We must make walking in overcoming faith a daily habit. It is a supernatural faith given by God Himself and directed by the Spirit to enforce the victory already obtained by Jesus.
For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. (1 John 5:4)
The world is a constant challenge to every believer because it’s kind of ‘wired’ into us so we have to constantly be on the lookout for those things that tempt and seduce us or just plain confuse us into making wrong choices. But Christians must never forget that the things of the world are closely aligned with the things of Satan. He is, after all, the prince of this world. For now, he lives and reigns here in the world and will both use and interact with worldly things to resist or even attack us. The danger of this is that we so easily overlook him in what appears to be entirely ‘natural’ and therefore victory is slow in coming. Today’s verse tells us, however that overcoming faith is what brings victory. Because faith is spiritual, not natural, our victories are also only possible in the spirit.
Overcoming faith is born of God.
The beauty of overcoming faith is that we already have it as a free gift from God. He may grow it and strengthen it over time as we get to know Him more intimately, but the full measure of faith is already ours. It’s simply the outworking that takes time. We can know this with absolute assurance because we have Christ in us, and so we have everything of Him in us, including His faith. In Christ, we are born of God – reborn as spiritual sons of God. Because we are spirit, we are able to overcome the flesh, the world, and the enemy. Any natural or human ‘faith’ we may have had is gone. We are no longer reliant on ourselves to find what we need. Faith born of God is already present in us. We simply have to learn to access an exercise it according to the need.
The other positive is that what is born of God cannot die. It’s eternal. This means that we never have to worry about ‘losing’ faith. At most, we could temporarily lose sight of it in times of pressure or crisis. But overcoming faith is ours forever – freely available, always, and sufficient for any need. This is a profound and powerful truth for every believer. We seem to default back to self, to ‘my faith’ instead of looking to God’s faith in us. There is no such thing as my faith. It’s a spiritually impossible notion. The faith within me may be mine to use, but if it’s of God, it’s His. For my part, I rejoice that God’s faith in me can never fail. If I lose sight of it or don’t exercise it, that doesn’t alter the absolute truth that it’s still in me and always will be.
The purpose of overcoming faith.
This may seem redundant, but we need to take hold of it. Overcoming faith is purposed to do just that – to overcome. It’s rather like God’s spiritual trigger to release the supernatural into the natural. Through it, we are able to access spiritual solutions rather than human solutions. Our faith is what makes us citizens of the kingdom of God rather than citizens of the world. In fact, it separates us from the world who at best, have hope. Real faith is only of God and is only given to those who have been born of God. Faith is also the way we access the full measure of salvation bought for us on the cross – the ultimate place of victory. The death and resurrection of Jesus is a complete, once-and-for-all victory. It never has to be repeated. Both the world and the powers of darkness are utterly defeated already.
This is the crux of the phrase the ‘good fight of faith’ which is often misunderstood. Our fight is not to obtain the victory but to enforce it. I was very powerfully reminded of this over the last six weeks or so. During this time, the enemy has literally attempted to take my life on more than one occasion. It has been a concerted and systematic attack that came very close to succeeding. On one particularly bad very early morning, God reminded me that the battle had already been won. My fight was not against the problem but rather to establish the victory already gained on the cross. He also reminded me that I stood in His faith, not mine. Thank goodness, because by that time, I was clear out of all things me. There is nothing quite like turning up the heat to remove self.
Overcoming faith is always centred in Christ.
One of the most powerful revelations I have ever received is that the work of salvation is completely complete and perfectly perfect. Nothing further needs to be done. Everything we could ever need for any situation is already ours and available, purchased by the body and blood of Jesus. Overcoming faith is always focused on Christ and on the truth of what He accomplished. It sees the victory rather than the situation and overcomes because it knows that in Christ, it has already overcome. This is the faith born of God. It sees things as God sees them – already defeated. It’s one thing to say that we will have the victory. It’s another to say we already have the victory and what’s facing us is an already defeated enemy. Whether the enemy is the flesh, the world, or the powers of darkness, this truth applies.
