'To Those Who Overcome...!'
Calling the Overcomers:
Keep the faith! Hold your nerve! Keep fighting the good fight! Heaven is cheering you on as you take up the baton and run this final lap to victory! It's your turn now! These are your glory days.
Do you belong to Jesus' glorious band of Overcomers? You know who you are! You are sold-out for Jesus; you are part of His glorious Bride, His remnant Church, that endure until the end. Tried by fire, you come forth as pure gold! As the dark gets darker, you shine brighter and brighter! His glory is risen upon you in this hour!
There's one thing that keeps us from losing the faith and that is staying on fire for Jesus! You must be radically on fire for Him! Has He put His fire in you? He is the Baptiser in the Holy Ghost and Fire! The Fire is not an optional extra! Without the fire you're not going to stand through these times. Never let that fire die!
I asked the Lord, 'Why do we need to be on fire?' He immediately said: 'Because of the Great Falling Away'. In these last days, many are falling from the faith. This is a time of great apostasy, of great deception and fiery testing of faith. There is a separation already going on. The Scripture says that in the end times many will depart from the faith. They are slipping away so easily and they don't care or realise because they have grown cold and indifferent towards the Lord. Their lamps are empty.
If you lose your fire you will lose your faith. You can't afford not to be on fire! If you don't 'refire' you will 'retire'! You will backslide into unbelief; then where once you believed, you will be cynical and even despising, you will be hardened. You will stop going after the things of God, – you will have dropped out of the race and not even know it.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-3:
'Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him... that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first...'
'Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons'
Who is an 'Overcomer'?
An Overcomer is someone who perseveres unto the end in the faith. It's not just someone who gets a victory over something, for example a sickness, one time, but rather one who keeps on overcoming, keeps on living by faith and pressing on for more! They are a continual Kingdom Seeker, they have a constant hunger for the things of God.
It's someone who never stops believing, in spite of constant knocks and barraging fears thrown by the enemy (F.E.A.R = False Evidence Appearing Real). They stay in faith, they get back up time and again. The Overcomer keeps going on the narrow and difficult path that leads to life. Through thick and thin, through diverse trials and tribulations they stay steadfastly on this 'road less travelled'.
They are like the character in 'Pilgrim's Progress', never giving in, never abandoning ship; never betraying the Captain of their Salvation whose voice ever calls them onwards and upwards! Their commitment is unwavering. They are a disciple who picks up their cross and goes after Jesus. There is no other real Christian!
Luke 14:27: 'And whosoever doth not bear his cross and come after me cannot be my disciple'.
This is no fake, inflatable, symbolic cross, this is a real cross of suffering that they have embraced – and feel it's weight! They pick it up intentionally and intend to die on it! The call is death to self, the call is to 'hate your own life or you cannot be My disciple' (v26), the call is to forsake all for Him: v33: 'whoever of you that forsake not all that he has cannot be my disciple'.
There's a crown of life waiting and the words: 'Well done, good and faithful servant' for these ones who overcome to the end! Right now God is pouring out the Overcomer's anointing upon His people for these testing days! Reach out and receive the grace to be an Overcomer!
What is Perseverance?
Perseverance is, in other words: patience, endurance, long-suffering with joy! When you have this grace, there is a supernatural strength of joy to get through the trial – not to under-go but to overcome! You carry an anointing of joy, an anointing of victory, you are a champion, a victor, more than a conqueror, you are ruling and reigning over every challenge.
This is the Overcomer's joy! You're capable of bearing affliction without complaining because you can see past it, you don't expect instant gratification or instant reward. Like the Apostle Paul, you learn to view it as 'light and momentary affliction' that is building up for you 'a far greater weight of glory', that is building for you a crown in the heavens!
Perseverance is resilience, it's the stamina to keep going like a long-distance runner; it's resistance– pressing through the pain barrier. It's faithfulness and consistency – doing the same thing for a prolonged period, continuing long after the stimulus of the initial buzz of excitement at something new has worn off. It's not just a brief season of enthusiasm or a quick burst of energy that you can't sustain.
To persevere is to be unwavering, to refuse discouragement, to hold on to the promise even though it seems a long time coming. With every step you advance. You learn to 'fail forward', to always get back up and have another go until you get the breakthrough you're looking for. There's a tenacity that says: 'We never, never, never shall give in! We shall never surrender! We shall fight in every way and everywhere and on every front we have to!' You're undaunted and ready to do whatever it takes. You are motivated, you are moving! You are alert, you are active! There's no such thing as passive perseverance.
