By W. C. Moore
"To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My Throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His Throne" (Rev. 3:21).
We would not want to stress the overcoming life if the Bible did not clearly teach it. When the Word of God gives specific, wonderful promises – again and again – to the ones who overcome (Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 26-28; 3:5, 12, 21), it is time for us to sit up and take notice – and then do something about it!
Since the Word of God so expressly speaks of the possibility of living an overcoming life and the rewards that follow, it is very clear that there are things to be overcome, and further, that we need to stir up ourselves (Isa. 64:7), put on the whole armour of God (Eph. 6:11) and, with all the determination of our soul – press toward the mark – that we might be what God wants us to be! (Phil. 3:12-14).
"They which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize…So run, that ye may obtain…Every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things… They do it to obtain a corruptible crown: but we an incorruptible…I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway" (1 Cor. 9:24-27).
"They Overcame Him [the devil] by the Blood of the Lamb, and by the Word of Their Testimony;
and They Loved Not Their Lives unto the Death" (Revelation 12:11)
How much more blessed to overcome – than to be overcome!
"But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the Word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty" (Matt. 13:23). Friends, let us aim for that hundredfold!
"Let us lay aside every weight [even apparently legitimate things that hinder our progress in God], and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience [cheerful endurance] the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Heb. 12:1-2).
"Ye Have Overcome"
"I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake. I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known Him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one…I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the Word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one" (1 John 2:12-14).
Notice carefully that of only one of these three groups is it stated (twice) that they have overcome the wicked one. (I believe the term "young men" used here refers to those who, in a spiritual sense have strength, regardless of age or sex.)
Also, notice that the Word of God "abideth" in those who overcome (1 John 2:14). The way for us to get into – and stay in – that "young men" group of overcomers – is to have the Word of God abiding in us – to obey the teachings of the New Testament all the time!
"Walk While Ye Have the Light, Lest Darkness Come upon You" (John 12:35)
We can never expect to be true overcomers, and to sit with Christ in His throne (Rev. 3:21) unless we obey His Word and walk in every bit of light He gives us. "Repent ye, and believe the gospel" (Mark 1:15). But it is not enough to get saved; we are told to "Be filled with the Spirit" (Eph. 5:18). Not filled just once, then to settle down "at ease in Zion" and say, "I’ve got it." But be filled all the time and "Walk in the Spirit" (Gal. 5:16).
The Old Testament teachings were written for our learning (Rom. 15:4; 1 Cor. 10:11), but we are living under the New Covenant (New Testament) now of which Jesus is the Mediator (Heb. 9:14-15).
The "young men" are strong (1 John 2:14). We are commanded to "Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might" (Eph. 6:10). It is not our own strength, our own determination, our own persistence alone that enables us to prevail. We do need to be wholehearted (Jer. 29:13), but in addition to all this we also need to wait upon the Lord so that our strength shall be renewed, so that our strength shall become intertwined with God’s strength, and then we shall "mount up with wings as eagles…and…walk, and not faint" (Isa. 40:29-31).
Waiting on God, with an honest heart in faith (Heb. 11:6), with importunity (Luke 11:1-13) – is a sure, a God-given way to get strong. "Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart" (Psa. 27:14). God will strengthen us to be overcomers as we persistently wait on Him!
Wait upon the Lord – get still before Him – tell Him that you love Him – pour out your heart before Him (Psa. 62:8), ask Him to forgive you for grieving Him – by thought, word and deed. Be quiet before the Lord – let your heart go up in meditation on His goodness, His holiness, His mercy. "Wait, I say, on the Lord" (Psa. 27:14).
Take time – make time – to wait upon the Lord. When you come in from the cold outside, and sit down before a fire, it takes time, as you wait before the fire – for the warmth of the fire to penetrate into your body. So, it takes time for the fire of God to permeate and penetrate your whole being – as you wait upon the Lord!
Meditate on the Word of God. Delight in His Word, meditate "day and night" (Psa. 1:2). When a battery is connected with a "charger" it takes time for the battery to be renewed, but it works. So, as you put the battery of your weary and worn spirit on God’s "charger" – as you wait before Him – know that He is recharging your worn-out spiritual powers. "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength" (Isa. 40:31).
He, blessed be His Name, "giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength" (Isa. 40:29). I’ve tried this matter of waiting upon the Lord, and, although sometimes I seem to be getting weaker and weaker – yet, as I persistently stay before the Lord, after a while He renews my strength! Praise His Wonderful and Holy Name! Be persistent, Brother, Sister, until He does renew your strength!
