When I was a kid, my parents were part of a new church that met – at first – in a school on Sundays. As the congregation grew, it was able to purchase a piece of land, with a house already built on it.
When a group of church members got there to start cleaning up the property, the previous owner had apparently held a garage sale on the front lawn, but he had neglected to put away the items that did not sell. These were sorted through, and repurposed, discarded, or re-distributed. As a result, I ended up being able to take home some 45-RPM records* from the fairly diverse collection of goods that were left.
Of these records, I remember a Ted Nugent single with Cat Scratch Fever on one side. There were some others that weren’t significant enough to recall, but one I remember clearly was by Queen, which had We Will Rock You on one side, and We are the Champions on the flip side.
I wouldn’t recommend either of these songs as the sole message from which we should direct our lives. However, they are both pretty recognizable, and either makes for an inspirational, crowd-stirring anthem when played overhead at a sporting event.
Playing a song to liven up the fans (or, to distract the other team) isn’t always enough to become a champion, though. No matter how good your DJ is, your team can still be out-matched. In the same way, we may play these songs to get ourselves psyched up for a big meeting, a big date, or a big interview. This motivation might inspire us, but it cannot guarantee that things won’t go haywire.
There is a way to guarantee a win, though. You can make sure that you’re on the winning team. In sports, this is never a sure thing. In politics, even less so (although I hear that the Procrastinator’s Society has a perfect record of predicting election outcomes). In business, buying trends can change on a whim. In the stock market, well…you get the idea.
So, where can we be sure that we will be able to overcome our adversaries? In the short book of 1 John, near the end of the Bible, we are reminded what it takes:
You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.
1 John 4:4 NASB
God – the creator of the world, whose track record is 100% – has demonstrated that He is the way to success. Through His intervention, working within His followers, they can overcome false teachers, opposition, and even outright persecution. History has shown that Jesus’ followers have overcome all sorts of other challenges with God’s help, as well.
Rest in this confidence, that if you have the Spirit of God in you, you can be an overcomer. That doesn’t mean a life of ease, or that traffic lights will always turn green when you approach. It doesn’t mean you’ll be rich, popular, or powerful (although you can find followers of Jesus in all of these categories). Just like a basketball game, we might feel like we are falling behind by a few buckets. But, in the end, we have this certainty that God (the Eternally Undefeated) will be victorious in the end.
In addition to the passage mentioned above from 1 John, read through these verses if you are in Christ, but don’t feel like an overcomer today:
- Philippians 1:27-28
- Ephesians 3:20-21
- Luke 11:5-13
- Psalms 8:4-6 (See also Hebrews 2:7-9)
- Philippians 1:12-14
- Revelation 2:25-28
And, remember that when God wins, everyone on God’s “team” can win, too. It’s not a competition between us and other people – after all, they are each loved by God, and potential fellow teammates with us. Together, our enemy is sin and evil forces.
May we, regardless of what songs we listen to, remember this key point, summarized by Paul in a verse from Romans:
But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.
Romans 8:37 NASB
See also How Amazing Is Grace?
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Copyright by The Lockman Foundation.