Wednesday, October 6, 2010

How To Overcome

And they overcame him 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)
Every day of our lives we strive to overcome "stuff". We want to live free from debt, full of the joy of the Lord, and in great health. Unfortunately, the path we walk is not always rosy. Circumstances, people, and sickness come along and we find ourselves at the bottom again striving to climb back up.

Our entire lives are a walk of faith. Not a day passes that I do not have to step out in complete belief that God will support me. But at the same time, I find comfort in that. "He is faithful." (Deuteronomy 7:9) His will for me is always to have the best: the best marriage, the best child, the best job, etc.

Looking back at this scripture, there are three factors at work in overcoming. In other words, how did they overcome? First, through "the blood of the Lamb". There is a powerful prayer in the book of Philippians that helps explain this thought.

That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection... (Philippians 3:10a)
Jesus' blood was shed on the cross that we might "know" the "power of his resurrection". This means we receive all the benefits of salvation - He is our Savior from sin, the Healer of our body, our Provider and Supplier. Those that overcame allowed Christ's anointing to move in their lives and to change them. This is the true working of "the blood of the Lamb". Through His blood and the power in His blood, we overcome.

Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord... (2 Timothy 1:8a)
The second step to overcoming was "the word of their testimony". Much is said throughout the Bible about giving testimony. Giving your testimony serves a spiritual purpose, and it is not to bring you attention. It is first to bring conviction to others.

Jesus stated this on several occasions. In Matthew 10:18 He said, "And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles." This statement is repeated in Mark 13:9. Our testimony, whether it is received by the hearer or not (because sometimes it will not be), brings the seed of the Gospel into the hearts of those who hear it. (Matthew 10:14;Mark 6:11;Luke 9:5)

But what IS a testimony? Testimony is evidence given from personal experience. You through your actions, your behaviors, and your words show what Christ has done in your life. It does not necessarily mean giving a speech in front of a crowd. That is uncomfortable for some. Instead, you show, through the change He has wrought in your heart, the difference in you.

Perhaps someone says to themselves, "Wow. He is so different. I wonder what happened to change him?" We ask questions like that all the time from people who have lost weight or kicked an addictive habit. Human nature is to find out how they accomplished the task. Remember, we are the light of Christ in a dark world. And the Scripture says such light "cannot be hidden". (Matthew 5:14) This is "testimony" for a hidden testimony is no testimony at all.

This brings me to the second purpose of your testimony. Your testimony frees you. I discovered this after my battle against panic attacks. People ask me why I am so willing to talk about that. How is it I am not afraid of the stigma it carries? For me it is very simple, the more I talk about it, the more I share it with others, the freer I become.

It goes back to the thought about hiding. Haven't we all had something we wanted no one to know? Which brought more freedom, trying constantly to hide it or telling it? That which is told, no longer holds any bondage. The devil can not dangle what happened to me over my head any more. Because I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ in my life, I then have the power of God towards my salvation. (Romans 1:26)

Yet there is always a time for wisdom. We are not to run people from Christ by becoming too bold or brash. God is love and our message should always be tempered by God's love and the behaviors of love listed in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. I pray over every opportunity I'm given to speak. There are times when I am not "free" to give it, but it is never because I am afraid.

But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. (Acts 20:24)
And here is the final factor to overcoming. Paul says, "I count all things as loss for Christ." (Philippians 3:8) In your testimony there is NO pride involved. Every photograph I take, every article I write, every video I put together, is not my own. I didn't do them. I simply am the earthly vessel God spoke to at those moments.

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)
My job is to listen and to obey. That's all there is to it. Through my testimony God gets all the glory. He becomes greater and I become less. That is, in essence, how I "love not my life." I testify of what great things He has done in my life so that you might know He will do the same for you. Then when all is finished, I overcome, not through myself, but entirely through Him.

Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

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