An Overcomer or A Survivor

Jesus said to His disciples; “in the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have
overcome the world.” John wrote: “This is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.”

An elderly woman was asked by a young person what was the greatest achievement in her life. She thought for a moment and said it was that she was a survivor; she had survived tragedy, bad decisions, disappointments, etc. Her life story was inspiring, but in looking back at it I could not help but wish she had been able to say she was more than just surviving life. She never mentioned God.

 

If she does not know Jesus Christ personally I can understand the pride in making her own way in life, because to a survivor that is what life amounts to; outliving, outlasting, outdoing, outthinking, enduring, and even just subsisting, day by day, year after year, getting as much out of life as you can, finding as much happiness as possible.

God never meant for His children to just “survive.” From Genesis to Revelation we are given example after example of men and women who by faith became overcomers. But God also provided a few examples of those who were just survivors as a warning. We can read about their lives and learn.

What separates overcomers and survivors? Pivotal choices! The quality of a Christian's life consists of exercising faith in daily choices, but to each life there comes at some point a pivotal choice that can set a pattern and affect the growth, or lack, of faith in that life. Take the patriarch Abraham; his pivotal choice was when God called him to pack up and leave home for a land that God would show him. He did, and it set the pattern for other pivotal choices that strengthened his faith, and he was called a friend of God.

When Abraham left Haran he took with him his nephew Lot whose father had died. As Abraham prospered he shared with Lot until both had large herds and flocks. While at Bethel Abraham realized there was not enough land to sustain all the livestock and he graciously told Lot to choose the land he wanted and he would go in the opposite direction. Lot's pivotal choice was to take the best and most fertile land even though he owed his uncle for much of his success. His greed helped set a pattern for his life. “Lot chose for himself all the plain of Jordan...and Lot dwelt in the cities of the plain and pitched his tent even as far as Sodom.” In Genesis 19 two men come to warn Lot to take his family and flee before God destroys Sodom and Gomorrah. Verse16 is reveals Lot's heart; “And while he LINGERED, the men (angels) took hold of his hand, his wife's hand, and the hands of his two daughters, the Lord being MERCIFUL to him, and they brought him and set him outside the city.”

Lot survived and in Peter's second letter we read that Peter called him “righteous Lot, who was oppressed (vexed) by the filthy conduct of the wicked.” Why was he called righteous? Because he was a believer and God NEVER disowns His own. Hallelujah! But Lot lost everything, including family members, with the exception of his two younger daughters. No doubt if he had known the consequences of his choices he would not have made them. We can all say “amen” to that!

Many Christians make the mistake of trying to barter with God, believing if they give God control over part of their life, and consistently doing those things that make them good Christians, they can keep control in other areas. It is a no-win situation. God has a specific plan and place for each of us. Survivors that learn that lesson and choose to trust God for every part of their life take the first step to becoming overcomers. “FAITH IS THE VICTORY! FAITH IS THE VICTORY! O GLORIOUS VICTORY THAT OVERCOMES THE WORLD!”

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