By Rex Rouis
Imagine a city with no hint of sickness or death. A place where everyone is happy and thoroughly enjoying the company of everyone else. One where people walk in peace, without hurt, sorrow, or dread. A city with a leader that is lovingly acquainted with everyone in that city.
Be encouraged, even as I write this, Jesus is preparing just such a place for us. He said so in John 14:3, “…I go to prepare a place for you.” And this place is a real city, with all the things cities have – streets, homes, parks, public buildings, and people. Jesus is the leader of the city, and He died for every citizen there. And YOU are meant to live there. It is the great reward of the church, and we would do well to think about it often. The book of Revelation may have challenging parts, but the final two chapters read clear. Let us read a short section from Chapter 21.
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying,
Behold, the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. Revelation 21:1-5
Notice that God says three times that He is going to personally make His home with us. To be a Christian is to be a member of His own family. The result of all that is written in the Bible is a divine city where God can be forever close to the ones He loves. This speaks volumes about the heart of God and the love He has for His people. He paid an impossibly high price for us in the death, burial, and resurrection of His only Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Who was raised again in order that He would become our Savior and the Ruler of this soon to come city – the New Jerusalem.
But what about the people of this great city, who will live there? God goes on to use only one word to describe this city’s inhabitants.
He who OVERCOMES will inherit these things, and I will be his God, and he will be My son. Revelation 21:7
God refers to the inhabitants of this great city as ‘overcomers’ and nothing else. Only one word. This word is used very little in the New Testament. Let us look at a few of those instances.
Jesus overcame the world.
These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world, you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
We overcome the evil one when we accept Jesus as Lord of our life.
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21
I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one. I John 2:14
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. I John 4:4
How do we overcome? By believing in Jesus as the Son of God!
For whatsoever is born of God overcomes the world: and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? I John 5:4, 5
Overcome in Every Area of Life
When we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior we essentially unaccepted all that the world had to offer, both good and bad. By believing in Jesus as the Son of God, we overcame the evil one and accepted Jesus, the Son of God, as our Lord and Savior. We are now overcomers by virtue of our new birth in Jesus Christ. Jesus the great Overcomer now lives inside of us. Our nature is now one of love and overcoming. And we do it all by His grace through faith in Him.
The word ‘overcomers’ speaks of individuals who have now taken the power and promises of God and have turned them into victories in their lives. It is used as a comprehensive word for success over the things of the world. This has nothing to do with religion. It is all about winning the victory in Him, by Him, and for Him.
Behold, the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.Now that we have been reborn with the nature of an overcomer, let us live that way. We should strive to overcome in every area of our lives. When tempted with anger, unforgiveness, or bitterness, instead choose to overcome through love and mercy. Are you fighting a life and death battle with hopelessness and depression? Do not give up hope. Work in God’s grace to bring His light back into your heart so you can again see the hope that exists all around you. Are there hurting people within your reach? Lay your life down and help them. Be God’s hand in this dark world, and overcome for them on behalf of God Himself. Is anyone fighting a battle with a disease? Fight back with all you have in faith. Faith for healing is all about overcoming. Seek Him in all things to receive from Him in all things. His answer is the answer to all our desires.
So faith comes from hearing and hearing by the (spoken) word of Christ. Romans 10:17
Therefore I say unto you, What things soever you desire, when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you shall have them. Mark 11:24
Faith is the reality of things hoped for, the evidence of things not yet seen. Hebrews 11:1
Respond to all that this life throws at you with the power of the next life. Your battle is not just about you and your situation. It is about exhibiting God’s power and grace in this world, in every way you can. Each victory is a victory for Him. Every time you respond with God’s power, you receive more of Him, and you become more like Him. Faith, pleases Him and victories glorify Him.
This life is incomplete without the next life. This life is one of conflict. The next one rewards us for the victories won in those battles. The Bible was written with both in mind. Seven times in the book of Revelation, Jesus speaks of rewarding overcomers – read more about that here. The next life is the all-important one because it is the eternal one. We Christians, being that we are now in-Christ, can only taste eternal life through faith in Him, and through the Holy Spirit. We have not yet received our eternal bodies or our eternal reward. Now is the time for faith and obedience. Now is the time to win the victories that will accrue to His glory. We will also enjoy the fruit of those victories, both in this life and in the next.
Start small but start now.Start practicing this now. Find something in your life to overcome. Do something different. Love the difficult or help the needy. Look past your weakness and walk in all that God has. Start small but start now, and then let it grow. Watch yourself grow into the fullness and stature of all that God wants you to be. Feel the change inside. Experience the peace of one who is on the path to their heavenly home. The eternal home of an Overcomer.
He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'” Revelation 3:21