Throughout Scripture, believers are encouraged to overcome. In fact, overcoming the world could be considered the daily task of faithful believers. Perhaps this is why Jesus spends so much time issuing admonitions to overcome when addressing the seven churches in chapters two and three of the book of Revelation. In this amazing passage of Scripture, while praising and/or rebuking each church, Jesus encourages those who have ears to hear to overcome. Then He goes on to make wonderful promises to those who succeed. With this in mind, we will examine what it means to overcome and just how difficult the task can be, given the very difficult circumstances believers often find themselves in, circumstances that should cause the faithful to cry out: ‘Help us, Lord, to Overcome.’ 
How Does One Overcome?
After informing the Philippians that his imprisonment had actually worked to further instead of hinder the gospel, the Apostle Paul encourages the believers in Philippi to stand fast in one spirit and with one mind to strive together for the faith of the gospel. He goes on to tell them not to be terrified by adversaries because they, like all Christians, should be prepared to suffer on behalf of Christ (Phil 1:27-30). Therefore, Paul capitalized on his own circumstances in order to encourage others to overcome. However, Paul did not stop with mere encouragement.
In chapter two, Paul calls for unity through lowliness of mind (Phil 4:3) and reminds the faithful in Philippi that Christ overcame by taking on the form of a humble servant who was obedient even to death on the cross, for which the Father has highly exalted Him (Phil 2:5-11). Paul then provided the tools necessary for every believer to overcome:
“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”  (emphasis mine)
This passage directs the believer to work out their own salvation, which is another way of saying overcome. However, Paul does not tell the believer they are on their own in this endeavor, as verse thirteen yields the most important part of this entire narrative: God is the one who is working in the believer who is striving to overcome, ‘the will and to do’ of His good pleasure. Said another way, God is providing the ability in the overcomer to both desire and do His will. This is crucial because Jesus said only those who do the will of the Father enter the kingdom of heaven (Matt 7:21), and God would have none lost (2 Pet 3:9). Therefore, He has done and continues to do all of the heaving lifting for the believer.
First, God sent His only begotten Son to die in order to save all who would believe on Him (John 3:16). Here, we see that God even provides the one who believes the very impetus needed to fulfill His will. King David understood this when he wrote the 37th Psalm. In verse four he says, “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” Great insight can be drawn from these words.
Consider this: one who delights in the Lord desires more than anything to fulfill His will. Perhaps this is why God can share His will with this type of person. Therefore, the desires of the heart of those that delight in the Lord and/or those that work out their own salvation with fear and trembling (Ps 37:4; Phil 4:12) are literally the will of the Lord. Accordingly, when God hears these desires manifest in prayer, He is ready to hear them because His ear is inclined toward the righteous (Ps 34:15). This same sentiment is seen in the 17th verse of Psalm 10:
“LORD, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear.”
This passage makes it clear that God both prepares the heart of the humble and He causes His own ear to hear the desires that come from them in prayer. Perhaps this is why it is written that “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16). Incredibly, in a seemingly miraculous manner, God provides, as Paul taught, the will (desires of their heart) and the unction to do those things that He has made Himself ready to hear, all because it pleases Him. Wow, God is so incredible!
With all of this in mind, it is clear that overcomers are the humble ones who work out their own salvation with fear and trembling by desiring and doing the will of the Father, each and every day until their very last breath.
Difficult – Not Impossible
King David was very accustomed to hardship and the overcomer’s life. Undoubtedly, his own hardship came to mind as he wrote Psalm 34:19, a verse that was once very popular because believers knew that striving to live the life of an overcomer was normal. However, this same Scripture is now shunned by many who desire to live without difficulties in the here and now. This is why we must expound upon this once great treasure here:
“Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.”
First, take note that these many afflictions affect the righteous. This means that bad things can and do happen to good people. In fact, if one reads this passage in context, it is clear that, while this particular verse can be seen as universally true of any righteous person (one who is in right standing with God because of belief in Christ Jesus the Son), it is also speaking about Jesus and the many afflictions He was to suffer during His days on earth. This should clear up the fact that any who would live a faithful life will, while doing so, have to endure many afflictions.
