Faith and Insight: What does God expect of the Christian?

What does God expect of the Christian?

There are many things that can be done in the name of the Lord and many activities that Christians involve themselves in doing. But what is the first and foremost expectation that God wants? According to the letter of I John, God wants us to "overcome." Chapter 5 verse 4 states: "For whatsoever is born of God overcomes the world..."

What does it mean to overcome the world? "World" sounds so all-inclusive. This, I believe, is just what the Lord wanted us to think, an all-inclusive overcoming.

"World" according to the Webster's 1828 Dictionary has 22 different definitions. To cite just a few of these: the universe; the earth; the heavens; the system of beings; a present state of existence; secular life; mankind; our course of life; customs and manners; the carnal state of corruption and time. Other things that could be considered "world" would include influence, such as the enemy (the devil); oppositions; attitudes; anger; sufferings and finances.

To overcome is defined as to conquer; to anguish; to subdue; as, to overcome enemies, to overcome difficulties or obstacles.

In an article written by Gisela Yohannon for Gospel for Asia, Gisela wrote that "many times we are not overcoming, we are merely suppressing and swallowing the symptoms, and resolve the situation intelligently. We logically deal with it or explain it away. But deep down it is still there, growing and some day it will reappear because the final victory has never been won. It was arrested, but only for a while. The problem was dealt with through retreat, not through victory."

We at times see verses in the Word of God that impact us with a point so strong that it just about causes us defeat. When we see that we are to overcome the entire world (this huge all-encompassing, all-inclusive world), that verse alone could cause one to cave in. From that point, one could become the overwhelmed instead of the overcomer. The Word read in proper perspective never overwhelms but teaches us of the overcoming faith we have in Christ Jesus.

Due to the fact that the Word of God never changes, we are all to be overcomers. Our weakness in this Christian life stems from the latter part of the verse above; "even our faith."

Faith? Faith in what? Not what, but whom. I John chapter 5, verse 5 says, "And who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the son of God?

Also in I John chapter 4, verse 4, we read that we are God's children. Due to the fact we are God's children we have overcome the world, "because greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world."

This fact is a step of faith. Faith in the unseen, certainty in what we hope for. This is not a faith in my own faith. This is a faith in the One who gives this faith to us.

Faith is not blindly having faith in your faith. Faith is not something that commands, claims or speaks things into existence or that awaits huge results. Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the certainty of things not yet seen, namely Jesus. As we have seen in I John chapter 5, verse 5, the overcomer is "...he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God." This is who we have our faith in, where our faith is directed and where our faith originates.

Your question now may be, "How can I be an overcomer?"

In the next Faith and Insight, this answer as well as encouragement to live by will be discussed. Until then, keep your eyes fixed and stayed on the author and finisher of our faith and live: Christ Jesus our Lord.

Grace and peace.

(The Rev. Patrick Propster is minister at Carson City Christian Fellowship at 3691 Research Way, No. 111. Call 883-5215.)


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