During the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, an athlete was able to jump over a bar that was set more than nineteen feet above the ground. How was he able to do that? He used a pole to vault over it!
When Jesus sent letters to the saints in the seven churches listed in the Book of Revelation, He encouraged them to be overcomers. God doesn’t want us to falter and fail when we face the challenges of life, He wants us to leap over them to victory.
There are three basic keys to becoming an overcomer. The first was given to us by the Apostle John:
“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 NKJV)
It takes faith to be an overcomer. The greater the obstacle you face, the greater your faith has to be to overcome that obstacle. This is why we need to grow in our faith every day. When the difficulties of life come our way, we will be able to trust the Lord to bring us safely through them.
Each athlete has to develop strength in his or her muscles in order to compete in the Olympics. We also have to develop the strength of our faith to be able to run the race that God has set before us. The Apostle Paul gave us the key to growing stronger in faith:
“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17 NKJV)
Just as an athlete needs to nourish his or her body, so we must also nourish ourselves with God’s Word. Then we need to go out and exercise our faith!
The second key comes from developing a deep relationship with God. Just as each athlete receives training from a coach in order to improve his or her skills, so we need training and direction from the Lord. He is here to lead us, guide us, and teach us what to do. The better we know Him, the more we learn to trust Him and do what He says. We cannot be overcomers without the Lord assisting us each step of the way!
The writer of Hebrews wrote:
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith . . ” (Hebrews 12:1-2 NKJV)
Jesus is the One who started us off in our faith. He is also the One who will develop our faith. The more we trust Him with the challenges that come our way, the stronger our faith will become. He is there to cheer us on all the way to the finish line!
It is so important, as we grow in our faith, to get to know the Lord more intimately in our lives. We need to know what delights His heart, and press into those things that give Him pleasure. God delights in showing His people how much He cares for them and is willing to help them in whatever they are facing.
The Psalmist penned these powerful words:
“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His hand.” (Psalm 37:23-24 NKJV)
While we are running the race, the Lord is holding us by the hand. If we should ever stumble or fall, we won’t fall flat on our faces, for He is there to hold us up and help us to keep running. Isn’t that a wonderful thing to know?
The third thing we need is discipline. Each athlete that completes in the Olympics is extremely disciplined in their skill. A small child is not expected to be as disciplined as an adult.
As we grow in our faith, we need to become increasingly disciplined in the way we walk with the Lord. What we did when were first saved, no longer works when we grow into spiritual maturity. The Apostle Paul addressed this, when he wrote:
“Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.” (1 Corinthians 9:26-27 NKJV)
In order to keep our flesh in subjection to our spirits, we need to discipline ourselves in our prayer, fasting, and the reading of God’s Word. We also need to spend more time with the Lord listening to His voice and learning to obey Him whenever He speaks to us.
Finally, God wants us to become super-overcomers. The Apostle Paul wrote:
“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37 NKJV)
The phrase “more than conquerors” can be translated from the Greek: “super-overcomers.” No athlete, regardless of how hard he trains can leap over a pole set nineteen feet above the ground. However, he can do it with the use of a pole, by vaulting over the bar. God doesn’t want us to try to overcome the obstacles of life in our strength. As the pole helps the athlete soar over the bar nineteen feet above him, so God will help us leap over obstacles in our path. We can do it by His strength and power!
You are holy, dear saint!
[All Scripture quotations have been taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright 1982, Thomas Nelson Inc.]