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

 

Let’s face it, we live in an age where we have access to information, whether accurate or wildly distorted, about everything that is happening around us, and there are days when this world and its news just seem overwhelming. We are hit in the face with wars and other forms of human violence on an almost hourly basis while personal tragedy and losses are played out in a relentless procession of pain and suffering. Even those among us with the greatest of resources available cannot begin to meet all of the needs that are presented for our consideration. There seems to be a giant hole growing in the center of the world’s heart where all that is civil, human, and good is falling in and getting lost under the tons of debris that is the fall out from our world’s relentless chaos. As we look into God’s Word, none of this should come as a shock or a surprise. Yet, as we know and understand God’s heart, it should still cause us concern and bring about feelings of grief and empathy for those who are in pain.

 

As I view the news from around my world, Christ points my mind to the human suffering and loss that is woven throughout these stories. He tells me of His own feelings of anguish and agony that are felt in response to what we people do to and with each other. My Lord leads me into appreciation for the struggle that millions of others are engaging in as they go about living through this day, and He also points my stunned and overwhelmed mind toward the only answer that carries with it real hope, which is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This thought may seem simplistic, detached, and even delusional in that the problems of this world don’t appear to have easy or readily achievable answers; yet, I hold that the opposite is true. The Gospel of Christ does not stop with a profession of faith, but rather, it begins there. As a follower of Christ, as one who has accepted on faith the reality of Jesus and the living truth of His transformative message of hope, I am compelled by my Lord to enter into my world for the sake of His name and in service to His will and desire to bring love, grace, and peace to every corner of this planet.

 

This is how those of us who have been born of God do overcome the disastrous mess that is this world. We may not change a single global story wherein brutality and oppression seem to rule the day; however, we can impact a life or two or so with a form of love and care that can lead to relationships that transcend eternity. God has overcome all that is evil in this world and beyond, and His Word makes it very clear that there is soon to be a day of great reckoning when Christ will set right all that has gone wrong in our world. Until then, we join Him in this victory over the evil that is attempting to overwhelm us with the volume and the intensity of its message of hopelessness and defeat. In Christ, we are called to live out His victory by loving others without regard for their response to us as we seek to bring people who are distanced from each other by worldly systems and ideas into our Lord’s peace and understanding. It is our faith in Christ and in the saving truth of His Gospel that makes the miracle of deep and true love possible, and it is this love that overcomes this world.

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

 

When faced with some form of obstacle, challenge, or difficult situation most of us take it on by relying upon our knowledge and our strength. After all, that is why we have put in the hours and years of hard work that developed those skills. Whether we are wired to enjoy, to tolerate, or to detest these times of conflict, people tend to respond to all that comes our way in much the same manner. Yet, none of this wins a true victory. Everything that we do on our own will fall short, and far too often the price of these victories is devastating on ourselves and on others.

 

Certainty of winning is found only in following the Supreme Victor, Jesus Christ. Although Christ has shared with us images of the great struggles, battles, and wars that are coming during these times of His final returning, all of this turmoil is nothing more than the mopping-up action that comes after the Lord has already claimed His victory over Satan and the world. So, as we are in Christ, we too are literally victors. Yet, we are not just invited to join in the celebration or added on to the tail end of a victory parade. What happens to us is much greater than any of that, for the fight is still going on and the conflict is fierce. Although we can rejoice in the reality of Christ in our lives and worship our God with all of our being, we are simultaneously engaged in battle. It is here, on the battlefield, that Christ makes the greatest difference in our lives.

 

Christ’s presence changes the essential character of the way that we engage with our enemy. In Him we gain the capacity to see the true nature of the attack, and we are prepared to counter its force and fury with tools and weapons that are effective. Although we may perceive that we are faced off against flesh and blood opponents, we are, in fact, engaged in a conflict that exists in the realm of the mystical. The forces that are aligned in opposition to us are quite visible to God, but they are thoroughly concealed from our view. We must rely upon God to reveal them, their true intent, and His plan for engaging with them. In order to do this one primary thing is required of us, we must have faith. The strength that will sustain us and the wisdom that we will require to stay true to God’s calling will be provided by Christ as we stay faithful to His Word, His Spirit’s leading, and the fellowship of His Body.

