Winning. We all want to win and hate the thought of losing. And yet Paul the Apostle, in the Epistle to the church in Corinth, likens our walk with God to a race. In 1 Corinthians, 9 Paul says, “Do you not know that all the runners in a stadium compete, but only one receives the prize? So run to win” (NET translation). This idea of salvation being likened to a race, is something Paul uses quite often. Yet, in his writings, he also refers to the difficulties that we will often face along the way.
If we look at another passage, written by the Apostle in Romans 8, he mentions that “…in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.” Interestingly enough, he tells us some of what “these things” actually are. In the 35th verse of the book of Romans, Paul mentions seven things: tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, sword. That, to me, sounds like just about everything that we might face in this life, although we might refer to it as trouble. After all, when was the last time you confronted by someone yielding a sword? Yet, could this not represent any time of physical threat or intimidation tactic? I think so.
Yet, in the midst of all of these troubles, Paul refers to us as conquerors. In fact, according to one commentary (JFB), the word conqueror suggests that these things actually work for our benefit! Yes, that’s right! Our benefit…In other words, they do us good. Now, of course none of us would likely sign up for experiences that would would cause us to go through any of the aforementioned hardships, and yet this too is substantiated in the scripture. In the 28th verse of the Roman letter, for example, Paul writes, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God…” The phrase “all things”, in Strong’s concordance, refers to whatsoever, all- manner-of, and whosoever. That’s pretty inclusive. That means that nothing and no one is exempted.
Troubling? I would say so, but let’s go on. See, this idea of conquering, or winning, seems to contradict what Paul writes about in 2 Corinthians 4. Paul, in this passage, states that we are troubled, perplexed, persecuted, and cast down. And yet, Paul says that in spite of this “dying” process, as referenced in the 10th verse, he states that, parenthetically, it results in the life of Jesus also being made “manifest” in our body. That word manifest meaning to render apparent, or to figuratively appear. In other words, when we go through these troubles, and do it as Christ would command, He himself is shown through us to those around us. As a matter of fact, in the seventh verse of the same chapter, we are told that we have a treasure. It is a precious gift, given to us by the grace of God, yet packaged in, of all things, “jars of clay”. And further, this treasure is placed within “earthen vessels.” Put simply, that would be human flesh. That treasure is what is made evident to those around us as we go through the “trouble”, in whatever form it may come.
Jesus said, in the book of John, the 16th chapter, “…in this world ye shall have tribulation, yet take heart, for I have overcome the world (John 16:33). Tribulation, as used here, literally may be translated as pressure. In our modern English, we might also translate if as anguish, or burdensome trouble. The scripture states that God himself “makes the sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust (Matt. 5:45). In essence, none can avoid this trouble, and yet those in Christ can have a victory that overcomes the world. In (1 John 5:4), the Apostle John states this, “For whatsoever is born of God overcomes the world: and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.
Victory as defined by Webster’s meaning:
So then, if faith gains us victory, what do we place our faith in? The Apostle John (1 John 5:4) goes on to ask the question, “Who is he that overcomes the world, but he that believes that Jesus is the Son of God. So we take hope that even though we may think we are losing, ultimately the victory is ours, and we win!
And for those of you looking for additional resources that address this topic and others, make sure to check out these resources, specifically the following books: The Search for Significance by Robert S. McGee as well as Winning the War Within by Charles Stanley. By the way, the link above is an affiliate link which means I may receive a commission if you do purchase books or other products on this site. It’s at no extra cost to you and if you have any questions related to this product, please let me know and I’d be happy to try and answer them for you.
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