How can we overcome the world?
I am not talking about military force.
The Apostle John, in his first letter, explains it to us.
“…for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the son of God.” (1 John 5:4-5 NIV)
From my Anglican upbringing I remember we have to renounce the world, the flesh and the devil. We mostly understand the flesh and the devil, but where does the world fit in?
We live in a fallen world, ruled by Satan, and it is easy to be conquered by it. When we succumb to the world’s way of thinking and doing things, we are overcome by the world. When we lose our temper and swear at the computer, or kick the dog because everything went wrong in our day, or succumb to despondency or anger because we have had a run of bad luck, the world has the upper hand. When we repay evil for evil, the world has conquered us.
When I was still working, I had the use of a slow, problematic computer. I am also not the best computer operator. I used to play a game with myself. If the computer changed my mood or caused me to be grumpy, it was one point to the computer. If I was able to maintain my calm despite its best efforts to frustrate me, it was one point to me. I didn’t always win.
John’s letter gives us hope. If we believe Jesus is the Son of God and we are born again, we should be able to see the world from a different perspective, from God’s perspective. It isn’t necessarily easy, but Christ has overcome the world and He is in us. He told us plainly, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart. I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV)
John says earlier in his letter, “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.” (! John 4:4)
Lord Jesus, I confess that I often succumb to the world. I don’t avail myself of the victory You won for me and I forget that I am the daughter of the King. Please forgive me and empower me to face the world in Your strength. Amen.