Overcoming faith looks to Jesus because in Him is the yea and amen of all God’s promises. Everything God is and can do is manifest in Christ. He was born as the Son of Man so we could in turn be born as the sons of God. Being born of God means being raised up from the natural into the supernatural. No matter what we’re dealing with, we don’t have to do so in ourselves. When Christ is our focus, faith sees what He has already accomplished and moves to enforce it. The battle takes on an entirely different perspective. We still have to go through it, but with our eyes on Jesus, victory is assured. Only faith in what Christ has already ensured is overcoming faith. It’s faith that receives and appropriates what He has made available and applies it actively to the situation.
The Spirit and overcoming faith.
God has placed His Spirit in each of us and one of His purposes is to release overcoming faith. This is where so many believers struggle because we somehow assume we need to find it ourselves. The Spirit is essentially the ‘doer’ in the Trinity. His power brings God’s will into being. Everything that Go wills is manifest through the working of the Spirit, and overcoming faith is no exception. The Holy Spirit will both release the faith and reveal how to exercise it specifically in every situation. It’s the difference between a high-powered rifle and a random shotgun blast. The Spirit continually reveals Jesus to us and directs us in using that revelation in our particular circumstance. There’s no point in having absolute faith that Jesus walked on water when we really need to believe that He has already defeated a sin we may struggle with.
Of course, both types of faith are entirely true and valuable. But we’re unlikely to need the first unless we’re stuck on an island with no other way to reach the mainland. Overcoming faith is directed by the Spirit in our moment of need to what Jesus has already provided for that need. Faith in other things – like His mercy, grace, love and faithfulness – are good and necessary and provide a foundation. But our weapon is the specific faith that will address the problem. What this means is that it’s vital for every believer to walk in the Spirit. When He directs the battle, victory is assured. This is what it really means when we say that the battle belongs to the Lord. Remember, God sees all and knows exactly what is needed. He is our heavenly commander and we are simple soldiers. Overcoming faith is Spirit directed.
Overcoming faith is self-exclusionary.
Faith is spiritual and self is natural. As long as we try to access or apply overcoming faith in self mode, it will never be overcoming faith. We can have as much knowledge of the Word of God as is humanly possible, but outside of the Spirit it remains intellectual, not spiritual. Self is about me and faith is about God. It’s impossible for me to have faith. Remember the father who said he had faith and immediately cried out to Jesus to help him in his unbelief? He realised that the faith he had was natural faith and that he needed supernatural faith. Self always tries to take control when things get rough. It’s a kind of survival mechanism that kicks in. But the reality is that self only gets in the way. It hesitates or rushes out without sufficient knowledge, or changes its mind continually.
Self needs to be continually reminded that ‘I’ am not fighting this battle. I’m fighting it with God, and that means I’m the soldier and He’s the general. I am convinced that many of our battles could have been resolved far quicker – my own included – if we could get self to back off or, first prize, leave the battlefield. Sometimes, it may be that we have to first fight and defeat self in order to address the real problem. The only way is to keep reminding self that it’s crucified with Christ, dead, and buried, and to stay that way. The tragedy is that self makes the devil’s purpose easier to accomplish. That’s why we’re told to submit to God and then resist the devil. Only when self is surrendered and God is truly running the show will overcoming faith manifest in the power and fullness God intends.
Living in overcoming faith.
Like most things, overcoming faith must be ‘learned’ to become a habit. We need to make it a habit rather than something we reach for when the proverbial hits the fan. Like any soldier, we need to make ourselves familiar with our weapons and that’s where practice comes in. We’ll never be a sharpshooter if we don’t do the drill beforehand. Exercising faith in the small things is the key to having overcoming faith when we need it. God’s Word is limitless. It contains promises that cover every possible need, little or large. When we cultivate the habit of living in the Spirit day by day, we’ll find ourselves using faith in every situation rather than relying on self. That way, when we’re pushed into the big battles, being Spirit-led and using overcoming faith will be a habit, not something we have to learn in the hot seat.
Father, thank You for Your measureless grace in providing overcoming faith born of You. Thank You for the limitless provision of the cross and the sure and certain knowledge that Jesus has already accomplished the victory. Help us to live each day led by Your precious Spirit so that we can also live by faith in the small things. Enable us to make overcoming faith a habit rather than the exception, so that we can be surrendered soldiers under Your absolute command.