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

 

At the end of the day that is life, the things that will still be standing are the things that are from deep inside of us. These are the character and care oriented values that are expressed in the relationships that we have with other people; this is the love that we genuinely express to others.The ability to love well and to love deeply is not a very human characteristic, for we usually want to feel secure in what we will get back when we give deeply. We desire the security of knowing that others will step toward us when we open up to them; thus, we hold back and wait on the other person before risking ourselves. This reluctance to enter into relationships with others and to be the one who takes the risk of reaching out to the other person is one of the ways that evil wins in this world.

 

Yet, stepping out of safety and into relationship is exactly what Jesus did; He left the known and set aside His position to become one of us, and He opened His arms to embrace us all. He opened His heart to love every one of us totally, and Jesus did this before any of us demonstrated the first glimmers of love for Him in return.

 

When we accept Christ and agree to let His love reside in us, we gain an eternal victory over the forces of evil that try to keep us in fearful captivity and that make wariness our approach to life. One of the hardest aspects of all of this is that we are asked to do something that runs counter to intuitive behavior, for we are asked to accept that God’s love for us is real although we don’t see Him with our eyes. We are asked to move toward God by accepting the call of Jesus to enter into a love relationship with Him without feeling His touch on our skin. God asks us to have faith in Him and to accept the testimony of thousands and millions of people who throughout history have expressed the reality of God’s love for them. For me, God is very visible. My heart knows that He has stepped into my life and that He loves me completely; and my heart sees Christ in my life daily. We are all called to be lovers of others, not for our own sakes but so that everyone might get to know the perfect love that comes through knowing God. We are all called to have the faith that is required to step toward Christ’s calling and to open our arms and our hearts to others so that they might see Him, too.

 

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

 

When faced with some form of obstacle, challenge, or difficult situation most of us take them on by relying upon our knowledge and our strength. After all, that is why we have put in the hours and years of hard work that developed those skills. Whether we are wired to enjoy, to tolerate, or to detest these times of conflict, people tend to respond to all that comes our way in much the same way. Yet, none of this wins a true victory. Everything that we do on our own will fall short, and far too often the price of these victories is devastating on ourselves and on others.

 

Certainty of winning is found only in following the Supreme Victor, Jesus Christ. Although Christ has shared with us images of the great struggles, battles, and wars that are coming during these times of His final returning, all of this turmoil is nothing more than the mopping-up action that comes after the Lord has already claimed His victory over Satan and the world. So, as we are in Christ, we too are literally victors. Yet, we are not just invited to join in the celebration or added on to the tail-end of a victory parade. What happens to us is much greater than any of that, for the fight is still going on and the conflict is fierce. Although we can rejoice in the reality of Christ in our lives and worship our God with all of our being, we are simultaneously engaged in battle. It is here, on the battlefield, that Christ makes the greatest difference in our lives.

 

Christ’s presence changes the essential character of the way that we engage with our enemy. In Him we gain the capacity to see the true nature of the attack, and we are prepared to counter its force and fury with tools and weapons that are effective. Although we may perceive that we are faced off against flesh and blood opponents, we are, in fact, engaged in a conflict that exists in the realm of the mystical. The forces that are aligned in opposition to us are quite visible to God, but they are thoroughly concealed from our view. We must rely upon God to reveal them, their true intent, and His plan for engaging with them. In order to do this one primary thing is required of us, we must have faith. The strength that will sustain us and the wisdom that we will require to stay true to God’s calling will be provided by Christ as we stay faithful to His Word, His Spirit’s leading, and the fellowship of His Body.