The rewards and blessings of God come after the overcoming
1 John 5:4-5 (KJV) “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?”
I want to talk with you today about overcoming weaknesses, especially the things that trouble people. We are living in perilous times, and it is in the best interest of believers to come to grips with all their weaknesses and get victory over them. We need to give weaknesses special attention. The word “weakness” refers to being without strength, feeble, unable to gain victory over problems and sickness. The word “overcometh” means to conquer, to get the victory, to prevail. In this lesson I want to mention a few of our weaknesses as Christians and encourage all the saints to be overcomers. If your weaknesses are leaving you out in the cold, you need to do something about them.
Overcoming the appearance of weakness
2 Corinthians 13:4 (KJV) “For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you.”
Jesus came to die on the cross for our sins. He appeared to His enemies as a weak man and feeble. Christ was abundantly able to rescue Himself from His enemies, yet He deliberately appeared as weak for the purpose of the cross. Jesus could have called upon the angels to help Him. However, the secret of His power was within. He was mentally undefeatable.
Actor Chuck Norris tells that one day after a filming he sat in a cafe and drank coffee for a break. A giant of a man came and said, “This is my seat; go get yourself another booth.” Chuck Norris said, “I didn’t like his tone, so I said nothing and moved.” A few minutes later the big man came and said, “You’re Chuck Norris. You could have whipped me up real good. Why didn’t you?” Chuck Norris said, “What would it have proved?” The big man thought it over and apologized, shook hands, and left. Chuck Norris said, “I had avoided a confrontation and made a friend. I won by losing.”
That’s what Jesus did. He won by losing. The devil thought that Christ gave in when He was confronted, but he was wrong. Christ won. When the devil attacks you, you become his defeat. He attacks because he fears you. It is his mistake. One of the weaknesses in us is that when we are confronted we retaliate. We revile. We argue. We get angry. It takes more power to avoid a confrontation than to confront someone just to prove a point. The world thinks the church is weak, but it is mistaken. There is a power within. We win by losing, just as Jesus did.
Overcoming the weaknesses in our homes
Exodus 10:23 (KJV) “But all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.”
There are many weaknesses in the homes of Christian families. Our text talks about “light” in the homes of believers. “Light” refers to the Spirit’s illuminations. Many homes are not households of faith. Galatians 6:10 teaches that we are to do good to all, especially those who are of the household of faith. Many homes are not at peace. Isaiah 32:18 tells us aone of God’s promises for the household: “My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest.” (NIV) Many households are not places of salvation. Luke 19:9 (KJV) “And Jesus said unto him, Today, salvation has come to this household.” Almost every household has someone who is not born again. Another weakness in many households today is a lack of the blessings of God. In many Christian households unjust dealings are a common occurrence. Proverbs 3:33 says, “God blesses the habitation of the just.” (KJV) Another weakness is that many homes are plagued by vandalism. Proverbs 24:15 (KJV) “Lay not wait, O wicked man, against the dwelling of the righteous; spoil not his resting place.” The believers’ homes are off limits. God warns the vandals: “This is the home of my people; lay off.” Another weakness in many homes is that it is not a happy place because sickness comes in at will. God’s promise is seen in Psalm 91:10-11 (KJV): “There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.” Our homes must be places of overcoming. Righteousness exalts a nation, the Bible teaches. It also exalts a home.
Overcoming in spiritual warfare
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (KJV) “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
The point here is that in our weakness we have a hard time warding off attacks by the enemy. There are times we just don’t have the strength to battle. Why? Because we have a weakness, and that weakness is that we do not speak out the faith in our spirit. God comes along and gives us grace, i.e. operational power to ward off the wiles of the devil. That overcoming grace comes along when we are weak. That’s when we need it. Often we get the idea, “I’ll handle this or that problem,” so we use our own strength, and we fail. We overcome by the grace that God gives us. God’s grace supports us in our tests and trials. Ephesians 4:8 teaches that God has given every one of us a measure of grace. If you need more grace to overcome your needs, He will give it. Grace is part of our spiritual equipment. Paul teaches in 2 Corinthians 5:7 that the believer walks by faith and not by sight. Yet many people see warfare and run from it. Jesus encountered the devil and so will we. Jesus cast off evil spirits and so will we through the grace that God has given to us. We are overcomers. Believe it. In the gospels Jesus walked full of grace, i.e full of the Spirit of God.
Overcoming the weakness of impatience
Exodus 5:22-23 (TLB) “Then Moses went back to the Lord. “Lord,” he protested, “how can you mistreat your own people like this? Why did you ever send me if you were going to do this to them? Ever since I gave Pharaoh your message, he has only been more and more brutal to them, and you have not delivered them at all!”
The story in Exodus is this: Moses was on his first trip to see Pharoah about releasing the children of Israel. Moses, speaking in the name of the Lord, demanded that Pharaoh ease up on the children of Israel and let them go. Pharaoh refused and intimidated the people by placing greater burdens upon them. So hard was the work that the elders lashed out at Moses and Aaron. Moses in turn flares up against God. We very often do the same thing. We prayed; the sickness stayed. We rebuked the devil; he didn’t move. We pleaded for financial help; it didn’t come in. On and on it goes with more pressure coming on us. Moses said, “Why did you send me? Why are You treating the people in an evil way? Why are You letting them suffer? Lord, You are doing nothing to deliver them.” In other words, “Lord, You promised, but You didn’t deliver.”
