‘To him who overcomes…’ – Part 1
It is not mere coincidence that each of the letters to the Seven Churches of Asia Minor ended with the statement, “to him who overcomes…” Jesus intended to press home some points to the Christians in those churches as He intends to do to us today, by that emphasis.
The word “overcome” is from the Greek word, NIKAO, which means “to overpower,” or “to be victorious. Its other meanings include to surmount, conquer and subdue. The word overcome presupposes that there is an opposition, a resistance from an enemy, a temptation or a conflict to win.
The Christian is in constant warfare with Satan, the world and the flesh. These three constantly lure man into temptations. Our daily conflict with unseen forces is well stated thus:
“And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience (Eph.2: 1-2).
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places (Eph.6: 12).
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary, the devil, walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (I Peter 5:8 NKJV).
The Christian’s daily battles range from the struggle over sin, over health, over finances, over the destiny of our lives, over the family, over businesses and work, over our children, and over how we serve God. This struggle can also be likened to the conflict between light and darkness or the conflict between good and evil. Somehow, our choices and decisions affect the outcome of these ever raging struggles.
Intense as these spiritual struggles are, their outcome has long been determined at the cross. All we now do is to enforce the victory that has already been won at the cross.
It is against these daily struggles of life the believer is called to overcome. The band of witnesses, who have gone ahead of us, serve to encourage us to persevere till the end. They overcame the odds of their day and their heroic testimonies stand out for us to emulate. The book of Hebrews summarised the testimonies of their victories and exploits thus:
“By faith, these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight. Women received their loved ones back again from death. But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection. Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated. They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground. All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.” (Hebrews 11: 33-40 NLT)
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