Praise and Overcoming
Everybody likes a good comeback story. Good Ol' Charlie Brown was told a comeback story about a football game. "The home team was behind six to nothing with only three seconds to play. The quarterback took the ball, faded back behind his own goal, and threw a perfect pass to the left end who whirled away from four guys and ran in for the touchdown! When they kicked the extra point, thousands of people ran onto the field, laughing and screaming and rolling on the ground and hugging each other!"
Charlie Brown turned to him and asked, "How did the other team feel?"
Charlie Brown might not be an excellent example of someone liking a good comeback story, but there is a comeback story that the Bible talks about, and it's yours. Christ has authored it already. It is really a perfect one. It might not feel that way right now in your current situation, but none of the good comeback stories come easy. If the author wrote a story that was dull and as boring as we would like our lives to be, we would never read that kind of story. One person said, "If you want God to write your story, then stop stealing the pen." No one would write tragedy or failure into their own stories. But good stories are written by an author and not a character in the book.
Our text gives us this phrase, "this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith." What's that talking about? Its talking about your comeback. Just like that football team, we're behind with not much time left. What are we going to do? We're going to give the ball to our quarterback. That's not you, and that's not me. It's the Captain of our Salvation.
We're going to do what Scripture says. We're going to practice what Hebrews 12:2 says,
2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith...
And we're going to trust Him with our lives because He is, "the captain of [our] salvation" (See Hebrews 2:10). We're going to run the routes He tells us to run, and we're going to obey His rule.
That's the simple key to being an overcomer. Its obedience in the little things. It's obedience in the everyday, run of the mill tasks of life. If God says, "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God," well then, by God, we're going to do that for His glory. (See 1 Corinthians 10:31)
You see, it's not our job to worry about the things that we cannot control. King David said, "LORD, My heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me." (See Psalm 131:1)
The key to the comeback is not to worry about the big picture. The key to the comeback is exercising yourself in small matters. David was the king of a nation, and he still didn't worry about the big problems. What characterized David's life was the little, mundane things that he did every day in honor and obedience to God. What I can control: I can control whether or not I am going to yield to the Spirit of God today. I can manage to get up before everyone else in my home and pray. I can control getting alone with God and meditating in Scripture. I can control how I react to others. I can control whether or not I will work hard or be lazy. I can control the content of what I allow into my mind by what I watch on TV or the internet. I can control whether or not I will trust God with my life or myself.
The world, the flesh, and the devil are all out to see to our defeat. They've leveled all their heavy guns against our souls. But the praise is in this: Christ took all the artillery wherein the enemy once had the power of us and defeated them all.
He defeated the world:
33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
He defeated the devil:
22 But when a stronger than he [the stronger one is Jesus] shall come upon him [the devil], and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoils.
He defeated the flesh:
3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
Our sole responsibility is to be filled with the Spirit of God. That's the small thing. Let Him fill your cup. Deny yourself and let Him take the lead. That's the key to a great comeback story. It doesn't matter how far you've gone from where you'd thought your life would be. God is still ready to take the pen back if you give it to him. We need not fear our enemy. We have a simple weapon that the world, the flesh, and the devil are no match for:
11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
When you learn to do this every day, you'll start to see your story change. You'll begin to see that you're not the main character of your story. You'll realize its not your kids, your spouse, your friends, or even your church. Its Jesus. And Jesus can't lose.