Monday, January 17, 2011

Lord, I Want to be an Overcomer!

The first few chapters of the book of Revelation are all about overcomers. I have read those chapters many times and in recent days a cadence has taken root in my mind that goes "I want to be an overcomer, Lord; help me overcome". Go to Revelation 2 and 3 for a complete reading of Christ's letters to the Churches which set forth his praise and warnings about what they were doing right and wrong and what the reward is to those who overcome. Warning: I am not a Bible teacher, so do not interpret this as such. This is what the Spirit spoke to me as I read and meditated about this.

In the letter to the church at Ephesus, Christ warned them to remember their first love, to repent of their lack thereof, and to do what they had done before in order to show their passionate love for Him. Those who are able to overcome this lack and are found to be in the throes of first love for Christ when He returns are allowed to eat of the Tree of Life. I take this as meaning that Christ is the Tree of Life because He is the Way, the truth and "The Life", and if we are overcomers in this area, we will have unlimited access to the Tree of Life in the life to come.

The church at Smyrna is encouraged to endure persecution and tribulation. I don't really find any admonishment here, but only encouragement to overcome persecution and tribulation unto death. Those who are faithful unto death are counted with the overcomers and given a Crown of Life. Remember, Jesus is "the" life, so this is a Crown from Jesus which shows the overcomer's affiliation to Him.

The church at Pergamos is admonished about the fact that they are allowing false doctrine of devils into their church and are told not to compromise their genuine faith in Christ. Overcomers of false doctrine (Bereans, bible studiers) will be allowed to eat of the hidden manna (The Bread of Life = Christ) and will receive a white stone with a name on it that only they and Jesus will know. Again, this represents to me, unlimited access to feed on the wisdom, love, acceptance and all the other good things that Jesus represents and a special relationship where you and Jesus share stuff that isn't shared with anyone else; also known as intimacy with God.

The church at Tyratira was told to reject the false teachings, idolatry and sexual immorality of the Jezebel spirit. That spirit is alive and well in today's church where the prosperity gospel is preached, and people living alternative lifestyles lead the people in the pews. Those who overcome these things will be given leadership positions over the nations during Christ's rule and reign on earth and in ages to come. They will also be given the morning star which is a name given to Jesus (again unlimited access to Christ).

The church at Sardis was told to keep their faith alive, vibrant and to strengthen all areas of their relationship with God; to be on the watch and prepared to meet the Lord. Overcomers will be given spotless white robes, their names will be in the Book of Life, and Jesus will personally confess them as belonging to Him to the Father.

The last two churches seem to be the ones we are most familiar with and think we have the ability to identify. However, I think there are more people/churches like the first five than we can really imagine. (Lord, I pray that you will keep me from being an active participant in any church but the church of Philadelphia.)

The church of Philadelphia is the true Church of Christ that has held fast to the gospel and in today's world has little strength. They are told to keep His Word and never to deny Christ. To the overcomer is granted the right to be a pillar in the tabernacle of God (one who is constantly in the place where God dwells and will never have to leave) and they will be marked with the name of God, God's City and Jesus' new name. They are also promised his protection in the hour of trial and a special place in his worship in which people who have wronged them will have to acknowledge them and understand He has loved them and they belong to Him.

The church of Laodicea is so far removed from the true gospel of Christ they make Him sick and He just might vomit them out of His presence, but to those who recognize their poverty of spirit without Him, repent and go forth and suffer with Him and for Him, he will clothe them in white and they will sit with Him on the throne of His father.

Are you with me? Can you see why I want to be an overcomer...unlimited access to Christ, dressed like Him, reigning with Him, wearing His crown, marked with His name, intimacy with Him, a new name like Him, and sitting on His throne with Him? And what do we have to do? Love Him with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength; keep our love and faith vibrant and alive by reading His Word and praying and talking to Him, including Him in everything we do and say; by doing His work on earth and loving our neighbor in His place; by watching for Him and preparing to meet Him; by knowing and speaking the true gospel of Christ and guarding against false teaching and doctrine. It sounds like a lot, but what it comes down to is devoting our lives, our all to Him. It's not that much because "in Him" we live, and move and breathe. He is our life.

May it be so unto me, Lord. In Jesus' name. Amen

2 comments:

  1. Great reflections as always, Kim! The questions I've been pondering on this are, 1) WHO or WHAT is to be overcome and, 2) HOW do we go about it?

    The word translated as 'overcome' here is Strong's G3528, nē-kä'-ō which means, "to conquer... to come off victorious". First use of the word comes in Luke 11:22 which I quote here from the NLT with the verses before and after:

    "For when Satan, who is completely armed, guards his palace, it is safe -- until someone who is stronger attacks and overpowers him, strips him of his weapons, and carries off his belongings. Anyone who isn't helping me opposes me, and anyone who isn't working with me is actually working against me."

    This indicates the answer to question #1. It is Satan who must be overcome. Since Christians are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, Satan cannot indwell us, but he can harass, intimidate and at times persecute.

    Yet we must remember that Satan cannot do anything without the Father's knowledge or approval and that Christ has given us the power -- but ONLY in and through Him, that is Christ -- to strip Satan of his belongings and carry off his (that is, Satan's) possessions. We ourselves are those 'possessions'!! I.e., Satan literally can no longer 'possess' the true believer.

    The next use of the word makes this even more explicit -- John 16:33b --

    "...Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.

    The other verses in which nē-kä'-ō appears prior to Revelation are: Romans 3:4 & 12:21 and six instances in 1st John. These all assure me that I cannot overcome of my own efforts, but only by being in Christ -- girding myself in His armor, listening to, obeying and following Him, etc.

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  2. Thank you so much for that input, Art. I was looking at who and what we are to overcome in the perspective of what was listed in the book of Revelation and not from the perspective of the root cause of those things, which I believe all caused by the "big 3": sin, satan, self and/or the lust of the flesh, lust of the eye and the pride of life. These three must be overcome in order to inherit the things that "eye has not seen nor ear heard" the great things that the Lord has prepared for those that love Him. All of the rewards for overcoming are wonderful, but the most enticing of all to me is the unhindered access to Jesus' love, wisdom, intimacy and care which is decribed sometimes as "warmth that you don't want to leave" by those who have had out of body experiences in heaven. Sort of like going to the beach in the weather we have been having (especially you) and knowing you never had to be out digging in the snow and ice again! Always glad to hear what you have to say!

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