Overcoming the World :: by John Lysaught

“For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4).

Oh boy, do we face obstacles and challenges in our lives from the world! I mean, every day, isn’t there something you have to face? A decision, a challenge, a temptation or some obstacle you have to overcome? We can do this because we ARE born of the Spirit of God, rejuvenated through Jesus Christ, the Son of God, within our hearts and minds. Simple in concept, right? Yes, but to practice this is a challenge that we face each day we live our lives.

I think the only time I don’t face challenges is when I’m asleep (I jest), any other time it is  obstacle after obstacle, challenge after challenge. Really, I mean, doesn’t this get exhausting? Is it like this for you? I get exhausted from it, and yes, fail. But get back up like a boxer whose been knocked down, and come back to win the battle.

We all have challenges that we face individually, but across the board, I think you can deduce that we all face similar challenges though they may be disguised as such to each of us individually. Take for example… hmmm… temptations, as a general item we all face.

You may be tempted by lust or by alcohol, or something else. But in the end we are all tempted. However it manifests itself to us individually. It’s the world that tries to lure us into its grip and tries to hold us down and tries to make us slip-up—all with the goal to take us away from Christ through sin, and suffer the guilt we feel after.

Is it just me or do we face more challenges and obstacles in our lives as we grow with Christ? I wonder sometimes if,  as we grow, we notice more things contrary to Christ and the Bible. Or is it that the world and Satan are trying harder to pull us away from our God by giving large and small temptations, each tailored for each of our weaknesses? I guess after pondering this, it is both. We grow and we recognize more sin in our lives and as we grow, Satan uses the world to try to overwhelm us with sinful thoughts and temptations.

How do we overcome the obstacles in our lives, the challenges we face daily? Duh, Christ of course! If you’re like me, sometimes I try to fight the battles by myself, leaving Christ out the picture — because I think I am strong enough to face challenges on my own without the need for Christ. This misadventure of action will always result in a slap in the face; or shall I say failure on my behalf for not having looked to Christ for help.

It is a lesson I seem to fail at sometimes, but when I finally come to my senses, I reorganize my thoughts, look-up and trust that Christ is my Advocate, and that He will be the leading soldier in my fight to overcome challenges and conflicts. When I do remember to ask for direction from the Holy Spirit, things turn out okay and it is much easier to overcome the challenges I face.

This is easy for those of us who know Christ and have the Holy Spirit in us. The world will not overcome us, but with Christ we will overcome the world. You will know this from the actions and attitude you have when challenges from the world face you nose to nose, foot to foot.

Have you ever observed the unsaved face challenges? They get upset, they spin around trying to figure things out, they yell, they act out, etc.  It is like they throw a tantrum or something. It is quite comic for me to watch this, especially at work.

A lot of unsaved folks at my job get spun-up for just the little things and can’t control their emotions. Those of us who are saved face adversity with a calmness and gracefulness that others can’t understand. They look at us as if we’re crazy because we are calm in the storm of life. They don’t understand why we are not spun-up like they are. It confuses them.

I have this calm demeanor about me at work and in life in general. I don’t get angry, I don’t act out, and I stay calm in the storms that come my way at work and outside of work. I mention work because I spend most of my time there, and can see those who are saved and those who aren’t, so it is a good place for me to observe this.

A deadline is coming up and the product isn’t finished? My coworker, who isn’t saved gets upset, angry, and frustrated.  Me, I’m as calm and steady as a Sunday afternoon. I have the attitude of Christ and know things will work out and I need not worry.

I know I can overcome the challenges I face at work, and when I do this it really confuses people. And even though they take my calmness as a “don’t care” attitude, I know everything will be under control. I know I won’t slip into anger or disdain which is contrary to the Word of God. I personally get a kick out of watching unsaved people spin around till they are dizzy. If you work, take a look around and observe those around you and you will see what I see.

If you do face challenges that you WILL overcome, you know in your heart that Christ is with you. Seek Him and He will be there with you to fight those challenges. With our faith in Him, we will overcome because we have the faith of God in us and we are warriors of faith that will win the battles and wars we face.

“To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne” (Revelation 3:21).

Throughout our entire lives we have and will to continue to have challenges and obstacles. We faced them before we knew Christ—before we were saved, and now we face even greater ones that try to take us off track. To be victorious to sit with Christ in heaven, we have to continue to endure the things thrown at us by the world.

