The first thing to establish in your heart and mind is that you are already an overcomer- you aren’t trying to be one, and you shouldn’t be trying to be one! We are told, “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:4-5). Also, we belong to God; and the One who lives in us (i.e. Christ) is greater, mightier and stronger, than he (i.e. satan) who is in the world. (1 John 4:4). Jesus said we should be of good cheer- take courage, be confident, certain, and undaunted, because He has overcome and conquered the world for us; i.e. He has deprived it of power to harm us! (John.16:33). Satan is called the ‘god of this world’, but we are no more under his grip or control because we are now in Christ Jesus! “We know that we are held firm by God; it’s only the people of the world who continue in the grip of the Evil One.” (1 John 5:19c MSG). The Father has delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into the Kingdom of His Son, Jesus Christ; and we have redemption and forgiveness of sins, through His blood. (Col.1:13-14). We’ve overcome the devil by the blood of the Lamb- Jesus Christ (Rev.12:11a); and are meant to reign in life through Him! (Rom.5:17). It’s therefore the time to “ARISE from the depression and prostration in which circumstances have kept you–rise to a new life! Shine (be radiant with the glory of the Lord), for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you!” (Isaiah60:1 AMP)
Lifestyle can be defined as ‘the way in which a person lives’; i.e. your way or manner of life, rather than what you do every now and then, or short term. For instance, you could decide to have a healthy lifestyle; or just get into a short-term slimming program to look good for an upcoming event! Your lifestyle is also typically a reflection of your attitudes, values, or world view.
In this article, we shall be looking at some characteristics of an overcomer’s lifestyle.
Faith is the victory that has already overcome the world; so the lifestyle of faith is a must for every overcomer! Faith isn’t a ‘panic button’ you suddenly press, when you’re in danger or distress. It’s meant to be a lifestyle- “The just shall live by faith” (Rom. 1:17c). Hence, the apostle Paul said, “The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God,” (Gal. 2:20b NIV). Someone said, faith isn’t faith until it affects your daily walk, speech, and how true; “For we walk by faith [we regulate our lives and conduct ourselves by our conviction or belief.” (2 Cor. 5:7 AMP)!
Living by Faith, is living by your conviction and belief in what God says; rather than by what you see, hear, feel or perceive by your natural senses. “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Heb. 11:1 NIV). For instance, Abraham didn’t consider the deadness of his body or of Sarah’s womb. Rather, he considered God’s promise to him- hoping against (natural) hope; and indeed became the father of many nations.
It’s however, not enough to have faith in your heart. It must also be released- a. through your words; the spirit of faith is speaking what one believes. (2 Cor. 4:13). The woman with the issue of blood, “kept saying, If I only touch His garments, I shall be restored to health.” (Mark 5:28 AMP). Jesus taught His disciples to speak to mountains; and said they shall have what they say, if they believe.
And b, through actions: Jesus ‘saw’ the faith of the four friends, who broke through the roof of the building to bring their paralysed friend to be healed. (Mark 2:2-5).
- Living by the Word of God
‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” (Matt. 4:4c)
The Bible is not a religious Book; it contains the Word of God. God’s thoughts, will, plans, purposes, ways, etc are revealed in His Word. God’s thoughts and ways are different to ours and also higher than ours. (Isaiah. 55:8-9).
God’s Word is also a manual for living our lives here on earth. Living by His Word is patterning our lives thereafter and making it the final authority in our lives- by asking ourselves, “what does the Word say?”, and doing it despite our feelings, opinions, convenience, etc. For instance, during the Temptation, Jesus repeatedly replied to the devil, “it is written…”. Living by the Word is having a ‘Word of God-Orientation’: always asking ourselves- ‘is this in line with the Word?’ It is judging our thoughts, words, actions, attitudes and behaviour by the Word. It’s also about judging our experiences by the Word. Someone said, any vision, dream, experience, opinion, belief-system, etc, that is not in line with the Word, should be disregarded! We must, however, also beware not to embrace the letter of the Word, but the spirit of it; because the letter kills! Remember, the devil also said to Jesus, “For it is written” (Matt. 4:6b).
- Fellowship with God
The Bible says “our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ”. (1 John 1:3c). We must cultivate a lifestyle of fellowship with God through three major means: worship, prayers and the Word.
- Prayers: fellowshipping with God in prayers is communing with Him. Many Christians only pray when they have challenges- even then, as a last resort! The Church in the Book of Acts continued steadfastly in prayers and they observed ‘hours of prayer’.
There are different kinds of prayers but we need to bring back the emphasis on daily devotional prayers. Also, I would recommend using the ‘Lord’s Prayer’ as a pattern, in the light of our New Testament reality. I’ve found it very comprehensive; it covers all vital areas including: worship, provision, forgiveness and protection (Matt. 6:9-13).
