Faith to Overcome
The last characteristic needed is a certain confidence, we call it faith. No one said that finishing the task that God has put us on this earth is going to be easy.
It’s not going to be easy. In fact, it’s going to require a certain characteristic that will get us through the most difficult of challenges and obstacles that this world. The evil one and all of the forces of Satan that are hosted against God will throw obstacles at the people of God to prevent them from finishing the task that He’s given the people of God to finish.
It will be tempting to give up, to quit. But we have to have a confidence that comes from outside of ourselves, something that will give us the strength to persevere and to have that determination: that single-mindedness; and again, where does that kind of strength come from?
Well, again, the writer of Hebrews, Chapter 12:1-2 describes Jesus as the Author and Finisher of our faith.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, 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, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. –Hebrews 12:1-2
Jesus is the outside source of strength. It takes enduring faith, not in ourselves as the self-help books will often tell you. “You’ve just got to have faith in yourself. You can do it. Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps.” That doesn’t work.
No, you can’t pull yourself up by your own bootstraps. You need somebody else strengthening you. There’s a stained glass window at St. Peter’s of the Apostle Peter trying to walk on the water and it captures the moment when he looks at the wind and takes his eyes off Jesus. Right then, he starts to sink, but as soon as he brings his eyes back upon the Lord, he rises back up onto the water and he is walking on the water again!
Jesus is our focus, the Lord, His will; we have faith and trust in His Word. Jesus said it this way,
I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me. –John 5:30
If Jesus says “I can do nothing on my own,” what in the world makes us think that we somehow can do life on our own!?!
What is the Father’s work that you have been given to do? It is not your work. It’s not somebody else’s assignment for you nobody other than the Lord. What is the work that God the Father has given you to do? That’s who you have to trust in: the Father. What has He called you to? It’s faith in the Father, faith in Jesus, the Author and Perfector of our faith that will get us through.
I love this little poem about a young boy in a race who keeps falling down, desperately wanting to please his dad:
Defeat! He lay there silently, a tear dropped from his eye.
“There’s no sense in running anymore…I’m out…why try?…
“I’ve lost, so what’s the use,” he thought, “ I’ll live with my disgrace.”
But then he thought about his Dad he’d soon have to face.
“Get up,” an echo sounded low, “Get up and take your place.
You were not meant for failure here, so get up and finish the race” …
He resolved that win or lose, at least he would not quit…
And to his Dad he sadly said, “I didn’t do so well.”
“To me, you won,” his father said. “You rose each time you fell.”
And now when things seem dark and hard and difficult to face,
the memory of that little boy helps me in my race.
For all of life is like that race, with ups and downs and all,
And all you have to do to win—is rise each time you fall.
Quit! Give up, you’re beaten,” they still shout in my face.
But another voice within me says, “Get up and win that race.”
“It is finished.” And the last book of the Bible, there are seven letters to seven churches and in those letters, there is a last point that Jesus makes to every one of those churches. Over and over He says: “To him who overcomes… to him who overcomes… to him who overcomes… and to every one of those who overcome…”
Here is a montage of all of the promises offered to those who overcome:
I will give the right to eat from the tree of life which is in the paradise of God. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations. He who overcomes like them will be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my father and his angels. Hold on to what you have so that no one will take your crown. Him who overcomes, I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my thrown just as I overcame and sat down with my father on his throne.”
Here is the prize promised to those who finish: Paradise of God, the right to eat the tree of life, immunity from the pain of the second death, the gift of some hidden manna!
I am not sure what any of that is, but it ALL sounds awesome!
And there is more: Authority over the nations, dressed in white, never blotted from the book of life, acknowledged continually before the Father and the angels of Heaven, a pillar in the temple of God, the right to sit at the Throne of God with Jesus.
To him who overcomes…“It is finished.”