Overcome or Overcomer

How is your week so far? I know.  Trick question, you say; it’s only Tuesday.  I know.  So really how is your week so far? Yesterday as I was arriving at work, my two favorite DJs on WCSG, the radio station I listen to, were announcing that Mandisa was going to make a guest appearance on their show.  She was going to talk about being an overcomer, which is also the title of her new song. I had never heard of Mandisa until I read her book, but now she’s one of my favorite music artists. I was thinking I could just stay in the car and listen, but no. That would just be wrong, then I would have to overcome a heap of guilt; first for showing up late, then dealing with a short pay check.  So I wandered into work thinking about how that one word can change a life.

There’s a big difference between being overcome and being an overcomer. Listen to the depth of David’s discouragement in Psalm 116:3 “The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came over me; I was overcome by distress and sorrow.”  I think someone told me once that David didn’t write all the Psalms, but even if he didn’t there is a common thread that runs through the entire book. Have you noticed the peaks and valleys of emotion?  Sometimes even from verse to verse the tone changes.  Verse 4 then says “Then I called on the name of the Lord: “Lord, save me!”  I wonder how many times we feel distressed or discouraged, unable to see beyond our circumstances of the day.  We are overcome and feel like our hope is fading fast.  David felt that way … a lot!  But he recognized that and notice how he handles it over in Psalm 130:5 “I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.”

But I’m tired of waiting, discouraged at having to wait, wondering if this is ‘wait’ or the answer is ‘no’.  While we wait for the prayer to be answered, for the pain to go away, for joy to return, for sadness to subside how much it would please God if we would use these experiences to become better, not bitter.  Not to be overcome, but to be overcomers.  Romans 12:21 shows us our choices  “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”  Living in discouragement is like living in a dark cocoon, isn’t it? Have you ever noticed how quickly the flame of a candle is extinguished when the lid is put on the jar? It’s almost instantaneous. The flame burning bright goes out when circumstances remove its most important sustainer, oxygen.

We are a little like that candle. Can it just decide it wants to burn again and burst into flame on its own?  Hardly! We have an advantage because we have a brain, we have motor skills, we can decide to take action and find a way to get the flame burning again. Are you discouraged today? Let’s take a few minutes to visit 1John 2:14 “I write to you, dear children, because you know the Father. I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one.”  We can rise above discouragement. It’s not easy, but it’s a choice. John 1: 5 says “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”  Think about good things today, pray, turn off the news, write yourself a letter, write someone else a letter.  Today can be awful or it can be awesome.  1 John 4:4 “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” And let’s end with these words in Mandisa’s song Overcomer “You might be down for a moment, feeling like it’s hopeless, that’s when we need to be reminded that we are overcomers.”

Overcome or Overcomer …. Let’s get out there!

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