Today’s Reading: Neh 6:1–7:65, 1 John 5:1–5, Ps 109:16–31
Today’s Themes: Overcoming, Faith that overcomes, overcome the world
Today we look at the biblical principle for overcoming by faith in God.
Don’t be distracted
And I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?” Nehemiah 6:3 (ESV)
Nehemiah’s resolve was firm, he would not allow himself to be distracted from the Lord’s work.
We should have the same mentality. When the enemy comes to distract us through mockery, intimidation or even in a subtle way by pretending to lend support, we should not stop working.
Like Nehemiah, the work we are doing for the Lord is great. We must ensure we have the right perspective on the work we do for God. It is not secondary or less important than other work, it deserves our best efforts and full attention.
Let’s all agree today that the work will not stop, we will not lower our standard or come down to fall into the enemies trap or gratify the flesh. Like Paul said in Hebrews 12:1–2 “… let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith…”
We overcome by not being distracted.
Strength from God
For they all wanted to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will drop from the work, and it will not be done.” But now, O God, strengthen my hands. Nehemiah 6:9 (ESV)
Nehemiah recognised the plan of the enemy was to fill them with fear. The enemy is the same in our lives, using fear as a weapon against our faith.
We overcome by remembering and affirming that God is our strength. God strengthens us in many ways which include the truth of His word in the bible, guidance and impartation from our leaders and encouragement from one another.
Here is a small list of just some of the New Testament verses talking about us being strengthened:
- Paul strengthens the disciples | Acts 14:22, 18:23
- Judas and Silas strengthen with many words | Acts 15:32
- The churches are strengthened | Acts 15:41
- The churches faith was strengthened | Acts 16:5
- Paul wanted to impart a spiritual gift to strengthen the believers | Romans 1:11
- God is able to strengthen us and keep us | Romans 16:25
- God strengthens us with power through His Spirit | Ephesians 3:16 and Colossians 1:11
- We can do all things through Christ | Philippians 4:13
- God’s grace gives us strength | 2 Timothy 2:1
- The Lord stands with us | 2 Timothy 4:17
Finish the work
So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty-two days. And when all our enemies heard of it, all the nations around us were afraid and fell greatly in their own esteem, for they perceived that this work had been accomplished with the help of our God. Nehemiah 6:15–16 (ESV)
These few words are so powerful “so all the wall was finished”. The mission was accomplished. This is overcoming.
We need to be finishers, we should finish the work God has called us to do. Finishing the assignment will deal a massive blow to the enemy and His kingdom. The devil knows that God has helped us finish.
Getting a project over the finishing line advances the kingdom of God. We should not give ground to the enemy by wasting our lives on dreams and plans that are never fulfilled. Instead let’s focus on the important work, (which may not seem important, but is) that God has given us to do and let’s finish it well.
We are called to finish the mission, to the glory of God and the defeat of the enemy. See John 4:34, John 17:4, Acts 14:26 and James 2:22.
Jesus taught us a lesson about finishing while teaching us about counting the cost of discipleship in Luke 14:28-33 “…Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’…”
1 John 5:1–5
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. 1 John 5:1 (ESV)
The word theology has fallen on hard times. When some think of the word it conjures up images of dry old men who have no passion for God but instead for their books and theories. For some of us in the West it brings up images of liberals who distort God’s word to fit their sinful ideas and lifestyles.
However the fact is that theology matters and is inescapable. In some ways we are all theologians in the sense that we are called to have correct thoughts about God. Thankfully God has made it clear for us in His word the bible.
Here a core part of our theology is made clear and it is something that sets us apart from other faiths, namely the living confession that Jesus is the Christ and has been born of God.
Knowing in whom and what we believe helps us to overcome.
Obedience comes from love
For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 1 John 5:3 (ESV)
God’s love in us is defined and expressed through our obedience to God. We must get this formula the right way around. We do not obey God to prove we love Him, we love Him and so naturally obey His commands.
Our obedience is proof positive that we belong to God and love God. It is not contrived or difficult because God’s Holy Spirit lives in us and has changed our desires so the commands of God are not a burden. We obey from a heart of love, in joy.
We love because we are born of God. We love and obey God because we are actually born again and have been given a new nature by God the Holy Spirit.
Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 1 John 5:5 (ESV)
It is our victorious faith that overcomes the world. The faith is clearly defined, it is our faith in the core of our theology as believers, that Jesus is the Son of God. Holding onto this core belief will keep our faith strong and cause us to overcome the world.
Help me, O LORD my God! Save me according to your steadfast love! Psalm 109:26 (ESV)
Whatever you have to face today, cry out to the Lord to help you.
Most of the above post is a copy of the original notes from the same date in 2014.
The Gospel Coalition on 1 John 5