As we prayed for all we know and love this morning, we were deeply impressed by the fact that many will be facing serious trials this week and so we wanted to share this strong encouragement to each of you!
If you find yourself in a battle, then you are set up to win.
Huh? What do we mean? How can we be so certain? Let us show what we mean through Scriptures.
Paul tells us we are “more than conquerors.” (Romans 8:37) Oftentimes when we’re in a fight, we feel it is a fight for our lives. For us survival is the only success we’re looking for – just to somehow escape this situation. And yet God tells us we’re more than conquerors? What does that even mean?
Let’s start back with survival. What’s more than just survival? Success or winning. Not getting away, but actually beating the thing that has been beating you. Victory! Let’s say the area where you are struggling is financial. For you then, survival might be that you are able to pay the bill but doing so drives you deeper into debt. You didn’t win. You just stayed alive to fight another day. But victory would be having a enough money when the bill comes in so you can pay it. It’s not fun, but you did it and you didn’t go backward into debt!
But what’s more than victory? Conquering! Not only do you win, but you take the territory! You drive the enemy out of the land and it is now yours. If we’re still talking money, it might be that you now have more sources of income and you have been saving and now you have an emergency fund for just such a situation. So when you pay that unexpected bill you don’t even blink, but keep moving forward in destiny.
But what’s more than conquering? Possessing! What does that mean?
Remember the Israelites? They first got out of slavery in Egypt with the Egyptian army nipping at their heels only to have the Red Sea open for them to pass through and then close back, wiping out their enemy. (Exodus 14) They survived! God delivered them! Then they were out in the desert when they became, “too numerous for their foes,” (Psalm 105:24-25) and so were victorious over their enemies!
But God wasn’t satisfied! Because He had so much more for them simply wandering around the desert getting their needs met. He had a land of promise waiting for them, a “land flowing with milk and honey,” (Exodus 3:17) but one that was occupied by giants along with the some of the richest and most powerful people whose sadism and abuse of women and children was horrifying! See when they stepped into their destiny they would begin to look more and more like their Heavenly Father, who defends the weak and the poor.
But again, God wasn’t done. It wasn’t enough to defeat the evil and conquer the land. See here is where the “more than conquerors” comes in. He wanted them to possess the land! Why? Because He wanted them to thrive and fulfill the fullness of their destiny. Yes, He gave them “houses filled with all kinds of good things [they] did not provide, wells [they] did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves [they] did not plant,”(Deuteronomy 6:11) but they now needed to tend and care for those very things and to see them increase, co-laboring with God! (1 Corinthians 3:9)Why? Because the mission has never changed!
In the beginning God planted a garden, Eden, and placed man and woman in it ( Genesis 2:8-15), with a mission, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.” (Genesis 1:28)
Our goal was always to grow and expand the Garden, the area of earth that dwells under God’s care and protection. Outside of the garden is just survival – that’s what the curse of Adam and Eve is – simply a description of life on one’s own, without God. (Genesis 3:14-19)
And that is why Jesus came! To bring us back to Eden! That’s why the world begins in a Garden and whose salvation is sealed in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46) and ends with the whole world a Garden where we live with God. (Revelation 22:1-5) Our mission was always to expand the Garden to cover this world, transforming it into a place where all experience God’s love and care.
So if you find yourself in fight for your life, remember in the Cross Jesus has conquered sin and death and become Lord over all things and we are in Him (Colossians 2:9-10) and He in us! (Colossians 1:27) You are not under the thing that is trying to kill you, but in Him you are seated in heavenly places over them. (Ephesians 2:6) Your life is hidden with Christ in God. They can’t touch your life. He is your source. (Colossians 3:3)
And so as we sit overwhelmed by our circumstances, let me ask us, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: ‘For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”’ (Romans 8:35-36)
Yeah, it feels like we’re helpless sheep about to be killed, but don’t forget that though sheep are defenseless on their own. When with the shepherd, they are totally protected, because the shepherd fights for them.
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:37-39)
Nobody, not anything can separate us from His Love, but we can choose to live on our own, to not live from His provision, but from our own abilities, step outside of Eden, step outside of the sheep pen…but, why?
If God is for us what can be against us? (Romans 8:31) That’s why we can say, that “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
Now I cannot guarantee the short-term outcome, because there are free-willed people involved. There are circumstances God never intended for the children He dearly loves. But I can guarantee you that if we will submit those things to God, appeal to His Love and partner with Him to not just survive, win, or conquer, but rather to thrive and possess the land He has for us, then we will discover that through time and the process He will transform every desert into an fruitful Eden!