“And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” I John 5:4-5
Are there times you read a scripture and it’s salve to your spirit? It feels like a warm blanket around your heart? I John 5:4-5 brings me that peace. It’s such a straightforward statement of truth: Jesus’ resurrection overcame the world.
If we trust Him, we can overcome too.
Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? And saints, I believe Brother John isn’t simply referring to our ultimate victory over death and our heavenly home. I’m sure he was encouraging the church to live victoriously while we’re still walking on this ball.
But are we? Does the world look at the Bride of Christ and marvel at our love…joy…kindness? Do others see you overcoming life’s daily battles with a peace that passes understanding and say, “I want what she has”? No? You still struggle with stress? Depression? Overeating? Well sit down. Let’s start at the beginning.
You believe Jesus is the Son of God, right?
Do you honestly believe He rose from the dead? Really you do?
OK then, He said He was going to send a Helper – the Counselor – the Holy Spirit to help us out after He went back to His Father in heaven. Do you think He did? So you think the Holy Spirit is inside you? Truly, you believe that?
You do. So let’s recap:
Jesus was God.
He overcame this broken world and even death.
His Holy Spirit is now inside you.
Are we still on the same page?
So if the Holy Spirit – God’s Divine presence – is in you, how does that impact your days? Your moods? Your self-image? Your moment-by-moment thoughts, words and choices?
While you’re stewing on that let’s go back to Brother John’s words: And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith.
Our faith in what?
Our faith that Jesus died for your sake and your sins.
That up from the grave He arose – defeated all earthly constraints – and now is your Advocate to our Father. Here’s what Brother John tells us: My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. (I John 2:1)
So far, so good?
You BELIEVE that to be true?
OK, let’s proceed.
And you also believe you are filled with the Holy Spirit. That 24/7/365 the Spirit of God is in you as your Helper. Your Counselor. Your ever-present strength in time of need. Yes?
Not so sure?
Oh sister! I get it!! When I’m all crabby about something silly and about to blow up at someone I’m surely sure God’s Divine Presence has taken a coffee break. But it’s not true! The Helper is still in you to help! But your flesh is still kickin’ and screamin’ and making a fuss over wanting something so bad it’s willing to step in front of the Spirit. And you know what? He’ll allow it. In every experience you can choose to be led by the Spirit or the flesh. If you surrender to the Spirit I promise the flesh will be defeated. But if you let the flesh go unrestrained – if you say to yourself “This one time won’t hurt,” or “I can’t” (which is true, you can’t by your own self,) or “I deserve it,” or any of the lies of this world we want to believe, you’re doomed to defeat. But if you fight Satan with the sword of God’s word you will be victorious! As Brother Paul tells the church in Ephesus, “17take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.” (Eph 6:17-18) Pray for one another, saints! We ALL battle the gluttonous flesh!
Note Brother Paul concurs with Brother John on the protective power of faith: “…take up the shield of faith with which you extinguish all (not most – not some - ALL) the flaming darts of the devil.” (Eph 6:16)
It all comes down to faith, church. Do you believe that the Spirit of Christ is in you, and is He able to extinguish the destructive darts of the devil?
What darts are those?
· Sugary sweets in your office and at church
· Friends offering sabotage foods in the name of love
· The drive-thru convenience of fat-filled temptations
· The ease of not exercising
Remember, “…faith is the assurance of things hoped for (victory over the flesh,) the conviction of things not yet seen (a healthy body.) …For without faith it is impossible to please God, for you must believe that He IS, and He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” (Heb 12:1,6)
Now before we go, let’s reflect again on Brother John’s words. “Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” Oh saints, do you want to overcome the world? Do you want to defeat your fleshly desires and addiction to unfulfilling foods? Do you want to display your victorious life for all the world to see, giving God the glory? Then remember Who is in you. Remember that Jesus is – was – and remains the Son of God. He died that you might have abundant, victorious life. The Helper Who is in you is greater than your temptations.
But you gotta believe.