For a long time, I believed that living the life of an overcomer had to do with conquering circumstances, winning an external battle. I thought that living a life of an overcomer meant making things happen despite many challenges. Perhaps this is part of it, but there is more. I’ve come to realize that our internal battles are greater predictors of the outcome and quality of our day to day lives than our circumstances.
I have come to realize that the Lord was calling us to overcome the greater battles of what lie within us.
God is calling us to overcome our thinking and heart meditations; ideas about religion that draw us away from the truth by distracting us with rituals and acts. Early in the New Testament, Jesus quickly points to the importance of concerning ourselves with the condition of our hearts rather than external factors. In our time the focus on what we eat seems trivial, but at that time in history “purity” also had to do with what one ate.
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. – Matthew 15:11, 18
How radical was this?
Jesus said this at time when religious people were concerned with doing what appeared to be right. Back then people were so focused on following procedures. This applies to us today as well. We live in a social media world, our bible lets us know that it’s not about being seen by people, but being known by God. That is the power of the truth; it’s time-less.
The heart can’t be seen, but only God knows what is in it.
We are told to focus on overcoming 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, anxiety, chronic frustration, …The list can go on and on. When we don’t focus on these things that are contrary to the Spirit of God, they begin taking root within us and begin to feel like they are part of who we are. These are the things we have housed for so long that they feel like part of our DNA. This may be normal in today’s world, but it’s not our portion.
We are called to live the life of an overcomer. It’s a calling that only radical Christians can live.
We have to reject what the world says is okay and good for us. We have to refuse to be normal. Even though no one can see it and applaud our efforts, we have to engage in an inner battle to be right with the Lord.
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. – James 4:4
Everyday we have to overcome our inner self. We can’t do it on our own. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. 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.
The Word tells us, many are called but few are chosen. Christ must be Lord of our hearts, sitting on the throne of our hearts. It was revealed to those who choose to believe when Jesus was asked by the disciples which commandment was the greatest. They wanted to know, if we fail to do it all, what must be definitely get right.
This is the anchor for living 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.” – Matthew 22:37-40
May God help each of us to have a pure heart; so we can begin living the life of an overcomer.