2. Worship (which by implication, is also a type of prayer!). It’s also important to mention that- a, there are different dimensions of worship; b, worship must be in spirit and in truth (John. 4:24); and c, it’s done in faith (Heb. 11:6).
iii. The Word. Jesus said man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes out of the mouth of God. We must therefore attend to God’s Word, by meditating in it ‘day and night’. By so doing: a. we prosper in all our ways (Josh. 1:8; Psalm.1:1-3); b. “they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh” (Prov. 4:22); we draw so much spiritual strength (1 John 2:14b).
“But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint” (Isa. 40:31).
Another aspect of fellowship we must have as a lifestyle is fellowship with other believers, just like the early church! There has never been a time as needful to heed the exhortation- “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of His return is drawing near”. (Heb. 10:24-25 NLT).
- Being Care-free, Anxiety-Free and Worry-free
“Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.” (1 Peter 5:7 AMP).
The Bible gives us a simple recipe for peace; it’s been anxious about nothing, but praying about everything- with thanksgiving (Philippians 4:6-7). Someone said, thanksgiving is the highest form of prayer! I believe it’s also because it’s a demonstration of our faith that God has heard us, and that we shall have what we’ve asked for in prayer; like when Jesus gave thanks at Lazarus’ tomb.
Casting our cares on the Lord is an act and stance of faith that God will take care of things; and we enter into God’s rest concerning the matter (Heb. 4:3a). In that state, we’re no longer worried or anxious about, or afraid of, anything or any circumstance. Imagine Peter in prison, the night before Herod was to bring him to trial, between two soldiers, bound with two chains and sentries stood guard at the entrance; yet sleeping! (Acts 12:6).
It is a state of peace. Peace is- a. a shield that protects our heart and mind (Philippians4:7); b. a force that stills the raging storm (Mark 4:39); and c. a weapon against the enemy (Rom. 16:20). Peace is that powerful, because it’s a component of God’s Kingdom! (Rom. 14:17).
God always brings a message of cheer, no matter how terrible a situation is. Jesus said,
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33). If we would, therefore, pay attention to His words rather than to what’s going on in the world, we would maintain our peace. “Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad.” (Prov. 12:25).
- Guarding your Thoughts.
“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” (Philippians 4:8 NLT). The mind can be a great battlefield; the enemy is constantly throwing thoughts like darts, at our mind. He wants us to accept those things so he can make them a reality in our lives; you eventually become what you think! In his discourse about our warfare, Paul talked about strongholds, arguments and high things that exalt themselves against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought into captivity (2 Cor. 10:4-5); and they’re all notably in the realm of the mind!
You must constantly challenge your thoughts- where are they coming from? Will they produce something positive or negative if acted upon? Are they in line with God’s Word? Etc. Naaman was so close to his miracle but was going to walk away from it, after coming all the way from his home because of his thinking! He said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. (2 Kings 5:11c NIV)
Your thinking can make or mar you; it can be your uplifting or downfall in life; it can make you rich or poor; it can keep you alive or kill you. So choose your thoughts carefully.
- Keeping your Tongue from Speaking Evil and Negativity
For “He who would love life And see good days, Let him refrain his tongue from evil, And his lips from speaking deceit” (1 Peter 3:10).
Remember, the ten spies were reported to have brought an evil report when they brought a report of doubt, fear and unbelief. The report totally contradicted what God had said!
God said He will do to them just as they have spoken- they all died in the wilderness, except Joshua and Caleb. (Num. 14:28-30). Truly, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.” (Prov. 18:21).
- Walking in Love
Faith works (i.e. is activated, energized and expressed) through love. (Galatians 5:6c AMP).
Jesus said, “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.” (Mark 11:25-26).
Offence can hinder the prayer of agreement between believers from working. (Matt. 18:15-19). Husbands are told to treat their wives right, so their prayers may not be hindered! (1 Peter 3:7). Offence can hinder our gifts from being acceptable by God. (Matthew 5:23-24). One wonders if that had anything to do with why God rejected Cain and his offering?
Love’s characteristics are spelt out in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. Love is depicted as a debt; “Owe nothing to anyone– except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law. Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law.”(Rom. 13:8,10 NLT). This is very much in line with Jesus’ parable of the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18.
- Guarding Your Heart
“Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.” (Prov. 4:23)
Note that it is primarily our responsibility to keep our heart, and the ensuing verses seem to instruct us as to how to.
“Avoid all perverse talk; stay away from corrupt speech. Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path. Don’t get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil.” (NLT). These verses also highlight what seem to be the ‘gates’ to the heart, namely, i. the mouth gate; ii. the ear gate; iii. the eye gate; and iv. your feet!
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