So in the opening three parts of this series, we reviewed the plight of the Prisoner, the chains and despair of the POW/MIA, and the struggles of the Walking Wounded. Now we will look at the Overcomers. We won’t stop there though, in the next and final installment of this series we will go over some of the highlights of how to overcome in your own life.
The Four Stages of Identity
At last, we have made it to discussing The Overcomers. Who are these Overcomers, and what makes them so special? Why have their wounds healed, where are their chains, how are they still in the battle, and why are they smiling?
The answer to these questions is Identity. The Overcomers are Christians who have embraced their new identity in Christ, they are taking the small hard steps in letting Jesus renew their minds, and they are beginning to experience the total transformation of a renewed relationship with God. The Overcomers are not super Christians; rather they have some level of understanding that salvation is so much more than a ticket to heaven instead of hell.
Ephesians 2:1-9 “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.”
Psalm 147:1-3 “Praise the Lord. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him! The Lord builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the exiles of Israel. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
Romans 8:1-2 “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.”
Philippians 3:13b-14 “…But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
The Overcomers know that they are not their past, they are not what has been done to them, they are not how they feel, they are not their failures, they are not what other people say about them, and they are not what they have said about themselves. The Overcomers know that their identity is formed by their Creator. Their Identity is the Beloved of Jesus Christ.
There is more to being an Overcomer that just reading some verses and saying, “Oh, ok. Now I get it, no condemnation, right – that’s awesome.” Maybe you feel better for an hour or two, then the lies start being whispered into your ear and you feel more like a Walking Wounded, or maybe a POW.
Psalm 107:2 “Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story – those He redeemed from the hand of the foe,”
Revelation 12:10-11 “And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.”
All throughout Scripture we find God telling His people to tell their story. From the Israelites and the monument stones in the Old Testament (Joshua Chapter 4), to Stephen the first recorded martyr (Acts Chapter 7), right on through to the martyrs of the end times; we are supposed to tell our story. Tell our story, the whole story, even that ugly part, even the part you wish nobody would ever hear about. The glory of God is made that much more marvelous, that He would save a sinner such as me. Jesus said that whoever transgresses one part of the law is guilty of the entire thing. So when we start out as the Prisoner from Part 1, we are guilty of breaking the entire law of God. That means we are all the same in God’s eyes, and yet He loved each person enough to send Jesus to bear the wrath we deserve.
The Overcomers know that no matter how ugly their story started out, or the nasty turns it may have taken, that their story points to the Glory of God. Maybe in sharing their story, another Prisoner will be set free, a POW rescued, an MIA found, or a Walking Wounded might begin to find healing.
II Corinthians 12:9-10 “But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Part of the miracle of salvation, regeneration, and new life is that being an Overcomer is what we are all called to. If you are a Christian, then through Christ Jesus you have everything available to you that you need to become one of the Overcomers. In the beginning of this series it may have seemed difficult to tell the difference between the Prisoner and the POW. The thing is, it is difficult to tell the difference between the two, especially to a world full of prisoners. The Walking Wounded are at least not in prison, but a joyless, wincing, grimacing existence holds precious little appeal to an already hurting world.
Romans 8:31-39 “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all – how will he not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died – more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: ‘For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Paul was an Overcomer, and this is the mantra of an Overcomer. It is not something Overcomers wish for, rather it is something written on the very heart of the Overcomer in the blood of Jesus, indelible, bearing constant witness to their spirit just exactly who God says they are!