Overcoming faith – Femi Aribisala
By Femi Aribisala
Where do you live? Do you live in this world or do you live in Christ? If you are a Christian, then Christ must now be your life. (Colossians 3:4). Moses says to God: “You have been our dwelling place in all generations.” (Psalm 90:1). Paul amplifies this: “In (God). we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28).
Permit me to put this more graphically. Some Nigerians live in Nigeria, while some live in Christ. Those who live in Nigeria are affected by the situations and circumstances in Nigeria. They suffer under the adverse economic condition. In the last few years, their standard of living has been significantly degraded. Like Martha, they are worried and troubled by many things. (John 11:41).
Overcoming the world
But those who live in Christ live in a kingdom that cannot be shaken. (Hebrews 12:28). Therefore, we live in peace: “For (Christ) himself is our peace.” (Ephesians 2:14). We sleep even in storms. We do not eat the bread of sorrows because God gives his beloved sleep. (Psalm 127:2). So, Jesus says to us: “These things I have spoken to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).
If your saviour cannot overcome the world, then he cannot be your saviour. It means he cannot save you from the troubles and problems of life. But if he comes into the world and overcomes the world, then you know he can easily save you from the world.
That is what Jesus did. He came into the world and overcame all the challenges of the world. He overcame life, he overcame death. He overcame sickness, he overcame sin. He overcame the devil, he overcame men. Through every kind of provocation, he never lost his peace. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are — yet was without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15).
Therefore, we can be confident that Jesus can protect us from the world; all the more so because he now lives in us and never leaves us nor forsakes us. The abiding presence of the Holy Spirit fulfils this promise: “In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:2-3).
For this reason, Jesus gives an open invitation to everyone who lives in this world of trouble: “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30).
This open invitation must be heeded with alacrity. This world is evil and we must not conform to it. “All these worldly things, these evil desires- the craze for sex, the ambition to buy everything that appeals to you, and the pride that comes from wealth and importance- these are not from God. They are from this evil world itself.” (1 John 2:16). God is not going to transform the world, but he requires that we: “be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that (we) may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2).
Only God can bring about the requisite transformation, therefore Nicodemus, you must be born again, this time of God. Only then can you see what God is doing as opposed to what men are doing. Only then can you see that, in spite of all the terrible things going on everywhere in the world, God is relentless: “working salvation in the midst of the earth.” (Psalm 74:12). Only then can you see that: “It is God who works in you both to will and to do for his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13).
Therefore, those who believe in Jesus are never troubled. Jesus says: “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in me.” (John 14:1). Confronted with inconvenient situations and circumstances, those who believe in Jesus simply pray and remain in the peace he gives. “They are anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, they let their requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guards their hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7).
For years, the American government was looking for Osama Bin Laden but could not find him. The reason was that he was hiding in the mountains of Afghanistan. They only got him finally because Bin Laden became lazy. He decided to trade the mountains for the comforts of Abbottabad, a city in Pakistan. Had he stayed holed up in the mountains he would have remained impregnable.
In short, the United States, most powerful military power in the world, could not move the mountains of Afghanistan in order to expose the hiding place of Bin Laden. But now let us compare the so-called powerful United States to a believer in Jesus Christ. Jesus says: “Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.” (Mark 11:22-23).
In effect, what is impossible to “powerful” United States is possible to a believer. The believer can move mountains: the United States cannot. A prayer of faith could easily have moved the mountains to expose the hiding place of Bin Laden to the Christian. When you believe in the God of the impossible, nothing will be impossible for you. Jesus says: “If you have faith as a mustard seed, … nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:17).
This indicates the most powerful weapon in the world is not the hydrogen bomb but faith in God. The most powerful people are not presidents but Christians. Presidents cannot do the impossible: Christians can. The president of the United States cannot overcome the world, but the child of God is an overcomer. John says: “Every child of God overcome this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.” (1 John 5:4-5).
Paul puts it even more elaborately. He says we are “more than conquerors” through Jesus’ love of God: “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 8:38-39).