Dear Friends,

I am learning a lot about overcoming lately.  In fact, I have found that the Lord is giving me what I need to overcome a season of discouragement and sorrow.

What do you wish you could overcome?  Maybe it’s harmful patterns of thinking…Maybe it’s a destructive habit…Maybe it’s emotional struggles of fear, anxiety, discouragement, anger, or bitterness…whatever you need to overcome, the Lord desires to for us to learn to be OVERCOMERS!

It would be nice if you could speak a quick prayer and the Lord would wave His magic wand and you would immediately be free from your troubles.  But as you examine Scripture carefully you realize that the Lord expects us to do the hard work to overcome, and then He will do the impossible.

HERE ARE 7 STEPS TO OVERCOMING:

Step 1:  Start Over New.  No matter how many times you have been defeated in the past; no matter what the enemy wants to tell you about how you will never experience victory over this area of your life, you forget the past and begin again to expect victory.  The Apostle Paul said, “one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead” (Philippians 3:13b).  Don’t let Satan use your past failures to keep you from overcoming now.

Step 2:  Decide to Make a Change.  To truly overcome you have to be serious about it.  You can’t give a half-hearted effort.  “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed” (Proverbs 16:3).  This step has four components:

(a) Specifically define what you desire to do.  Daniel was very specific in what he was committing to do.  “But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food or with the wine which he drank” (Daniel 1:8a).  It is so important you describe exactly what you want to overcome.

(b) Identify triggers. What specific things, environments, feelings, or circumstances tend to trigger the negative response you wish to overcome?  Being aware of these triggers give you warning to take action.  “Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. 15 These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death” (James 1:14–15).

 

(c) Create a boundary of protection around you.  Take specific action when you hit a trigger.  Job said, “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look with lust upon a young woman” (Job 31:1). Job made a specific plan of action to overcome sin.

 

(d) Enlist others to help.  You can’t do this alone.  Jesus didn’t intend for you to overcome alone.  You need others to help.  “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.  If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble” (Ecclesiastes 4:9–10).  

Step 3:  Hide God’s Word in Your Heart.  This is the step that most people try to skip.  But when we skip this step we are losing the power that’s available from the word of God.  David recognized the sin restraining power of the word of God when said, “I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. (Psalm 119:11).

In this step you will need to memorize passages of Scripture that speak to the struggle you are having.  The only way you can hide God’s word in your heart is to memorize it.  We’re told, “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword…It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” (Hebrews 4:12).  Find Bible passages that will require the hard work for you to memorize.  Print them out on card stock or rewrite them on a 3 x 5 card and keep them close so that you can look at them over and over until you have them memorized.

You see your mind must be reprogrammed:  “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.” (Romans 12:2).  Meditating on God’s word will help reprogram you thinking.

Step 4:  Utilize the Power of the Holy Spirit.  Whenever we are tempted the solution is to get ourselves under the control of the Holy Spirit.  If we are under His control we will have victory.  That’s why Paul said, “…let the Holy Spirit fill and control you. (Ephesians 5:18a, NLT). The problem is that many Christians don’t know what it feels like to be under the Spirit’s control. I often hear people say, “I tried to give control to the Holy Spirit, but it just didn’t help.”  That’s because a person doesn’t know what this “feels” like.

We get an idea of what this means when Paul writes, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).  At the moment you become aware of the trigger that you have determined from Step 3(b) above is the moment you must turn immediately to the Holy Spirit and yield control to Him.

But you might ask, “How will I know if I have given the Holy Spirit control?”  The feelings of temptation will immediately be replaced with the feelings of “love and joy and peace and patience…and self-control.”  Until you are sensing these results you have not yielded control to Him.

Step 5:  Overcome One Day at a Time.  Jesus taught us to live one day at a time when he said, “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (Matthew 6:34).  Don’t worry about the days ahead.  Stay focused on having victory for today.  If you think too far into the future you will get afraid and might feel defeated before you start.  Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11), and in this taught us to ask God for what we need for today.  God will give you the grace and strength—one day at a time.

Step 6:  Begin a Streak.  One day at a time you will begin to put together a string of victories that will be very encouraging.  There will be a point soon where you truly be able to say, “By God’s help I am overcoming!” Paul said, “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14).

Step 7:  Celebrate the Victory.  Celebrate your accomplishments.  Don’t forget to give God thanks for the victory you are experiencing.  Paul said, “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57).  When Jesus healed the 10 lepers only one returned to give him thanks.  He asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine?” (Luke 17:17).  Thanksgiving for the victory is something that will be a great encouragement to you on your journey.

What if we all would apply these steps that we might all be OVERCOMERS?  What an honor to our Lord if we would became known as people who overcome those things that bring defeat?

Onward overcoming,

Pastor Gary