…To him that overcometh….
— Revelation 2:7; 2:11; 2:17; 2:26; 3:5; 3:12; 3:21
We all have things that we need to overcome in life — whether it’s trouble in relationships, weight gain, health issues, financial difficulties, problems at work, or mental attacks in the mind. But regardless of what obstacles oppose us, Jesus called us to be committed to becoming an overcomer!
When He spoke to the Church in Ephesus in Revelation 2:7, Jesus cried out, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life….”
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The subject of this Sparkling Gem is not the tree of life, as that would require an entire Sparkling Gem all by itself. But today we are looking at the word “overcometh” — a word that Christ used when He spoke to all seven churches in the book of Revelation. They were all called to be overcomers (see Revelation 2:7; 2:11; 2:17; 2:26; 3:5; 3:12; 3:21).
The word “overcometh” is the Greek word nikao, which denotes a victor, a champion, or one who possesses some type of superiority. Often this word was used to portray athletes who had gained the mastery of their sport and ultimately reigned supreme as champions in the competition. It might also refer to a military victory of one foe over the other. The word nikao can be translated to control, to conquer, to defeat, to master, to overcome, to overwhelm, to surpass, or to be victorious.
It is important to understand that the word nikao can describe either an athletic victory or a military victory. This means Jesus was conveying two messages. First, He told these early believers that the only way to defeat the foes they faced was for them to maintain the attitude of an athlete. To win the contest before them, they had to eliminate all spiritual apathy and prepare for the toughest competition they had ever engaged in. Nothing less than a full commitment would be sufficient to master the exterior adversaries and interior struggles they were facing. Whether Jesus’ imagery referred to a runner, wrestler, discus thrower, or any other type of First Century athlete, His message was clear: Only a thoroughly committed believer will win a victor’s crown.
Because the word nikao was also used militarily to depict the absolute crushing of an enemy, Jesus’ words held a second meaning: He was calling believers to rise up like an army to attack and defeat the external and internal enemies that threatened them. Spiritual complacency and the lack of passion were intolerable enemies of their faith that had to be conquered. They were to wage war against the weaknesses Christ had brought to their attention. Winning this victory would require the highest level of determination they had ever known, for apathy and complacency are always the most difficult enemies for a person or a church to conquer.
It must also be noted that the tense for “overcometh” speaks of a continuous and ongoing victory. This means Christ wasn’t urging these believers to run a temporary race or to fight a short-term battle. He was demanding a commitment to start and to remain in the race until the finish line was reached — to attack and defeat their foes and then to remain victorious over their enemies. Thus, Jesus was actually asking them, as He asks each of us, to be permanently and consistently undeterred in overcoming and obtaining victory in every area of their lives.
Christ commands believers throughout all generations to be overcomers. Christians are to make it their continual and unrelenting goal to maintain victory in every possible sphere of life as long as they live on this earth.
Have you made the commitment to be permanently and consistently undeterred in obtaining every victory in your life? Why not start by making that commitment right now?
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father, I hear what Your Spirit is speaking to me today. You are calling me to jump into the race and stay in the race until I reach the finish line. You are calling me to fight the good fight of faith — and to maintain the victory once it has been won. I recognize that for me to do this, I will need to be permanently and consistently undeterred to overcome and obtain victory in every sphere of my life. Father, this is a level of commitment far greater than I’ve ever demonstrated in my life. Holy Spirit, I ask You to help me forge ahead. By Your strength, I know I can and will do it.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I declare by faith that I am an overcomer in Jesus Christ. He has given me His Spirit. I have His Word. And He overcame the devil at the Cross and the resurrection — then He gave me His name to use. There is no reason I can’t overcome the troubles I’ve had in my relationships, my weight, my health, my finances, or any other struggle that I’ve had. With the Spirit’s help, I am strong; I am stable; I am undeterred. In Him I win and maintain the victory!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- What ongoing battle is in your life that you know it’s time for you to overcome?
- What are you going to have to do differently than you’ve done in the past in order to achieve this victory and then maintain it in this area of your life? This is a serious question, so give serious thought and prayer to your answer.
- To win the contest before you, have you committed to eliminating all spiritual apathy from your life and to preparing for the toughest competition you’ve ever engaged in? Nothing less than a full commitment will be sufficient to win this victory.