We have to overcome challenges daily, weekly and yearly. To be victorious we must take it on challenge by challenge. On the battlefield of life, it is easier (for me at least), to take on one skirmish at a time, one challenge at time. If I try to look forward to subsequent battles, I find that I get discouraged by thinking ahead.

I mean, I do look at the finality of my endeavor—which is heaven, but here on this world, if I make the effort of anticipating the challenges I may face next week, or next year, I am discouraged for it is hard to fight each day. For me it is exhausting. Maybe you are blessed to not face as many challenges as others, and that is great, but many of us do face great challenges in our lives that we have to fight daily.

Let’s take for example, the lustful desire. It can be lust for another or the lust for something material. For some, it is sex, money, alcohol or drugs… you get the picture. For some this is a daily battle for them. You fight, fight, and fight. You fail. We cannot expect to win each battle, for we are sinful creatures and give in and lose the fight, but ultimately, it is our choice and our strength in God that determines this.

I look at myself and see how weak I was in my walk with Christ in the beginning, failing and losing battles all the time. Yet as my faith has grown and my walk has continued, I find that I overcome more than I fail.  I am sure, with hopefulness, that as I continue to grow with Christ, I will continue to have more victories than failings and the tide of the battle will be on my side more than less.

Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

With strength we will overcome. Why? Because God says we will overcome with our faith and strength in Christ. But how do I get more strength, you may be asking? For those of us who are saved, we know we get strength through Christ. But how do I do that, you ask? Through prayer, through studying the Bible, and by living a Christ like life.

Notice the verse says “through him who gives me strength.” It doesn’t say “through strength” only, for if it left out “through him” we would assume and expect that we could gain our strength through other means other than of God.

We cannot get strength in Christ to overcome by our own devices but we need Christ to give us the strength to overcome. Sometimes I believe people think they, on their own, have gotten more strength in Christ. This type of thinking gives us the sin of pride. The verse clearly states that Christ gives us our strength, not that we give ourselves strength. If we didn’t need Christ to get strength, then what good is Christ in our lives? Christ freely gives this strength to overcome the world if we just ask Him to and believe that He can and that He will give us the strength to face the world.

Knowing Christ is not the end to all adversity but we get strength in Him to overcome the world and Satan. If we leave Christ out of the formula, then the sum will be wrong. If allow God give us the strength to overcome, we will.  One of the hard parts is letting Him give us the strength.   It isn’t an overarching strength that will give you tools by which you can defeat the enemy, but is strength for each situation and each obstacle you will face.

For each challenge, we must ask for strength to overcome. For each obstacle we can get the strength from Christ to overcome. We can gain this strength by continually seeking and asking for it each day.

“Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always” (1 Chronicles 16:11).

This verse adds to the Philippians verse above by adding to “seek his face always.”Always have Christ on your mind, always mediate on Him. What does this mean to you? For me, it is always thinking and keeping my heart open to Him throughout the day. I’m always thinking of Him and talking to Him in my thoughts and actions. I pray, I study the Word, and I talk about Him as much as I can to those who will listen.

In facing obstacles, I seek Him even more, so my thoughts and actions are focused on Christ-like-mindedness, not my mind. I fail sometimes, but not as much as I used to. I find that focusing on Him in my thoughts all the time gives me a sense of peace and joy, and gives me a positive attitude throughout the day.

Those who are of the world don’t understand and therefore they flap in the wind, going this way and that way trying to solve problems. If they had Jesus, then problems would be easier for them to overcome. Unsaved folks just don’t understand how we think and act and just don’t get it: that through Christ we get strength and we overcome.

They continue in a vicious cycle that they can’t get out of. Yet, we, with Christ have escaped that cycle and can move on in life with a hopeful expectation of being able to overcome the world. And the end result will be an in eternity in heaven with fellow believers and Christ.

The world will continue to throw things at us regardless of what we do and where we stand with Christ. But we will overcome with Christ. We will win battles in our lives that the adversary throws at us daily. I have Jesus and through Him I overcome. When I forget to seek His strength, I fail. When I seek his strength, nothing can hold me down. Nothing will keep me away from my God. Nothing.

If you are reading this and you aren’t saved, there is hope for you. Christ can give you the strength to overcome challenges and obstacles that you’re facing. He will give you the tools to overcome. All you need to do is accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior. This is a huge step but if you want to overcome the battles going on in your life and get to heaven, He is the only way to conquer the world.

If you want to go to go to heaven you must not be overtaken by the world. You need to accept Jesus Christ in your heart as your Lord and Savior.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

All Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible.