Scripture is very clear that one who is a born-again believer in Jesus Christ should live a victorious life. It is a common agreement that there are three hindrances to a believer living a victorious life:
#1. The world – the spirit of the world and it’s earthly attractions
#2. And our own flesh – sinful nature and selfish desires.
#3. The enemy – satan and his cohorts.
Let’s begin by looking at the Bible ,which is what we should look at, and see what it says concerning victory in the first of these three areas. We will look at the others in future devotionals.
#1. The world – the spirit of the world and it’s earthly attractions
In John 16:33, Jesus says, “These things have I spoken unto you, that in Me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
Jesus had just explained to them that He would be leaving earth soon after His death and resurrection. They were not happy about that, but Jesus also promised them that the Promise of the Father, the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, would be coming to them. It was all happening so fast and such a surreal transition that I am not sure they were capturing all that Jesus was saying. Thankfully, they stood with Him at that moment and trusted that what He was speaking would come to pass. Then, before His prayer to His Father, He tells them that as long as they were in the world, they would experience tribulation, trials, and frustration. Did I just hear an “Amen” from someone?
As you well know, when we are born again, we are not placed inside a bubble that shelters us from the world. If you really think about it, “the world” means “people.” It is people that make up the world system which consists of principles contrary to God and His Word. It is not the literal planet and our universe that bring tribulation into our life, although some may argue that global warming is tribulation. In reality, Jesus is saying to those that believe in Him, we will face tribulation, trials, and frustration as a result of living on the same planet with others who do not believe in Him. This has been the case since He spoke these words right up to the present moment.
The world system, the people of the world system, are wise when it comes to making their products attractive. The marketing strategies have increased in attractiveness due to the tremendous increase of technology. For instance, most televisions today are so advanced in the clarity of the picture that it is almost as if that Wendy’s Triple Hamburger dripping with grease and covered in crisp onions and tomatoes and pickles was in your room and you could grasp it and eat it right there. (We will now have an intermission from this devotional so you can go to Wendy’s. I will wait on you. Okay, you are right. I am the one going to Wendy’s. You need to wait on me.) I jest about the marketing ploys, but they are real. And the marketing of evil in our world today is real. The enemy uses the ways of the world in an attempt to attract everyone, believers and unbelievers, away from God. It is sad to say that he is often successful.
So how do we live victoriously in this world? You must look at the two smallest words in that Scripture, “in Me.” The answer is to remain in Him. We live in this world, but we are citizens of His Kingdom. The Apostle Paul made the words “in Christ” the theme of all his letters. It is virtually impossible to complete a thorough study of all the times that Paul used those words. If you ever get some time, and make sure you have time, look at Paul’s letters and make note of all the times he said “in Christ.” Why? One reason is because abiding in Christ is our shelter from the world. Jesus Himself said in John 15 that we must abide in Him and He in us. The result will be fruit of peace, good cheer, provision, and everything else that Jesus is to us in this troubled world. It is so interesting to me that Jesus told His disciples “I have overcome the world” and He had not yet went to the cross. That tells me Jesus knew His mission and He set His face like a flint to fulfill that mission. It is because of Christ and the cross that we are overcomers of this world. Paul summed it up well in Galatians 6:14, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me and I unto the world.” There is where our victory lies.
There are many believers today who struggle with the things of the world. One reason for the struggle is that we don’t have a complete understanding of the love our Father has for us. As we understand the love He has for us, we will in turn love Him and that will keep us from the love of the world. 1st John 2:15 ” Love not the world , neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world , the love of the Father is not in him.” The more we understand the depth of God’s love for us, the more we see the shallowness in the things of the world. 1st John 2;17 ” The world passeth away and the lust thereof, but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.” The things of this world are temporary , but God’s love is eternal.
As a believer, we continuously, daily, make a conscious, disciplined decision to be sure we are abiding in Christ. As we act on that daily decision, we fulfill Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me. And the life which I now live in the flesh (in this world) I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Once again Paul points out the fact that our victory is found in Christ and Him crucified. He was crucified for me. I am crucified with Him. The world is crucified to me. This is where my victory is found. My victory is my faith in the finished work of the cross. 1st John 5:4-5, “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” John is asking that in the form of a question and I answer it with a heartfelt yes! My victory over the world is founded upon my belief in Jesus the Son of God.
I would like to close this devotional with the words of a hymn written in 1922 by Helen Lemmel:
“O soul are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free.
Through death into life everlasting
He passed and we follow Him there.
O’er us sin no more has dominion
For more than conquerors we are!
His Word shall not fail you, He promised
Believe Him and all will be well.
Then go to a world that is dying
His perfect salvation to tell!
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.”