I discuss overconfidence a lot because when it comes to spiritual matters, being overconfident in oneself can be detrimental. Not to split hairs, but confidence in oneself and confidence in the One who is in you are two different things. If I am confident in myself, I will likely fall flat on my face. If I have confidence in Him, then I know I can overcome because He is greater than he who is in the world. I don’t have to guess whether God is greater because it has already been established. I don’t have to wonder if I can overcome the world because He promised that in His strength, I can.
1 John 4:4, “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
It matters what you are confident in. Oftentimes it’s just because we’re stiff-necked and proud that we refuse to acknowledge that our confidence in ourselves is what brought us to the low points of life. Everyone’s either telling us that we can do it, or shoe companies insist we just do it to the point that we start believing that we can. Do you have club feet and need oxygen to climb stairs? Sign up for a 25K marathon today; you can do it!
We gloss over the cautionary tales of those who came before us, who were confident in themselves to the point of calling Jesus a liar, only to flinch and flee at the sound of a rooster crowing. It’s a long way to go from saying you are ready to go to prison and even to death to denying Christ before random people.
I’m sure Peter meant it when he said it, but a man’s strength will only take him so far. A man’s determination will only last so long, and his willpower is not a limitless resource that can be pulled from whenever needed.
In conversation with warriors who’ve had to endure protracted torture for the cause of Christ, one constant was the admission that it was not their strength that kept them or carried them through but the indwelling presence of God. God gave them the strength they needed to persevere, endure, and overcome. Even the best of men are still men, but the inward presence of God makes them something more than mere men.
The same man who ran away after denying Christ three times did not request leniency, a pardon, or a stay of execution, only that he’d be crucified upside down when the time came because he felt unworthy to die in the same manner as Christ. When he stood in his strength, he failed. When he stood in God’s strength, he brought glory to the name of Jesus.
Revelation 12:11, “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.
Those who overcame possessed two identifying characteristics and one attribute that allowed them to succeed. Those who overcame had the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death, but what gave them the strength to overcome was the blood of the Lamb.
You can have the best intentions until you are placed before the fiery furnace. If you do not have a good testimony or have not committed to not loving your life to the death, then you will fall to your knees and worship whatever you are commanded to worship without resistance or hesitation. There's a clue for those asking why there will be a great falling away during the last days.
Those who overcame did not love their lives even unto death. What this means is that they were willing to die for the cause of Christ, and many did. Juxtapose that mindset with the attitude of the contemporary church, and you’ll see the disconnect.
While the Bible tells us the way to overcome is to not love our lives even unto death, our esteemed faux-theologians insist that our best life now is all that matters. While the Word insists that they overcame by the word of their testimony, much of today’s church is so libertine as to make the Marquis De Sade blush.
The blood of the Lamb, the word of your testimony, and not loving your life unto death work in tandem to ensure that you overcome the enemy and his many snares. If anyone of these three is absent, then your victory is no longer guaranteed, and the enemy will figure out a way to hobble you.
Will your testimony be that you tried to do it by yourself and failed or that you did it by the blood of the Lamb and overcame? The latter is not as self-congratulatory and ego-stroking as the former, but one works, and the other doesn’t. We cannot allow the pride of life to keep us from overcoming just because it’s God that would get the glory and not us.
There are those who’ve been attending church for decades and have yet to overcome. They have yet to taste victory over their flesh because, for all those years, they tried to do it on their own, by themselves, not realizing that what is needed to overcome is outside of themselves.
The presence of God is more than enough for you to overcome whatever temptation the devil lays in your path. The power of God is more than enough to vanquish the enemy where he stands because He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world. We just have to make sure He is in us.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea, Jr.