Second, notice that only the righteous are to be delivered from these many afflictions. Therefore, though it may rain on the just and the unjust (Matt 5:45), it is only the just that can count on eventually being delivered from the afflictions of this present time. It is necessary to clarify that deliverance from affliction is not always immediate. The life of Joseph is a great example of this. Joseph was betrayed and sold into slavery by his own brothers. He was then falsely accused by his master’s wife and sent to prison. Finally, he was forgotten by the chief cupbearer whose dream he had interpreted, and left in prison for an additional two years. Scripture indicates that these afflictions covered a span of thirteen years; however, God did, in His own timing, deliver Joseph out of these afflictions, after which he went on to save his people (Gen 37 & 39-47) from the famine which would have destroyed them otherwise.
Lastly, it is important to see in the text that the Lord will deliver the righteous out of “all” afflictions. This means that the absolute fulfillment of this promise can only take place at the rapture, for this is the time when both the dead in Christ and those who are alive and remain are changed into beings who no longer suffer the ravages of age, sickness, and death (1 Thess 4:13-18; 1 Cor 15:50-57).
1 Thess 4:13-18
“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
“For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”
1 Corinthians 15:50-58
“Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
“So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”
Notice that Paul ends both of these corresponding passages about the rapture with messages of hope and encouragement to overcome. He also provides the best way to pass the time until this much-awaited moment of change: We are to abound in the work of the Lord, which is best done by being in the center of God’s will, which can only happen by humbling ourselves and seeking His face daily, as in – all day. After all, “men ought always to pray and not faint” (Luke 18:1). Likewise, Paul encourages the faithful to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess 5:17).
Prayer is extremely important to the overcomer, as the title of this article suggests. Indeed, it is through prayer that the imploration, ‘Help Us, Lord, to Overcome,’ can be answered. In this state of utmost humility, effective prayers can be uttered because they are formulated within a heart that is yielded to God’s will, just like Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matt 26:36-46).
As previously stated, it is very clear that Scripture encourages the faithful to overcome, and this is further accentuated by the fact that Jesus speaks to the overcomer in every church to which He sent letters in Revelation 2 and 3. This is evidence that the Lord wants His children to desire ‘in their heart’ to overcome. Therefore, we can rest assured that praying for the Lord to help us overcome is not only a good idea, it is also essential.
Overcomers often live in obscurity while being maligned by those who desire to persecute the faithful. King David and Joseph are both great examples of this, as they were each given great promises from God at a very young age. And as biblical history reveals, both waited years for the manifestation of these promises. What made each of these men very special is the fact that through all of the afflictions they suffered, they always kept God’s will in mind as they lived their daily lives.
This brings to mind the faithful who are recorded in the book of Hebrews, chapter eleven. The author, while listing a great number of the most faithful, writes this:
Hebrews 11:13-16; 39-40
“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.
“And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.”
God has promised to deliver us from every affliction, and He will do just that at the soon-coming rapture. While waiting for this most sought-after event, we are to occupy and endure the suffering that comes along with the blessing of being different, or as Peter and Paul said: we are to be a peculiar people who proclaim the virtues of God while being zealous of good works (1 Pet 2:9; Titus 2:14). Therefore, while enduring, let us cry out: ‘Help Us, Lord, to Overcome.’
“The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.” (emphasis mine)
Website: In His Commission
 See the lyric video, “Help Us Lord.” This song is based on Revelation 2 and 3.
 “Unless otherwise noted, all biblical passages referenced are in the King James Version.”
 For greater understanding, see the article, “Thy Kingdom Come – Thy Will Be Done.”
 For greater understanding, see the article, “Thy Will Be Done: The Epicenter of Right and Wrong.”
 For greater understanding, see the article, “The Five W’s of the Rapture.”
 See the lyric video, “We Await.” This song is based on the bride awaiting her bridegroom.
 For greater understanding, see the article, “While We Wait.”