Wednesday, November 7, 2012

How to be an Overcomer

The beauty of a Florida sunset
     For over 21 years, I had the privilege of teaching our children at home.  There were good days and some very challenging days as we studied together.  On those easier days, everyone had a positive attitude and was willing to work hard applying themselves to their studies without grumbling.  However, on the challenging days, I can only liken every one's outlook to trying to get a mule to drink water when it doesn't want to.
     At present, I am working in my husband's optometry practice and the same thing holds true in an office situation as well.  When attitudes go sour, the atmosphere of either home or office can head south quickly and tension rises.  Soon everyone is an unhappy camper and very little is accomplished that day.  It is almost like watching a display of dominoes fall down in a chain reaction.  What can we do to prevent this and be an overcomer even in the middle of a less than perfect day?
     In reading the story of Cain and Abel, I came across several verses that really opened my eyes concerning how sin creeps into our lives.  Read Genesis 4:1-7.  Let us key in on verses 3-7:
     "And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of
      the ground to the Lord.  Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat.
      And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering.
      And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.  So the Lord said to Cain, 'Why are you
      angry?  And why has your countenance fallen?  If you do well, will you not be accepted?
     And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door.  And its desire is for you, but you should rule
     over it.'" (NKJV)
     In these verses, we see a picture of two young men bringing their offerings of tribute before the Lord.  Cain was a farmer so he brought grain or fruit.  Abel was a shepherd so he brought a firstborn
lamb.  God accepted the offering of Abel but not the offering that Cain brought to Him.  We often
wonder why the Lord did not accept Cain's offering.  However, sometimes we forget that the Lord can see the heart (I Samuel 16:7) and we often cannot.
     Abel brought the best he had to offer.  It was the firstborn and it was a blood sacrifice.  However, some theologians believe that Cain did not bring his best fruit or his first fruit as well as a good attitude. To substantiate this, all we have to do is look at Cain's reaction when the Lord did not accept his offering.  He became angry when when his worship was rejected.  He stood at a crossroad as we do when confronted with sinful pride.
     God pointed out to Cain that sin was lying in wait outside his door much like the description given Satan as a "roaring lion seeking whom he may devour" in I Peter 5:8.  Cain could open that door and allow sin to rule his heart or he could repent and return to the Lord.  This simple choice had profound implications.  Of course, we know what Cain decided in his heart, and the result of his anger shattered the family peace with the murder of his brother.
     Each time that we put our armor down and allow ourselves to indulge in sin, we open ourselves to the enemy who is looking for a place to gain a foothold.  Then, we wonder how it happened that Satan slipped in never realizing our responsibility to bring all our "thoughts into captivity to the obedience of Christ..." (2 Cor. 10:5).  God gives us the victory over sin when we yield in our hearts to His Lordship and fill our minds with His Word.
     Quite often though, it is much easier to just vent our anger on one another, and when we do, the atmosphere of our homes or work place suffer not to mention our relationships!  Attitude really does reflect the condition of our hearts.
     Our Lord has given us all we need for "life and godliness" (2 Peter 1:3).  However, we must daily put on our armor and follow Him.  Keeping a "short account" with God and being willing to confess our sins quickly will keep the "crouching sin" which lies outside our heart's door from gaining entrance.  This is the key to being an overcomer!  Selah!

How has God helped you to be an overcomer?  I welcome your thoughts and insights.


Diana Lovegrove said...

Thanks for this, Barbara. As I continue in my walk with God, I've also found that keeping short accounts with God is something that has proven the best way to being an overcomer. Believe me, I've had to learn this over many painful years! God bless you!

Christina said...

Wonderful, godly instruction -- as usual! Thank you Barbara!

Barbara Thayer said...

Thanks for your sweet words Diana and Christina! I am happy that you were encouraged and that you shared. May we all learn to keep those short accounts and watch our attitudes.

I hope you are doing well Christina! Been praying much for your area. So many hurting at present up your way. Blessings and much love to you!