It’s amazing to me how even a few notes from a song can immediately bring back memories or suggest strong emotions. Just think of the theme from Rocky, a true classic. In just a moment, you can go from miserably sad to incredibly triumphant, joyful and victorious. The metaphors contained in the Bible contain similar emotions for me. Metaphors help Christians think of our biblical identity—a child of the kingdom, children of the light, sheep, soldiers, ambassadors, salt and light or even strangers and aliens. Those metaphors help us to have a robust understanding of who we are and how we fit into God’s plan—now and in the days ahead.
One of my favorites is an overcomer. God wants us, His children, to view ourselves as overcomers. A form of the word overcomer is used 28 times in the New Testament. How should followers of Jesus Christ view themselves in an increasingly hostile world that rejects the person and work of Christ and his words? We are to overcome. Paul tells us, “But One in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).
The promise of Scripture is that if you know Christ as Savior and Lord, you will overcome the world. That idea was true for those in the first century church, where false teachers prevailed and teachers denied the atoning work of Christ. They were overcomers through intense persecution. Even in the midst of that, they could confidently say that they were overcomers. The same can be true for us. John tells us “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).
Some say we are at a time in history similar to the description given in the book of Judges—everyone did what was right in his or her own eyes. We may be at a moment as described in Romans chapter 1, during which God gives people “over to their lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever” (Romans 1:24-25).
Yet for those of us who repent and believe, “He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son” (Colossians 1:13). He makes us citizens of heaven. “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20).
“And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life” (1 John 5:11-12).
What a glorious gift God has given to us—to think of ourselves, not as triumphant overcomers in and of ourselves, but as overcomers because of what Christ has done in and through us.