John writes that “they overcame by the blood of the Lamb and the word of the testimony, and they loved not their lives even unto death” (Revelation 12;11). We overcome the same way. Many good people are taken down. Sad to see. They were running a good race, and they got tripped up by the lure of sexual pleasure, the desire for riches, the glory of fame–and they left the race for the world. Or discouragement set in and slowly took them out of the competition.
Demas was doing well. He was a part of Paul’s apostolic band, referenced three times in Paul’s letters, with such notables as Luke. But Paul writes that “Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world” (2 Timothy 4:11). I’ve seen it with really good people.
Will you be overcome? Not if you learn to overcome the enemy by:
THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB
Walking in the light brings two things: “We have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin” (I John 1:7). Christians on a hunt for pleasure begin to walk in the dark, saying all the while that they are in the light, deceiving others–and themselves. They sell out a rich inheritance for a bowl of cold stew. Christians bent on fighting the fight of faith keep short accounts, confess their sins to God and to people, and keep their consciences clear. Satan has no answer to the blood.Those, however, who keep secrets about personal pleasure spend their time in the darkness, Satan’s realm, and they get chewed up, no matter how strong they think they are.
THE WORD OF YOUR TESTIMONY
We are tested through our life just as the heroes of Scripture were. When they passed, as Joseph consistently did, the test became their testimony. They praise the faithfulness of God to keep His word and give them the destiny promised. Joseph became the second most powerful person in the world–one test at a time. He consistently passed, and the faithfulness of God was matched by the faithfulness of a young slave with a heart of integrity. Hear the word of his testimony: “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good” (Genesis 50:20). No desire for revenge, no unforgiveness clogging the arteries, no sense of victimization for all the suffering he had gone through, just thanksgiving to God that he overcame. You can to. Turn tests that come your way into a testimony by trusting a loving Father to bring you through.
LOVING NOT YOUR LIFE TO THE POINT OF DEATH.
For Joseph and for every follower of God, the issues is not live or die, but obey or not obey. Threaten this kind of person with death and you get nowhere, because he is not clinging to His life; he is clinging to his Lord. Paul put it this way: “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). How do you take someone down who cannot be scared by death itself. The choice to obey regardless sets you free from the threat of harm or the fear of retaliation. Christ-followers deny themselves and take up their cross–the place of death. What an overcoming life! I try to practice this in my marriage and my ministry. Join me.