I John

Cruising Route 66
From Survivors to Overcomers

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched — this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.  I John 1:1  

In thumbing through the television channels, I came across the series “Survivors.” A group of people volunteer to be marooned on islands and the last person not voted off the island will win a million dollars.

What does it really mean to be a Survivor? In our world today we talk about all kinds of survivors: cancer survivors, abuse survivors, tornado survivors, earthquake survivors and the list goes on. Being a survivor is good, but I want to be more. The Bible actually doesn’t use the word “survivor,” it does, however, use the word “overcomer.”

The root word for “overcome” nikao has an interesting meaning in the original language (Greek). It means to prevail, to pass over, to conquer, to gain the victory. I don’t want to settle for just surviving, I want to get the victory, I want to be an overcomer!

Four questions must be answered if we want to be an overcomer. The first is, “What must we overcome?”

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world, the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does, comes not from the Father but from the world.   I John 2:15-16   

The enemy of our soul attacks us through these three prime areas of temptation, cravings of the flesh, the sinful passion for possessions, and the unbridled ambition for power and position. Jesus taught His disciples to be confident and optimistic. Jesus said in John 16:33, “…In this world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” We can be overcomers because Jesus was an overcomer. The Lord has provided a way for the believer to be victorious over everything he faces.

The next question that must be answered is, “How Can We Become Overcomers?”

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome. I John 5:1-3   

This text reveals that we will face powerful opposition in this world and that this opposition is necessary. Helen Keller, famous for the difficulties she overcame after losing her sight and hearing at the age of 19 months, made this observation,

“The marvelous richness of human experience would lose something of rewarding joy if there were not limitations to overcome. The hilltop hour would not be half so wonderful if there were no dark valleys to traverse.”

 It’s the difficulties in life that give us the opportunity to know what it’s like to have victory. In this text, we see three resources that are given to enable us to be overcomers.

First, it requires a birth.

For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.  I John 5:4  

There is no way to be an overcomer without a new birth, without being born again. Jesus described this process to a man by the name of Nicodemus in John 3:3, “Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

There is not one lost person alive today who can honestly say that they are living joyful, fulfilled, victorious lives. That person does not have the ingredients necessary for a victorious life.

Second, it requires a belief.

Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.  I John 5:5

You do not become an overcomer by simply trying. You become an overcomer by trusting. It is my belief that we are born again. Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:8, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” If you want to be victorious, it is time to stop trying and start trusting. What are you trusting in today?

Third, it requires the blood.

This is the one who came by water and blood — Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies because the Spirit is the truth.  I John 5:6  

Do you want victory over sin and death? Verse six tells us that it is only through the shed blood of Jesus. In our modern day, we do not like to talk about the Blood, but the Bible tells us, that “without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin. (Hebrew 9:22)

In the Book of Hebrews, we are told that “…with His own blood He entered the Most holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.” (9:12) Our redemption was made when Jesus entered into heaven with the offering of His own blood.

How Can We Live Like Overcomers?

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.  I John 4:4   

We can overcome the obstacles that we face in this life through the strength that we receive from the Lord. The believer is reminded that you are dear, you are from God, you have already overcome, and the One in you is greater than anything you face!

In other words, if you have been born again, you have already been made an overcomer! We have already been given the victory through the blood of Christ. Our challenge now is to live in the light of the victory that has already been won.

When Jesus was approached by two women who faced a tragic loss in their lives, they sought answers to why it happened, but Jesus gave them the answer to how to be an overcomer.

Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”  John 11:25-26    

Until next time,


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