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ARE YOU COPING OR CONQUERING

 

Life is hard, and most people get through it simply by coping. If people are unhappy in marriage, parenthood, career or friendship, they mostly do the best they can. They cope. But is this the way God wants believers to live?

 

Paul once referred to life as a race. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 says: Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.  The goal is not merely to finish the race, but to win, to conquer. Paul says in Romans 8:37, “We are more then conquerors through him who loved us.” Is your goal in life simply to cope, to get through? Or do you want to be a conqueror, an over-comer? How can you be an over-comer, and what does overcoming require?

 

Jesus says, “Take heart! I have overcome the world” John 16:33 says:  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.” And John assures us, “the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” 1 John 4:4 says: You dear children are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. What is the imperative to enjoy Jesus’ victory over the world and over Satan? Revelations 2:3 says: You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.  What will be your reward if you overcome?  Revelations 2:7 says: He, who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give right to eat from the tree of life, which is in paradise of God.

 

Although believers must continue their struggle with sin and Satan in this life, there is a finish line in the distance. What must you do in order to gain the crown of life at the end of your race? Revelations 2:10 says: Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to rest you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life. What will be your reward if you overcome? Revelations 2:11 says: he who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death.

 

Spiritual battles are being fought around you every moment. Ephesians 6:12 says: For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. How can you stand against the enemy? Revelations 2:13 says: I know where you live-where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, even in the days Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city-where Satan lives. What will your reward be if you overcome? Revelations 2:17 says: He, who has an ear, let him hear what the spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.

 

Spiritual deceptions abound in the world. What can you do to stand against them? Revelations 2:24-25 says: Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan’s so called deep secrets (I will not impose any other burden on you): Only hold on to what you have until I come. What will be your reward if you overcome? Revelations 2:26 says: To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations.

 

How can you prevent apathy in your Christian life? Revelations 3:2-3 says: Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come. What will be your reward if you overcome? Revelations 3:5 says:  He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels.

 

What is the key to overcoming? Revelations 3:8 says: I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know have little strength yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. What will be your reward if you overcome? Revelations 3:12 says: Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God and I will also write on him my new name.

 

Enjoying God through the Word

 

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. And all these beautiful words of hope to flood your soul. You are an over-comer because of Jesus Christ. “Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God” 1 John 5:5 says: Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God; and, “The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” 1 John 4:4 says: You dear children are from God and have overcome them, because the one in you is greater than the one in the world. Praise God!

 

Enjoying God through Experience

 

Think about some of the things in which you’re experiencing difficulty right now. Are you merely coping in these areas instead of overcoming? Express your thatnks to God in prayer for his love and the power he makes available to you so that you can do more than cope-you can overcome. If you feel weak, ask him for his strength. He is able to supply all your needs. Philippians 4:19 says: And my God will meet your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.