It's time to determine in your heart: I want this grace gift of perseverance! By the supernatural grace of God, I will always keep moving forward! I leave unforgiveness in the past. I leave defeat, disappointment, failure in the past. My past doesn't determine my future!
'Not that I have already attained,or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.'
There are two types of perseverance: the natural (based on self-will) and the supernatural: this is divine ability:
'May the God who gives endurance and encouragement (or 'the God of patience and comfort' NKJV) give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had.'
From God comes the ability to be patient and to persevere! It is His supernatural, divine ability that He imparts to us.
Comfort means 'come fortify' not cuddle me and say 'there, there'! He's 'the God of all comfort' and calls us to comfort others with the comfort we've received from Him.
'His rod and staff comfort me' – means He prods me and pushes me in the right direction. We need people in our life who do that! Who don't let us quit but give us a shove and say: ''Hey! What do you think you're doing? Get back up! No you're not gonna quit! Don't even think about it! Get back on your feet, you can do it! Keep moving! Come on!'' That's how to comfort someone! And this type of comfort can feel a little uncomfortable (on the flesh!)
Perseverance also means relentless diligence and a set determination. We have to have that same attitude of mind as Jesus in His commitment to do His Father's will.
We need the power of a made-up mind that says: 'I'm surrendered, my life is not my own; I have decided to pick up my cross and follow Jesus, I'm never going back, whatever I face I will trust Him!''
Count the cost! Don't put down your cross! Finish your race!
This race is not how you start, neither is it just the taking part, what matters is how you finish.
Keep running the race to the end, fixing your eyes upon Jesus – our example, our forerunner, the pioneer of our faith!
If you are in that place where you feel like giving up because you have come to the end of yourself, you may not realise it now – but you are in a good place – the place where you end and He begins. This breaking point is the key to your breakthrough.
The place where you are weak, and acknowledge that weakness, is the place where He can show Himself strong! This is the place where Amazing Grace steps in!
This is what Jesus said you need to do at this point:
Matthew 11:28-30: 'Come unto Me all you who labour and are heavy burdened and I will give you rest'
He is not saying lie down and quit and don't go on! Jesus is offering an exchange not an exit: He will give you His power and freedom to move forward in His strength under a different yoke.
'Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me for I am meek and lowly in heart and you shall find rest for your souls':
The picture is of a yoke of oxen – a pair of oxen yoked together pulling the plough. That's Jesus and you! Doing the Kingdom work together! But now it's in His strength, with His burden which is light. You will carry a burden that He gives you, but He is not a slave-driver! You will carry the burden of His heart - the same one He carries! You will carry His anointing, His passion, His compassion.
He shares His burden with you. What a privilege! He lays it upon you and you have the intense desire to do His will. He empowers you! You're not striving in your own strength, you're not under the yoke of the law, under condemnation, or under the heavy burden of the enemy! Wrong burdens, heaviness, depression, condemnation, failure feelings, striving, self-effort and legalism come off you! You feel light, you feel free, it's a joy to serve the Lord and do His will!
This is how you get back in the race if you're thinking of giving up! We all hit these breaking points.
You need supernatural grace to run the race! He doesn't expect you to have it in and of yourself to make it any more than you could save yourself in the first place! Call upon His grace! He will always supply more grace! He won't withhold it! And His anointing that comes upon you, smashes the yoke of the enemy. The spirit of heaviness comes off, you get yoked to Jesus and a new spiritual momentum begins! An ease comes to keep going, to overcome!
Keep moving with His momentum, flowing in the ease of His anointing. Like the wheel within the wheel that Ezekiel saw: you are carried in the Spirit. This way you overcome the 3 enemies of the spiritual life: the world, the flesh and the devil. You live above them, not subject to them: life in the Spirit is victory!
Jesus promised many rewards for the Overcomers!
Rev 2:17: 'hidden manna to eat' : God shares his secret and special treasures and revelations with you!
Rev 2:26: 'I will give you power over the nations': You will rule and exercise government in the Spirit that affects nations!
Rev 3:5: You 'will be saved and I will not blot out your name from Book of Life': You will not lose your salvation.
Rev 3:12: 'I will make you a pillar in the temple of God': This is how Jesus sees someone who perseveres! They're not a fly by night leader but a pillar in the House of God – one who stands and upholds the truth – providing safety for others!
Rev 3: 21: 'I will grant you to sit with me on my throne': intimacy with the Lord, ruling with Him!
So not only here on earth but in heaven there are tremendous rewards and honours promised to those who overcome!
