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Personally, I love to read stories of individuals who have become an overcomer. These stories are motivational and faith building for me. The story of a pastor in China who was imprisoned many years ago and was jailed for decades because he passed out Christian tracts and preached about Jesus. That experience did not stop him but helped build his relationship with God in His Kingdom.  He said that he was given the job of cleaning the vents on the waste ponds. He loved to do the job because he was all alone. And he could be as loud as he wanted to, because nobody would be around because of the smell. He said after he got the job done, he would sing as loud as he could the song “In the Garden” with tears flowing down his cheeks. What a story of devotion!

Corrie Ten Boom and her sister Betsy were placed in a concentration camp during World War II because they hid Jews in their home. They led many Jewish women to Jesus during their interment. They never gave up hope that Jesus was with them through this terrible ordeal. Each day they were overcomers. Betsy would eventually die in the camp, but not before she gave everything, she had to help others. I remember reading that she said one of the best things about the concentration camp was that there were lots of lice. And as soon as a barracks caught lice, the guards would no longer enter so they were free to witness and worship as much as they wanted. What a celebration there must have been when they entered heaven and was given the crown of life.

Failure to Overcome

The story of Adam and Eve’s first son Cain gives us insight into the importance of being an overcomer.  Genesis 4:When it was time for the harvest, Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the Lord. Abel also brought a gift, which was the best portions of the firstborn lambs from his flock. The Lord accepted Abel and his gift, but he did not accept Cain and his gift. This made Cain very angry, and he looked dejected. “Why are you so angry?” the Lord asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected? You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.” [1]

Sin was ready to spring upon Cain like a lion ready to pounce on its prey, but he did not subdue it. As a result, he later killed his brother Abel over jealousy. Cain’s failure to be an overcomer would haunt him for the rest of his life.

How to be an overcomer

What about you? How can I become an overcomer and not fall into the enemy’s trap?

First you must somehow draw close to God: To be an overcomer is to be in a battle and we need God’s strength to overcome what is before us. James 4 gives us this promise :8Come close to God, and God will come close to you.[2] 

Then you must humble yourself: When we humble ourselves, we realize for the first time that only the Lord enables us to be overcomers. James 4:10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor. [3]

Be a person of Prayer: Part of drawing close to God is praying for the Lord’s divine wisdom, assistance, and favor. James 5:16“The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” [4]

Then Engage others in Prayer: Engaging others in prayer helps us become overcomers. Matthew 18:20For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.”[5]  There is such power in agreement.

Have an ear open to listen to the guidance of the Holy Spirit: The Apostle Paul new to be an overcomer he had to be led by the Holy Spirit. Paul writes in Romans 8:14, “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. [6]

Finally, move forward in faith: Luke 9:23 Then Jesus said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me.[7]

man’ s silhouette with her hands raised in the sunset

Overcomers You Have What It Takes

A couple weeks ago Susie and I went on a great vacation.  We flew to South Dakota to see Mount Rushmore and then drove to Yellowstone for the week.  Before the weeks end, we headed back to Mt. Rushmore to fly out to Seattle, so we could board a plane and the next day we would be cruising to Alaska. It was two weeks of hustle and bustle and absolutely a blast for both of us. We had such fun time searching for animals to photograph and it kinda felt like we were on a safari. Most things on the trip were planned out way in advance and most things went like clockwork Then there were the airlines. All our flights were delayed and on one we almost missed our connecting flight to Seattle.    I was so frustrated thinking that if we that fight, we might miss the cruise the next day. We were scheduled to board the ship in the morning on the next day. I really learned something from that trip. Sometimes God will lead us the hard way, instead of the easy way. Because He is doing a special work in us. How would we ever learn to learn from Him, if everything in our lives is easy enough for us to handle all by ourselves without His help?

That’s why it so important not to lose heart and not togrow weary or faint in times of distress. You can be sure that wherever God leads you. He is able to keep you. He never will allow more to come on you than you are able to bear.

God is interested in us learning to yield to His grace and to do the extraordinary. The sooner we learn that we are nothing without Him. But with Him we can do things that we cannot even imagine. Look at Moses who was called to lead the Israelites out of Egypt.

He had such a poor self-image of himself that he could not see himself doing what God had called him to do.  He thought he couldn’t speak well enough.  He thought that he wasn’t strong enough. But something happened to him when he started thinking about the vision that God had given him.  God supernaturally gave him the qualities he needed to fulfill his vision. The moment he started to realize that, he started to hold on to his dream with a tight grip and pursued it by force.

There are primarily seven major qualities that you need, to discover the life you were born to live.  The life that God gave us so that we too could take our land by force with a determination like never before. This is your time that you have to know that you have what it takes to rise up and shine!  Let me briefly give you those seven things to muddle and chew on for a while.

You really have to know WHO YOU ARE; you are a unique person and you are valuable to God!

