Learning To Overcome


      There is much to overcome in this life.  The major battle is fought in our heart. Self and the world pulls against our heart. In another direction is the pull of God, the sacrifice of Jesus and an eternity in Heaven.  Christ was able to overcome and through His strength Christians can overcome.  "To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne." (Revelation 3:21.)


      Let us learn to overcome:


      Overcome evil with good: "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." (Romans 12:21.) This scripture reminds us that (1) evil may overcome us, or (2) we may overcome evil.  Overcoming evil with good promotes peace on earth!  The les­son is simple -- overcome or be overcome.  "Good for evil is God-like; good for good is man-like; evil for good is devil-like and evil for evil is beast-like."  The devil will help you return evil for evil.  God will help you return good for evil. Good for evil is the very spirit of the gospel of Christ.


      Overcome the world with faith: "For whatever is born of God over­comes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world -- our faith." (1 John 5:4.)  Faith conquers the world.  There is a world in which Christians live, enjoy and are blessed by.  There is another world which must be overcome. There is a world with which Christians can have nothing to do.  This is that which is alienated and separated from God; that which is opposed to God's kingdom and things eternal.  This world is overcome by our faith. "The world" finds its way into our homes, business, conversation, entertainment and heart. "The world" must be overcome by a living faith. Worldliness is at­tractive, but faith is the overcoming power.


      Overcome self with self denial: "Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me." (Matthew 16:24.)  The main thing which competes with the love and service of God is self.  The person who denies self will "count all loss for Christ."  Self denial says one will be:  (1) true to the word of God, (2) faithful in serving others, (3) humble in spirit, and (4) submissive in will.  "Then He said to them all, If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me." (Luke 9:23.)  Those who think the thoughts of Christ, feel the feelings of Christ, and work the work of Christ are overcoming by practicing self denial.


      Overcome bad thoughts with pure thoughts: "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy -- meditate on these things." (Philippian 4:8.) The God of peace will be with Christians who faithfully think and do right things. "The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you." (Philippian 4:9.)  Honor, integrity and purity in life can only come from right thinking.  Only by thinking right can evil be overcome in our lives. Darkness is expelled by light.  Wrong actions are expelled from the life of a Christian by right thinking.  Christian character is the outgrowth of pure thoughts.


      To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Luke 13:3), confess Jesus as Lord (Romans 10:9-10), and be baptized into Christ (Galatians 3:26-27). You must then stay faithful as an overcomer in order to go to heaven.


By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, P.O. Box 551 Greenville, Alabama 36037 USA