John the Apostle tells us that whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God (see 1 John 5:1). He then goes on to say that whatever is born of God overcomes the world (see 1 John 5:4). Thus, as believers who have been born of the Spirit of God, we have the power to overcome every obstacle and challenge that life throws our way. We have the ability to attain victory in every area of our lives because Jesus, the One who has overcome the world (see John 16:33) lives in us.
“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” – Galatians 2:20
Even though endowed with the ability to overcome in Christ, too many of us are being overcome by the world rather than overcoming it. Why? We do not overcome because not every part of us has been born of God. Although our spirit has been born of God, portions of our minds have not yet been born of God (for we fail to renew our minds) and so that portion does not overcome but instead is overcome. Hence, the only reason we ever experience defeat in our lives is because we fail to surrender all of who we are and all of what our experiences have turned us into over to Him so that He can remold us and make every inch of us new.
Light-bulb moment: Surrender is the first step towards victory. Every part of ourselves we surrender to Him, He is able to crucify and resurrect (born it again) into His image
If we do not surrender an area of our life to Him, it is because we do not know how much He loves us in that area. If we do not know how much He loves us in that area, it is because we have not thoroughly searched for His love through His word there; for the word says that if we seek, we shall find (see Matthew 7:7).
Light-bulb moment: When we seek God by immersing ourselves in His Word, the Holy Spirit reveals to us how much He loves us. It is this revelation of His love that prompts us to surrender fully to Him
The truth is that we only trust the people that we know truly love us and so would not do a thing to harm us. Indeed, the bible says that faith works through love (see Galatians 5:6) or in other words, true trust is based on love. Therefore, when we tell God, ‘I cannot trust You with this area of my life’, we are telling God that we doubt His love. We are telling the God who offered Himself as a sacrifice for us and drew us to Himself that we cannot trust Him! Good Lordy! It is doubt, which is the opposite of trust (faith) that leads to defeat in life.
Light-bulb moment: Any faith (trust and belief) that is not born out of love is not born of God (for God is love). It is not faith at all and so will not work
So there it is. When we surrender ourselves because we trust (or have faith) that His love for us is true, we overcome the world! Simply put, faith is the ‘whatever’ that is born of God that produces victory.
“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world –our faith” – 1 John 5:4
Light-bulb moment: Since faith is the victory that overcomes the world, it can be said that the defeat that overcomes us is our doubt of how much God loves us.
So how do we know that our faith is born of God? To know that what we are holding onto has been promised by God and not a counterfeit, we first have to take a look at how faith comes.
“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” – Romans 10:17
This passage does not say that faith comes by hearing the word of God. No! Many have heard the word of God without ever developing faith. Rather, the word of God must speak to us in order for it to produce faith. For the word of God to speak to us, our hearts must be prepared to receive it. This is what happened when we got saved – the word of God cut through to our hearts and spoke to us so that we developed the faith (belief) to confess Christ.
Light-bulb moment: To truly have faith, we must truly believe in our hearts that the specific word is for us. Head or surface knowledge does not mean faith has been produced
When we study and meditate on the Word, the Holy Spirit reveals and confirms to us that the specific word (verse) we are reading is for us…we hear from the Holy Spirit. Now, knowing that the word which He has spoken to us will not be altered (Psalms 89:34) and cannot return to Him void (Isaiah 55:11) for He cannot lie (Numbers 23:19), we are assured that it shall come to pass; all of our doubt is removed and real faith that we can hold onto in obedience is produced!
Anything we hold onto that has not spoken to us is simply not of God for the Holy Spirit has not confirmed it. For example, if God has not spoken to us that we will win the lottery while studying His word, then we can say we believe it and confess it all we want – it is likely not to happen since it does not come from God but from our own desires (see James 4:3). Conversely, it is prudent to hold onto everything that God has spoken to us – that will always be confirmed as we spend time in the Word. In this light, we are wise to hold onto every promise that is written in the scripture for the bible is the word of God spoken to us. We are also wise to hold onto everything that He has told us specifically as we fix our eyes on Him.
Food for Thought: If we want our faith to work, we must grow in love