How you live your life is being observed from heaven! We are surrounded by the cloud of witnesses. They are cheering us on to win our race! There are crowds of saints who've gone on before watching us attentively and cheering: 'Come on! Come on! Keep going! Don't give up! You can do it! You can make it!' They're cheering your name and they're waiting to congratulate you on the other side of the finish line!
Keys to persevere unto the end:
Vision: This means to see beyond the physical, to see the invisible. To endure: the unseen world must be more real to you than the visible.
Look forward! See where you're going. You can't look back: 'No man having put his hand to the plough and looking back is fit for the Kingdom of God.' There's always a lot of reasons and excuses to quit that satan will whisper in your ear and your flesh will want to latch on to.
Please don't live your life by the 'doctrine of excuses': of why it's so hard, why you want to serve but you can't, why you're still not ready yet! Don't talk yourself off the narrow path! The broad road will always beckon and seem more attractive and you will see many having a much easier time of it and seeming to be blessed and happy that way – but don't give in to that pull. Keep your eyes lifted up to Jesus and your reward in heaven!
The Apostolic Anointing; Spiritual Fathers
2 Cor 12:12: 'Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all perseverance / patience'.
Perseverance is one of the marks of a true apostle. The apostolic anointing is the 'finishing anointing' – to build according to a vision and see it through. God raises up apostles, and the other 5-fold ministries (- prophets, teachers, pastors, evangelists) to train up the saints, to bring the direction, the inspiration, the exhortation and the impartation, to father us into spiritual maturity.
The Apostle Paul said: 'I labour to see Christ formed in you.'
God has raised up apostles to sound the trumpet for people, to keep them alert to what's happening in the Spirit, to get them ready for what's coming, to encourage, exhort and lift people up, so they can keep going, to give them direction and guidance when they need it.
The Grace of God:
The same grace that saved you is the same grace that gives you the ability to persevere.
1 Cor 15:10: 'by the grace of God I am what I am'.
Paul also says here: 'I have laboured more abundantly than them all yet not I but the grace of God in me'.
This breaks the theory of hyper grace. You can't earn it, but here Paul is saying 'I work hard'! I do my part but it's not me, it's the grace doing it through me.
So what is grace? It is the supernatural power of God to do and to be what I couldn't in my own strength. It is divine ability that God imparts once we have done our part! The exhaustion of men's ability is the entry point of God's grace!
This is 'Amazing Grace'! Everything wrought and accomplished in the Christian life is by grace! It always was and always will be by grace! We need grace every step of the way! From start to finish!
'Through many dangers toils and snares I have already come.'Twas grace that brought me safe thus far and grace will lead me home!'
You don't need to ask 'Am I enough?' The question is, is He enough? Yes, He is and always will be more that enough for you! So let go of all inadequacy or trying to prove that you are good enough. Come as you really are to the cross and receive amazing grace! He specialises in failures! Your epic fail is His epic opportunity! He welcomes with joy those who come as prodigals, saying 'I'm not worthy, but will you have me? If you can do anything with my broken life, I give it to You, Lord'. He will come running and throw His arms around you and clothe you with His robe of righteousness that you don't deserve!
God wants to meet you at that point where you realise you are no longer enough in yourself. The point where you cry out desperately for his grace because you've reached your limits, you've come to the end of you.
He is without limitation, He is the All-Sufficient One. You will make it by grace not by your own ability! Then all the glory belongs to Him: 'This not of yourselves lest any man should boast'.
Let the grace to persevere in our call fall upon us now. If you've been weary – lift up your hands to Him. The grace to run your race to the end is coming upon you now! Your strength is being renewed! You will run and not grow weary, walk and not faint. Rise up in that grace now! Declare: ''I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!''
Don't beat yourself up any more! The one thing you must quit is trying to serve God in the flesh – in your own ability! This was the 'Galatian error': having begun in the Spirit they tried to continue in the flesh. You can feel the Apostle Paul's frustration in his letter to them! It's like he's tearing his hair out going: 'You foolish Galatians!!!....Why????!!!!'
We can slip into trying to serve God in our own strength! We get all religious, we start performing for God. Don't forget that we began this race by grace and we will only finish by grace, by the power of the Spirit, not by human effort.
Grace only comes on the humble. To those who recognise they don't earn it or deserve it. If you are proud you will think you don't need grace! God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.
We must depend on Him entirely and not refuse His grace out of foolish pride and religiosity – thinking grace is only for the 'immature' or the 'beginners'!
We must continue in His grace, so that: 'He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion'.
That is His promise to you! In Him you will overcome!