Overcoming the World
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.
The totality of experience for nearly 100 percent of the people of this world is the world itself. The stimulus, the ideas, the direction, the motivation which impacts their lives comes virtually every minute of a 24-hour day from that constant system which the Bible calls the world.
It, therefore, is inevitable that the major shaping of the lives of virtually everyone comes from the pressures left, right, strong, weak, up, down, around, which originate in the world. The consequence is that virtually all individuals are simply the products of the worlds ideas, thoughts, motivations. The world is too much with us said the poet, and this is almost a universal truth.
In the providence of God, however, there comes to each of us an occasional moment of clear lucidity, when we see quite obviously that we have been mere lumps of clay, shaped by the world. Along with this moment of perception, we may experience a touch of sadness, saying to ourselves, I am merely a product and victim of my circumstances. What can I do to transcend the world and be shaped more completely by heavens purposes?
In such a moment we are coming close to obedience to the Scripture which says, Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust thereof: but he that does the will of God abides for ever (I Jn. 2:15-17).
Here we are reminded again that the worldly process by which we allow our lives to be shaped is very wrong. Minding earthly things and becoming experts on the issues of time, we face the danger of missing the voice of God and the hand of heavens guidance. I am hopelessly trapped by the world is the sad testimony of most in our time.
Can this trap be avoided? Can we be delivered from a wasted life that is simply spent in adapting ourselves to this worlds system? The question becomes more pressing and poignant when we remember that the Bible teaches that a person who minds earthly things (Phil. 3:19) may well be one of the enemies of the cross of Christ (Phil. 3:18). Overcoming, successfully resisting, triumphing over the world is, therefore, a really necessary thing. It is the key to real life! How then can I be strong enough, perceptive enough, jealous enough to triumph over the world in personal life and human activity?
The Great Question
Knowing that we would finally come to this question, John has given us an answer.
Who is he that overcomes the world, but he that believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (I Jn. 5:5). What a promise! Here we are told that there is a way in which concerned individuals can be strong enough to resist the pressures of this corrupt society. Who is the person who can live such a victorious life? It is not necessarily the person who is smart or strong. Rather, it is the individual who believes something. It is the one who believes the simple proposition that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
This deserves further thought. How does believing in the deity of Christ make me an overcomer of the world? It seems too simple, many will say. How does this work? We can understand this by facing some simple propositions.
The first is that if I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, then His Word is final truth.
When I believe this, I have settled the critical issue of our time, which is the epistemological problem. That is the question, What is truth? If Christ is the Son of God, then I need no longer run around from one guru to another looking for the truth. What is final truth? It is the Word of Jesus Christ, the Bible. So, faith in the deity of Christ establishes the Bible forever as the unfailing, unimpeachable guidebook of life. The believer, therefore, no longer wandering and leaderless, has a fixed course to follow. It is the instruction of the Word of Jesus Christ.
Also, if I believe that Christ is the Son of God, His presence is ultimate reality. One is amazed at the people of our time who stumble around asking, Who am I, why am I here, where am I going, what is reality? The question of the ultimate nature of things, what is reality, is answered by the deity of Christ. Reality is His presence with me and my presence with Him. Again and again the Bible teaches that the Christian is in Christ and Christ is in Him. Our environment then is settled. We are not in Chicago, in New York, in Los Angeles, but we are in Christ. Believing this, the Christian will never be lonely again. He is the fulfillment of one of the Bibles great expressions, Christ in you, the hope of glory (Col. 1:27).
Remember, finally, if Jesus Christ is the Son of God, His triumph is inevitable. Who will finally win the battle for the world, the universe? The answerJesus Christ. Whatever, therefore, may be the temporary hegemony, the leadership of someone in this world, all human victories finally amount to nothing. The kings of the earth and all the important people are pitiful posturers by comparison to our Kingthe Lord Jesus Christ.
The Final Scene
The inevitable triumph of Christ is taught in hundreds of places in the Word of God. Think of the picture, And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He does judge and make war (Rev. 19:11).
Who is this person? He is KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS (Rev. 19:16). He is Jesus Christ.
Yes, there is no doubt about it; Jesus Christ will triumph in history. We can instantly learn from this that all other loyalties are as nothing when compared to allegiance to Jesus Christ. In fact, it is far better to die for His cause that will ultimately triumph than it is to live for a mere human cause that will ultimately fail. Whose triumph is inevitable? Jesus Christthats who!
All of these notable things and many more are latent within the conviction that Jesus Christ is God. The individual that believes thatthe deity of Christwill move to a higher plane of strength, of capability and that amorphous thing called spiritual victory. This pitiful world is not inexorable and it ought not to control us. Rather, inspired and directed by Jesus Christ under the conviction that He is Lord, we can move to a great program of personal victory and great spiritual conquest.
Remember again the person who overcomes the world is the one who believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. When Christ the Lord walks with us in His power and purpose, anything is possible. I trust that He is walking with you today.
From the writings of Dave Breese
Destiny Newsletter continued