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The Art of Overcoming

The Art of Overcoming

    We live in perilous times. There are different difficulties to be faced now than there have been in our recent past.   It seems to be the mindset of some that we will not be able to overcome “if” we get the virus.   Of course, this life offers many other areas in which we need to overcome as well. Every kind of evil is contrary to us and we must be careful not to allow evil to overcome us.   In Romans 12:21 we find the Spirit having the apostle Paul warn the church of Rome, (as well as we), that we can know the “Art of Overcoming”, and also how to accomplish it. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

     This idea of “overcoming” had already been addressed with the brethren that assembled in Rome. That which we allow to control us is that which we allow to overcome us. Romans 6:16-18 shows that the Roman Christians had indeed overcome.   Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? 17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousnessThese people had once served the world, but had now yielded themselves to the Lord and His Word and were, at the time of this writing, faithfully serving God.  

       Jesus, in speaking to His apostles elect in John 16:32-33, informed them that they were to going to face some severe situations, but also encouraged them by telling them He had provided them with the example to follow. Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. 33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world

      John 6:38 also provides us another example from the Lord that we might be successful in overcoming while here in this world.   He said: “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.If we expect to overcome, we too must do the Will of God.   God has provided His Will for us in His Word.   In His Word, God has also richly supplied us with the needed instruction and encouragement, so we will know how to fulfill the Will of the Father.  

       When things are difficult, when times are tough, and when it seems that we may not be able to overcome, there is much in God’s Word to help us.   Often when folks read about the “armor of God”, they seem to stop reading at verse 17, and not take into consideration the fact that we have to not only put on the armor of God, but we also have to persevere.   Notice this passage, and pay particular attention to the 18th verse (Emphasis DPS). Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saintsEphesians 6:13-18. Just putting on the armor does not provide on-going and continual protection. If we are to overcome, we must also persevere.  

     Often, we need encouragement in the various areas and activities of life. The Lord has also provided for this. Although the word “encourage” is not found in the N.T., there are plenty of scripture to help us to overcome. We might look to such well-known passages as Philippians 4:13. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.  This has often been used as a mantra by many and applied in every aspect of life, and often otherwise is misapplied, but was spoken for the encouragement of the Christians there.       

     There are also many N.T. passages that encourage Christians to “stand fast”. These are given so Christians, even in the face of persecutions and tribulations will remain strong in the faith. Again, in looking to the Philippian letter, we can read in Philippians 1:27 that a person, or congregation’s manner of life should indicate that they are indeed persevering.   Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; Then, there is the assurance we receive from 1Thessalonians 3:8 that we can only “live”, if we continue to persevere.   For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord.  This is stating that to persevere is a condition of continuing to live spiritually.

     We know from 2Peter 1:3 that the gospel supplies us with all we need, but even that which is supplied is ineffective if it is not applied.   According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:    Use God’s Word as it should be used to 1) become a child of God. 2) Exercise the Art of Overcoming.   Your soul’s eternal destination is at stake.

                                Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

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