power of the truth. The heart can’t be seen, no one but God knows what is in it. Yet we are told to overcome that which can’t be seen. The thoughts and intentions of the heart. It’s that bitterness, judgment, anger, hatred, unbelief, negativity, greed, jealousy, immorality…. The list can go on, things contrary to the Spirit of God that have taken root and just feel like they are part of who we are. The things that we have housed for so long that they feel like part of our DNA. After all, this is normal in today's world.
That’s why we are called to be overcomers. This isn’t an everybody type of calling. We have to reject that the world says it’s alright. We have to refuse to be normal. Even though no one can see it, we have to engage in an inner battle to be right with the Lord.
James 4:4 says, "You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God."
Everyday we have to overcome our desire to fit in. We can’t do it on our own. We have to keep calling upon Him who made us conquerors. Confessing our shortcomings and repenting. The Kingdom of heaven is near. We don’t want to be turned away at the gate while we recite the acts we did in the name of Jesus. The outcome of such a choice was made plain to us. Matthew 7:23 states, "Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'"
He must be the Lord of our hearts, sitting on the throne of our hearts. It was revealed when Jesus was asked by the disciples which commandments were the greatest. This would be the anchor in the life of an overcomer:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
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