God’s plans for us contain a lot of surprises. God tells Moses that it was time for him to go back to Egypt. God was sending him to Pharaoh to bring the People of Israel out of Egypt. He was finally going to answer their prayers. He had to go and confront Pharaoh, but he didn’t know who he was.

We need to know who we are and what we can do, and what we cannot do. God strengthens us in our weaknesses. As long as He is with us, we can do whatever we need to do. Be more concerned about who God is than you are about who you are.

Do you know that You have God’s AUTHORITY?

God explained to Moses that he would go in His name. He told him to say to Pharaoh that “I AM” has sent him and that would be enough. God was saying that he didn’t have to concern himself and worry about Pharaoh or anybody else. “I AM” is able to take care of everything you encounter in life. Whatever you need “I AM, “so just relax my friend!!  The moment you know what you need to do, you will have authority for it. You have authority to walk in that vision and you have the authority to believe for it to come to pass. Some people may question your authority to do this, but your authority is in the “I AM”!

You need to live with INTEGRITY!

When you know your assignment in life, you will have a desire for integrity in every situation because that is what gives the credibility for what you are doing. Once I learned that God wanted me to pastor over thirty plus years ago, I’ve never looked back.  Man, some of them times have been hard and extremely tiring.  But I never looked back because I knew it was what God wanted me to do so I did it with passion.  It established in me as my vision, when in reality it was God’s.  It really doesn’t matter what people say; it matters what God says about you.

You know that He is always backing you up when you do things His way; you have credibility with God!

You have to know that you are ABLE to do what He asks of you

The moment that you discover your assignment in life.  You will find yourself capable of doing so much more than you were used to. Moses kept saying, that he was not capable of doing what God was asking of him.  He wanted God to choose someone else!
But God highlighted his ability; his God-given ability, that divine ability to get the job done. And I might add that God was right and he did the job.

To succeed You will need COURAGE

God ignored every excuse that Moses came up with about his “inability” to perform what God was asking of him. He thought he was unable to speak, and he was too old, and instead God gave him courage.

Vision establishes courage. In Exodus you can read of all the obstacles Moses faced when God called him to fulfill this vision, but God ignored all that and gave him courage.  That’s because when you know your assignment, you also will have the courage to do exactly that what God told you to do and the courage to go after what God says is yours!

BOLDNESS will show up when you need it

It is really funny when you see the change in Moses. He always talked about God’s people.  But the moment he discovered his assignment, he started talking about “My people!” He owned the children of Israel. He started to be bold because he had the courage and when he took ownership or (authority) it was his own vision. That is what vision does. It somehow possesses you instead of you possessing it.  He was a changed man.  He didn’t say any longer “I am not…I can’t do…I can’t talk….”. No, he is bold now, because he is established in God. He knows now that God would back him up in everything that he was about to do.

You need PERSEVERANCE to finish your course

We all know the story in Exodus and how Pharaoh didn’t want to let God’s people go. He needed them as slaves to build his projects. But Moses insisted and kept going back to him, and of course Pharaoh would not let them go. He continually went back again and again. This was a different Moses than God found at the burning bush. That’s because he discovered his purpose or assignment. When you discover your assignment you need perseverance, a “do not quit” attitude.

In the end Moses won. He knew what he needed to do.  He knew the assignment that God had gave him and by the perseverance that was established in his life he was able to conquer his weaknesses and finish his race.

We all have a purpose or a calling in life that God expects us to fulfill.  We all need to discover the life we were born to live.  But more importantly, we must have patience and perseverance in order to carry it out.

You have everything you need to be an overcomer just like Moses. Don’t settle for a life with no goals or purpose with no vision, and no assignment. You know that God has called you for a reason, so go for it! Don’t let Satan or anyone else talk you out of it!

Let me ask you a question; I would love for you to answer it in my email. Send me an answer at [email protected]

Q. If you are uncomfortably shy, how can you allow God to help you overcome this? Has shyness ever held you back from saying something God wanted you to say?

Simple Ways You Can Be An Overcomer

Have you ever looked at someone that seems to have it altogether and thought “Wow, they make that look so easy.”? I surely have. You can watch the Olympics and watch the lady athletes on the balance beam that make gymnastics look like a breeze. They flip and turn and jump with both grace and strength. They are so naturally gifted in this area and I watch in awe.

For pastors Identifying the gifts of others is fairly easy. But whenever we see someone who has navigated a dark path in life and yet joy radiates from them, it’s a little tougher to identify their special gift.

What makes them appear to be especially empowered? Even though they walk in disobedience.

How did they manage to make it through the difficult days?

It would seem that there are huge secrets they aren’t sharing with anyone else.

