Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? – 1 John 5:1-5
Mandisa sings the song, You’re an Overcomer. The lyrics include in part:
You’re an overcomer
Stay in the fight ’til the final round
You’re not going under
‘Cause God is holding you right now…The same man, the great I am
The one who overcame death
Is living inside of you
So just hold tight, fix your eyes
On the one who holds your life
There’s nothing he can’t do
He’s telling you
There is an important message here: we overcome because God is holding onto us. It’s not the other way around. There is compelling reason that we are urged to remain faithful. We do well to bring our best, purposeful, reflective, and conscious belief in God’s word. That is the reason we study the Word of God: so we know more of what he has promised and so we can hold onto those promises in the face of life’s challenges.
Ultimately, however, we must rely on God’s hold on us if we are to be overcomers. We have precious little power to stay the course. We are too easily distracted. There are always temptations and challenges to our walk with God. But God sends us his Holy Spirit. He calls us to repent when we sin. He leads us back to himself and points us to his faithfulness and promises.
There are two ways in which I need this message. There are challenges I face in my walk of faith and my vocation. Serving as a pastor of a large church is rewarding but sometimes personally daunting. It is important to me to believe that Jesus is the Lord of the Church and of the church I serve. Perhaps you are faced with challenges in your personal calling as well. God’s faithfulness and promises can be your strength.
There are also those temptations unique to each of us. Whether it is hubris, self-righteousness, judgmentalism, or greed, envy, lust, or anger, we all have our weakness. We all battle demons of one kind of another. The promises of God are very precious to us in those moments we face those temptations. And when we fall, God’s mercy and forgiveness sustains us.
We are overcomers because Jesus has overcome the sharpness of death and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers (Te Deum Laudamus). Overcomers ultimately hold a humble faith in God, and rejoice that he keeps ahold of us.