This morning I was thinking, again, on the concept of being an overcomer. It’s something I can’t ever get too far away from, in my thinking about faith. It’s a concept that has different meanings, depending upon which denomination or group you’re affiliated with.
My version is not the prosperity gospel rendition. My way of thinking about it is seen directly through the lens of suffering and doesn’t necessarily involve our circumstances changing.
As followers of Jesus, we like to declare that we are overcomers, but I sometimes think we don’t realize how our overcoming often requires a death of some kind.
Whether it’s the physical death of martyrdom, death to being right in favor of maintaining relationship with another person, or death to our pain, and our desire for justice, that forgiveness requires, death and overcoming are connected.
We overcome evil and a broken world system, by not giving in to it, by rising above it, empowered by the Spirit of God in us. The funny thing is that we rise above by going low. Humility is what elevates us.
What a paradox. It sounds upside down but the “Jesus way” goes totally against the grain. Holding fast to our testimony that God is good, is how we overcome – it’s what enables us to do it.
If Jesus overcame by way of death, why would we expect any less? BUT, it’s a death unto a resurrection.
That’s the promise in everything we die to:
Blessed, happy, is she who is poor in spirit, who mourns, is meek, is merciful, is a peacemaker, etc, for she is being prepared for an eternal glory that is beyond compare.
When I think about it like that, it changes everything.
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:8-12, 17-18