Overcoming the World
BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY…. “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” 1 John 5:4 ESV
The “world” can be a dangerous place. This is not in reference to health and environmental threats, but to the priorities, values and practices around that would diminish our spiritual growth and commitment to Christ.
John has already laid out the call, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” (1 John 2:15-17 ESV)
As John comes to some of the final words of his letter, he gives a “simple” but powerful remedy for being an “overcomer” in a world, headed for destruction, it is our “faith.” Specifically he goes on and says, “Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5:5 ESV)
In his gospel, John reminded us of the words of Jesus, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV)
It seems too simple, but the bottom line is, will we believe what Jesus says about our life and our future, or will we believe what the “world” says and offers? We will be “troubled” by the world and its systems and even resistance to the truth of God’s Word. We are tempted to capitulate, to compromise and to accept what seems to be the “status quo” or prevailing attitudes and lifestyle.
When that happens we find ourselves, “overcome” instead of being “overcomers.” Our faith allows us to “rise above” what is the downward pull of the world around. John describes this as the “spirit of antichrist.”
As you read through 1 John, you will notice the consistency of the word, “know.” Knowing truth, knowing Christ. Coming to “know” – instinctively “knowing.” We see this as John writes,
“I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.” (1 John 5:13-15 ESV)
When we know what we believe and believe what we know, we are overcomers. The old hymn contains the words that echos the truth of 1 John 5:4, “Faith is the victory, faith is the victory, O, glorious victory that overcomes the world.” That is a truth that remains to today.
Prayer for today…. Lord give us the faith that makes us an overcomer. Remind us that what we believe about You and what You say about our life and priorities and attitudes is what brings true peace and promotes life that is true life.