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The Who and What of Overcoming

Jesus didn’t leave Heaven and come to this earth and die for us so our life would be easy. Yes, he came to give us eternal life, but He also came so we could live an overcoming life while we are here.

What is the overcoming life? John MacArthur wrote, “The word for ‘overcomer’ results from a Greek word meaning, ‘to conquer,’ ‘to have victory,’ ‘to have superiority.’ The word reflects a genuine superiority that leads to overwhelming success. It is a demonstrable overthrow of the enemy that is seen by all.”[1]

When we talk about the overcoming life, we’re not talking about Barely-get-along Street. We are not talking about just eeking our way through Christianity and hoping it all works out. No way. Living an overcoming life means we live as conquerors, with victory in our sights. It’s a tangible lifestyle that people will see and notice.

Who and what is the source of this overcoming?

The who of our overcoming is Jesus. It’s clear as we unpack John 16:33. Jesus is the source of our overcoming because He was an overcomer and He is in us and we are in Him—He abides in us and we abide (or dwell) in Him. Basically we get to share in His overcoming grace against everything that would ever come against us.

Understanding this is the foundation for living an overcoming life. Jesus has overcome the world and every foul thing in it, and as we abide in Him, He (and his overcoming) abides in us.

We can live an overcoming life because we are in Christ and Christ is in us. Quoting John MacArthur again, “Because of the believer’s union with Christ, they too partake in His victory.”[2]

Watchman Nee wrote, “Christ is our life. This is victory! This is holiness. The victorious life, the holy life, are all Christ!”[3]

We need to examine our lives and ask, “What are those things that have existed for so long that I cannot overcome? We need to start naming those things and apply the overcoming power, presence and promise of Jesus to them and watch them melt away. We can overcome and be free in Jesus’ name!

Secondly, faith is the what of overcoming. 1 John 5:4–5 tells us, “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world And this is the victory that has overcome the world‑our faith.”

What is faith? It’s when there is something in your life to overcome and you make a choice to stand in the presence of God and on His promises and power. It’s focusing our faith on Him. It’s not letting go of His promises when things get a bit shaky.

When something comes into your life, do you know Jesus? Do you know that when you abide in Him, all of Him abides in you? Do you stand on His promises and presence in faith? Not wavering?

That’s how you will overcome.



[1] John MacArthur, 1, 2, 3 John & Jude, (Nashville, Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2007), 58.

[2] John MacArthur, The MacArthur Bible Commentary, (Nashville, Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2005), Logos Electronic Edition

[3] Watchman Nee, Christ is All Spiritual Matters and Things, (Anaheim, CA, Living Stream Ministries, 1993), 46.

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