The weakness here is in the way Moses lashed back at God. He was not patient enough. Impatience is a spot in our life that needs the touch of God. We also lash back at the Lord when our prayers are not answered immediately. Could it be that God wants to establish mental poise in us? The word “poise” means balance, stability, composure, and coolness. These are the very things that we need when we offer our petitions to the Lord. James 1:3-4 (TLB) “Dear brothers, is your life full of difficulties and temptations? Then be happy, for when the way is rough, your patience has a chance to grow. So let it grow, and don’t try to squirm out of your problems. For when your patience is finally in full bloom, then you will be ready for anything, strong in character, full and complete.” The word “patience” means forbearance under suffering, endurance in the face of adversity and ill-treatment. Impatience very often retaliates against the Lord.
The problem is that we get so impatient with the Lord because we try to fit Him into our time frame. We try to force the Lord to obey earthly laws. God works with heavenly laws. Moses had to go back to Pharaoh many times until both he and Pharaoh saw the wonders of God. It took many days before the people of Israel were ready to go. Pharaoh needed some powerful convincing. God has His own time limit. The word “impatience” also means over-eagerness. Is this our problem, our weakness? I wonder sometimes if we are really ready for answers to prayers. Like Moses we must be convinced that God is an awesome God and wondrous in His doings. Hurry and worry are sure signs of impatience and ignorance. Psalm 40:1 says, “I waited patiently for God to help me; then he listened and heard my cry.” (TLB) Does impatience close God’s ears? Psalm 37:7-8 (TLB) “Rest in the Lord; wait patiently for him to act. Stop your anger! Turn off your wrath. Don’t fret and worry; it only leads to harm.” Weakness is seen when we are impatient. Develop poise when you make requests to the Lord. Poise, stability, composure, coolness, and balance are characteristics of faith.
Overcoming by the word that God gives us before the battle
Deuteronomy 20:3-4 (KJV) “When thou goest out to battle against thine enemies, and seest horses, and chariots, and a people more than thou, be not afraid of them: for the LORD thy God is with thee, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And it shall be, when ye are come nigh unto the battle, that the priest shall approach and speak unto the people, And shall say unto them, Hear, O Israel, ye approach this day unto battle against your enemies: let not your hearts faint, fear not, and do not tremble, neither be ye terrified because of them; For the LORD your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.”
This chapter of Deuteronomy is a warfare chapter that teaches us to endure and survive a long battle. Some afflictions stay around for a long time. The weakness seen in this scripture is the “caving in” spirit when we face something that is bigger then we are. It is seen when we confess, “Lord, this problem is bigger than what I can handle.” The story here is that Israel was facing “a people more than thou.” Before Israel went into battle, the High Priest gave them a word from the Lord to put them in a winning frame of mind. Faith is a wonderful thing in us, but all too often it needs bolstering by the word that God gives. That word will help our morale. That word will keep us strong until the enemy is subdued. God will inspire us to win (Job 32:8). The Lord wants us to learn that overcomers feed on the word that God gives. Many people in their own personal battle stop feeding on the Word. When God gives us a word, it’s brain training. He fine tunes our minds by corrections and re-alignments. Many intelligent people give up because they can’t take the long haul. But overcomers are successful because they get up one more time than they fall down.
Overcoming by remembering God’s work in your past
1 Chronicles 16:10-12(KJV) “Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD. Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually. Remember his marvelous works that he hath done, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth.”
Forgetting to remember is a weakness. How many times have we said, “I forgot?” These are famous words that show weakness. Memory can save you. Paul says so in 1 Corinthians 15:2. Remind yourself what God has done in the past. He has not changed. The same Lord and the same power is available always. Many never overcome, because they soon forget all His benefits. Psalm 103:1-7 warns us not to forget God’s past benefits, which include forgiveness of sins, healing for our physical bodies, saving us from destruction, crowning us with lovingkindness (giving us personal tender care), and satisfying our mouth with good things (meaning God is a quality God; when He gives, He gives you the best). Another benefit listed is that God executes righteousness on your behalf. Overcome by remembering what He has done. It really works encouragement in you.
Overcoming by standing firm on the promises of God
Hebrews 6:13-15 (KJV) “For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.”
Promises give you hope that your expectations will be fulfilled. Promises are contracts and covenants. Weakness is seen when we begin to lose hope. The writer teaches here in this chapter of Hebrews that it is impossible for God to lie. God’s promises are sure. God’s covenants are firm. You can pin your hopes on them. God stands behind what He says. “If God said it, I believe it.” This is an overcoming attitude. The promise that God made to Abraham was that He would bless him and multiply his seed. Abraham persevered by believing God would not lie. God made an oath, and there is no greater Being than God. Paul teaches in Romans 4 that when Abraham heard what God had said, he began to praise God. By doing so Abraham’s physical body reversed course and took on a youthful look. We overcome by patiently enduring. It takes time for some promises to be fulfilled. Often promises are delayed, because we are not mature enough. Often we want quick fulfillment for our glory, but glory belongs to God.