Even if we are sanctified, if we are filled with the Spirit, still all the time we need to be on the alert. "Watch ye therefore, and pray always," are the words of Jesus, our Lord (Luke 21:36).
There is a danger of being "full" of spiritual blessing – and forgetting God, just as in the Old Testament times the Lord warned the people of the danger of being full (with material blessings) and then forgetting God (Deut. 8:10-14).
Never Trust in an "Experience" to Keep You
Thank God for the blessings and the deep experiences He gives His wholehearted, believing people. We need the deep experiences. But let us never depend on any blessing or any experience to keep us. "Kept by the power of God through faith" (1 Pet. 1:5).
Only God Can Keep Us
"Unto Him that is able to keep you from falling" (Jude 24). God never meant for us to be independent of Himself. "Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall" (1 Cor. 10:12). Then follows the promise, "…God is faithful, Who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able…" (1 Cor. 10:13).
It is presumption to think that we can drift along in victory without heeding the commands of the Lord. "Take heed to yourselves" (Luke 21:34).
If we feel that we are "advanced" Christians, let us remember that it was to Peter, one of His most ardent followers, that Jesus said, "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak" (Matt. 26:41).
In "perilous times" (2 Tim. 3:1-5) such as we now live in, there is special need of watchfulness, of humility. We can lose out in our overcoming testimony without even being aware of it ourselves – if we do not watch and pray always. Samson "wist not that the Lord was departed from him" (Judg. 16:20).
We can lose out by "comparing" ourselves with others (2 Cor. 10:12), and letting "ordinary" standards of holiness control us instead of sticking close to God’s Word and His standards of holiness.
We can "roll under our tongue" some sweet morsel of a past experience, of some great blessing we have had – and be in defeat before we know it. We should indeed "forget not all His benefits" (Psa. 103:2), but along with this spirit of thankfulness to God for what He has done we need to do as Paul says:
"Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus…I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:12-14).
If We Have Failed
Let us honestly confess our sins to God, and believe Him, according to His Word, to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). If we dodge facts, we will never succeed in dodging failure!
Many Called…Few Chosen
"The last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen" (Matt. 20:16). Let us not boast that "we have forsaken all, and followed" the Lord (Matt. 19:27), for "many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first" (Matt. 19:30).
Let us not murmur if God blesses newcomers as much as He blesses us old-timers. (See Matthew 20:1-15.) "Many be called, but few chosen." God help us!
In listing things we are to do so that we "shall never fall" (2 Pet. 1:10), "brotherly kindness" is placed just before the capstone of charity (divine love) (2 Pet. 1:5-7). There is a distinct warning here for every one of us. Just as we ourselves are about to become full overcomers, there is great danger that we will lack brotherly kindness for those who are yet struggling along without full victory. There comes the temptation to look down on those who are not apparently as good as we think we are.
Jesus says, "Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones" (Matt. 18:10). God Himself is kind even unto the unthankful and to the evil (Luke 6:35).
Let Us Face the Facts!
Charles G. Finney, after he was saved and after he had a mighty Baptism with the Holy Spirit, found that although he was engaged in evangelistic work and was mightily blessed of God yet he would sometimes "leak out" or in some way lose the fullness of the Holy Spirit. At such times he did not try to "force" himself (1 Sam. 13:12) to believe he had the anointing when he knew he did not have it.
Rather, he earnestly sought the Lord until the Holy Spirit again mightily moved through him. He found, as he expressed it, that he could not live without enjoying the presence of God. In these awful days, may God, for Jesus’ sake, grant to us such a fiery zeal that we, too, simply must have the fullness of the Holy Spirit at any cost whatsoever!
"The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force" (Matt. 11:12). It takes holiness and intensity to become an overcomer and to continue as an overcomer – to live the victorious Christian life.
The truly Spirit-filled, overcoming life cannot be tolerant for one moment with lukewarmness, with compromise, with "make believe," with sham! We cannot be filled with the Spirit and be lukewarm at the same time! So, if at any time we feel ourselves beginning to cool off, let us immediately stir up ourselves (Isa. 64:7), and take hold of God for a fresh anointing – for a new infilling of the Holy Spirit (Psa. 92:10).
Not a Selfish Goal!
"To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne" (Rev. 3:21). Jesus overcame! He certainly was not selfish! God wants people who will wholly follow the Lord (Num. 32:11-12). So, for us to earnestly, fervently seek to be overcomers is for us – with all the purpose of our soul – to seek to follow Jesus!
"Called, and Chosen, and Faithful!"
Oh, let us catch a vision of God’s wonderful promises to the overcomers, and let us earnestly pray one for another, that, looking unto Jesus, we may be "called, and chosen, and faithful" (Rev. 17:14).