By Arch Hoercher
Are you an overcomer? Or are you constantly being overcome by something or someone? The definition of overcome is “to get the better of in a struggle or conflict; conquer; defeat: as in ‘to overcome the enemy.’” It also means “to prevail over (opposition, a debility, temptations); surmount: as in ‘to overcome one’s weaknesses.’” Another meaning is “to overpower or overwhelm in body or mind, as does liquor, a drug, exertion, or emotion: as in ‘I was overcome with grief or I am overcome by fear.’” Satan wants nothing more than to be an overcomer in a person’s life. He can use a person or a situation or an addiction or an illness or an emotion or a temptation to overcome us. Satan especially enjoys overcoming a Christian because in overcoming he has pushed us away from God. The devil wants nothing more than to be the one in control of our lives in some way or another.
How can I become an overcomer? There are several examples of overcomers in the Bible. There is Peter, Paul, John, as well as Jesus Christ the greatest of all overcomers. There are several stories of overcomers in the Bible including the Prodigal Son, the Good Samaritan, and the story of Mary the Mother of Jesus as well as the woman at the well. I am going to look at one person, in particular, who displayed an overcoming spirit during much of his life – David the son of Jesse of Bethlehem.
We will look at one of the most familiar stories written about David in the Bible. The story of David and Goliath. I am sure that most everyone who is reading this devotional knows something of the story of David and Goliath. If one looks deeply into the story, one will see what it takes to be an overcomer. The story is found in 1 Samuel 17. I encourage you to read this text to have a better understanding of what is to come. I will refer to several verses within the text, but I am unable to include the entire text because of space restraints.
The story goes something like this. The Philistines assembled their forces on one hill and Saul and his army assembled on another hill with a valley in between them. The Philistines were there to wage war against Israel. Each day the Philistines’ champion (Goliath) would walk down into the valley and challenge Saul and his army. He wanted one man to come from Israel forces to fight him. Whoever was the victor would take the entire prize. Verse 8-9 (NIV): Choose a man and have him come down to me. If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us.” Verse 11: “On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified.” What is sad about this is that Saul at this particular time in his reign had fallen away from God and relied upon his own wealth and power. But in this situation he was “overcome” with fear, he was “terrified”. This went on every day for 40 days. Then David entered the picture.
David’s father sent David to the army of Saul with food for his three sons who were fighting with Saul. David found his brothers and asked about their wellbeing. It was then that Goliath went down into the valley to again challenge the Israelites. Verse 26: “David asked the men standing near him, ‘What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?’” Saul then sent for David. Verse 32: “David said to Saul, ‘Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.’” To make a long story short, Saul questioned David’s ability to fight this giant for he was only a “young man”. David was probably around 15 or 16 years of age. David told Saul of his killing of the lion and the bear. Saul allowed David to fight Goliath. We all know what happened next. This Sheppard boy named David killed the champion of the Philistine army with a single small stone.
Why was this young man named David able to overcome the Philistine giant? David’s trust was in the God of Israel. His confidence was in God not the flesh. His courage came from his confidence and trust in God. What is noted about Goliath is his size (over 9 feet tall) and the sight of him decked out in his armor and bearing all his weapons. What you see in David is all spiritual. His conviction, courage, and confidence; all of which were not of his own but were from God. David was not going to allow this Philistine to berate Saul and the army of Israel because in so doing Goliath was berating the God of Israel.
There are several reasons why David was an overcomer. First he did not allow himself to be discouraged by the nay sayers. Discouraging words can come to you by those closest to you, your family and friends. David’s brother and the king both were discouragers. Those who doubt you can be those closest to you. Don’t allow the negative feelings of others dissuade you from your goal. Those that are trying to dissuade you are often those who do not have the courage to go after the same goal. The only one that needs to be listened to is God.
To keep yourself on line to obtain your goal you must focus on God. David did not see the giant in his life because he was focused on the God who was over his life. David did not comment on the size and strength of Goliath or the weapons Goliath carried. He did not dwell on these things because he gave most of his thought to God. He spoke to Goliath about God and what God was going to do for him – not about the attributes of Goliath. David knew that his God was much bigger than any Goliath.
You also must ponder or think about your victories and successes, not on any failure or the possibility of failure. David remembered the bear and the lion which he had overcome. But he did not say anything about what he did, but what God did through him. He conquered the bear and lion because of God’s strength in him. He would conquer Goliath also, not with any strength that David possessed but through the strength of God. Verses 34-37: “The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” Remember your victories and who gave those victories to you.
To be an overcomer you must face your situations head on. A problem that you turn away from is still a problem. David ran directly toward Goliath. He did not hide behind a rock or run around in circles. He faced his problem directly with the confidence that God would deliver him. If you want to conquer your problems, face them, run toward them and confront them. But don’t forget your shield – the shield of righteousness which can put out all the fiery darts of the enemy. You will never be able to dodge your problems or ignore them. Face them directly with the righteousness given to you by God.
And the most important advice of all is to remember who you are fighting for. Verses 45 and 47: “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts…..All this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into OUR hands.”
Do you want to become an overcomer rather than the overcomed. Face you problems and challenges and battles like David did. Face your challenges to bring honor to God and in His power. Lord, give me the grace to do the right thing and face this battle in your honor and for your glory. When you face the many challenges and fights that are part of life remember this promise of God: 1 John 5:4 (NIV) – “For everyone born of God (a child of God, a born again believer, a Christian) OVERCOMES THE WORLD. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.”
John 16:33 (NIV): “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Romans 12:21 (NIV): “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
You can be an overcomer. Trust in God. He will deliver you.