Jesus said, `In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world` (John 16:33). Encouraging words? Or not? They seem to suggest that Jesus Himself is victorious over the world’s troubles, but we have to put up with them.
Does this mean we need to persevere on our own and somehow manage to overcome the enemy by ourselves? Or does the knowledge that Jesus is victorious give us hope in our battles?
‘Overcome,’ means ‘to conquer or ‘come out on top.’ Do we feel like conquerors? Perhaps not. Are we more often stumbling under the weight of our problems than being on top of them? But the Bible clearly states ‘we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us’ (Romans 8:37). How can this be? In 1 John 5:4 we read, ‘everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.’
Jesus, the source of our faith, and the person of our faith, achieved a victory on the cross of Calvary that changed the direction of history. No longer was the devil to have sole control over the world (1 John 5:19). Now there was an alternative: Jesus Christ who, by His shed blood, defeated all the works of the evil one (1 John 3:8). The finished work of the cross ensures salvation for all who believe. And the born again believer has the same indwelling Holy Spirit as Jesus Himself. ‘Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God’ (1 John 5:5).
Our self life must be laid at the cross so that we find our true identity in Christ, and live in the strength of His victory. Then we too can become overcomers ‘according to His power that is at work within us’ (Ephesians 3:20). We must walk in the wake of the victory that has already been won, and `not give the devil a foothold’ (Ephesians 4:27).
‘They overcame by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony’ (Revelation 12:11). The blood of the Lamb is the foundation of our overcoming. As we ‘testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Saviour of the world’ (1 John 4 14), we stand secure on this truth and know the victory we have in Him. Then, along with Jesus Christ, we can surely say, `Take heart! I have overcome the world` (John 16:33).
Prayer: Lord, I no longer want to stumble along under the weight of my problems. Thank You for making a way that I can rise above them. I now look to You with faith and confidence in the knowledge that greater are You within me than he who is in the world. Thank You, Jesus. Amen.
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