Between watching the lives of suffering friends and family, and traveling through murky waters myself, I think there are a few things anyone can do to be an overcomer. No special gifts required. I truly believe anyone who calls Jesus their Savior has the power to win over any obstacle they face in life! But we need a few practical ideas to understand how to keep going, especially during difficult times. Today I wanted to share simple ways you can be an overcomer too.

First, Recognize what season of life you’re in…

To everything there is a season and time. I heard the “preacher” echo these words from the book of Ecclesiastes, but I failed to take them to heart myself. And I was the preacher!  One time I was working a job that was a very hard physical job. My hands would lock up and night so that my wife would have to turn the shower on and off for me. I was so exhausted that I ate dinner and went to bed.  Then I got up the next day and did it all over again. One day I was at work and overwhelmed by pain on my body and began to cry. I quickly grabbed a large tire and put it on a spreader and spread the tire and stuck my head inside so nobody would see me crying. Just then God spoke to me. He said; “son, this is just a season.” Yes, it was a season, and it too ended in my life and my life changed.  All too often when we are young, we have impatience about things taking place in our lives. Listen to me my friend, life is just a series of seasons that we must pass through. Like the man who is already busy that they thought that adding one more project to his list wasn’t too much. But then what happens when your child stays home sick two days in a row and needs special care. There will always be factors outside of our control that accompany our season of life. My wife and I had six children once and lived in a two-bedroom trailer.  You want to talk about stress? It was just another season of life for us. I don’t know your specific details, but whatever your life stage, daily schedule requirements, etc., acknowledge them and recognize the limitations they impose. These “obstacles” will graduate you in time.

Refuse to allow Satan to win the battle inside your head.

Joyce Meyer always says the battle field is the mind. She is right! Satan is always trying to discourage us.  It has been said that discouragement is the greatest weapon that Satan has against us.  Read this insert from my new book Unpacking Our Anxieties and Fears coming out this fall. This story is told that describes how Satan uses discouragement to defeat us:

One day the devil was having a ‘going out of business sale.’ He put all of his useful tools up for the bidding for whoever would purchase them. He made beautiful signs to display his sale items; Malice, Envy, Deceit, Hatred, Jealousy, Adultery, and Temptation was among the products for sale. Each item had its own price. Under the table was a well-worn tool, slightly wedge-shaped and harmless looking? One of the would-be customers asked the devil the price of the tool under the table. “Oh, that tool isn’t for sale.”

“Why?” asked the customer.

“Because that is my most valuable tool I have.” Replied the devil. I use it more than any other tool. When nothing else will work, this tool will. “What is the tool?” asked the customer.

It’s “discouragement,” the devil proudly said. “I can use it to pry open and get inside any man’s mind, when I can’t get in with anything else.”

Satan is the master of using the circumstances of life to discourage us any chance he gets to. Nobody is immune from his dart of discouragement. He whispers that you can’t do this or that. That you aren’t good enough, smart enough, and no one will like you or appreciate your work. He is lying to you, my friend. He started that habit way back in the garden of Eden and he’s never stopped telling God’s people that they cannot- when they really CAN.

When my mind begins to flow with negativity and I feel myself being pulled under, I yell for the strongest help I possibly can and it’s just one word- Jesus. Jesus, how we need you.  How we long for your strength to fill us. Satan can’t handle sticking around when Jesus is present.  Look at what they call God’s phone number.

“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”  Jeremiah 33:3

Learn to Release your fears to Jesus.

After you’ve called to him and get in his presence, give him those fears. Especially the fear of failure. If you want to be an overcomer, yet all you feel is overwhelmed by fear? Give the spirit of “This is too much” to Jesus. It is NOT too much for him. He will provide exactly what you need when you need it. I am speaking from experience on this one. There is no need to be afraid. {There I go preaching to myself again.)

Then Renew yourself through rest and refilling.

One time, may wife and I were texting and she mentioned how tired she was. “Oh, I wish I could take you through my typical day,” she said to me.  She has a very stressful job being in charging of the nursing at a nursing facility. “I get it, honey” I said… She was tired and is tired. I truly did understand. But guess what? No one can choose to fill her up except herself.  I once had a completely full schedule of preaching events for over fifty days straight without a day off.  I told my wife about it and she said; “Don who makes your schedule for you?” Well, I did. It was like the guy that complained every day at work about a bologna sandwich in his lunch.  Finally, someone told him to tell his wife to put something else in his lunch. To which he replied that he packed his own lunch every day.  No one can choose my schedule for me either. Just like no one else can choose to rest for you either. My wife will often say “Take a break, Honey.” Obviously, I love it when she tells me to do that, because I know I need to do it. But I still have to choose to rest and refill. You do too. No matter how crazy your circumstances, simply just stop and pause and pray. Find a tool that helps you refill and use it. I can’t tell you how much Bible reading is refilling my heart and soul every day! Maybe your tool is baking. Or reading. Or writing. Whatever it is, take the time to refill.