“You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.” 2 Timothy 2:3-4
There is no middle ground in a battle. If you stand in the middle between two opposing forces without your battle gear up and without picking a side then you are bound to end up either dead, entrenched, or completely exhausted. Additionally, being in a battle requires you to know each of your weapons of war and how to wield them best along with the courage to use them to stand up for the side you have chosen.
For these reasons I have listed above and because I know from God’s word that we are in a battle against the enemy, I felt led to do a word study today on the word “nikaō” which from Greek is either translated “overcome” or “victory”. I hope this study will help you understand, as it did me, the weapons of war the Lord provides for us to use in the battle we are called to fight and from understanding them better you will not only know how to wield them more effectively but have the confidence to use them with courage knowing the promises of victory God assures with their use. So let’s get started.
In the following verses I have underlined the word that is translated from “nikaō” and then below I have added in a summary of the weapon(s) that particular verse is speaking about:
John 16:33: “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.”
In speaking in this verse, Jesus is stating that He has already claimed victory over this world. The weapon in this verse is Jesus Himself – the victor and our assured coming King. On His side you are guaranteed to win and that truth holds a lot of weight when you are waging war and the battle at times is looking rather bleak. Looking toward the finish line makes the difficult steps in getting there just that much easier.
Romans 12:21: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
The word “good” here translates to meaning “things of benefit” and the word evil translates to meaning “things that bring about destruction.” When God calls us to His good works (mind you that does not always equate to what we think is good from our perspective) then in doing those good works we build up a fortification for the Lord’s side in the battle. Any other action that is done outside of the will of God brings the opposite, destruction of those fortifications. To work on the winning side we must be willing to do those good works God calls us to so that we are part of building the defense and the army for the Lord’s side.
1 John 2:14b: “Because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the wicked one.”
Staying within the will of the Lord and abiding in His word – that is meditating on His ways and making them your ways and your thoughts while maintaining a close and intimate relationship with Jesus – are the weapons of war this verse is speaking about. In turning your thoughts to the Lord you do not allow the enemy to ambush you with any mind games he may disseminate with the intentions of defeat you, distract you, or confuse you. Keeping your mind on the Lord, staying close to Him, and allowing Him and His ways to be plumbline for all you do and say is sure to keep you alert and ready for and mind games that may enter the battle.
1 John 4:4: “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
God working in you through the Holy Spirit is greater than the power of anything the world has to offer. The Holy Spirit has the ability to give you tactical knowledge to fight and win the battle that no earthly source could provide. The indwelling of the Spirit of God in your spirit ultimately is the link you need to God who already has the winning battle plan. Your part in the battle is just to be ready to receive your instructions, to not question them, and then be willing to carry them out as you have been asked as a good solider of the Lord.
1 John 5:4-5: ”For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”
Being “born of God”, having “faith”, and truly “[believing] that Jesus is the Son of God” are the three final weapons that are promised by God to bring victory in the battle. All three of these have to do with a relationship with Jesus. Being willing to die to yourself and your sinful inheritance and be reborn and completely associated with Jesus in His life and His death is in essence what being “born of God” is all about. Walking with Him in faith and not having to know where the battle will take you, but walking with Him anyways is really what “faith” is when you sum it up. And finally, staking your entire life and all of what you have in Jesus Christ and the promises He makes is the whole of “believing”.
Every day IS a battle and just like I stated above, every day we each must choose to either fight, to side with the enemy, or to allow ourselves to sink into a trench and be held captive to the battle that is waging around us. This world does not give us the ability to opt out of the battle, but one day we do look forward to the final victory and the eternal victory party that WILL be ours in Christ Jesus.
I pray that the wisdom the Lord has given me to share with you today will give you the courage to fight the good fight for our great commander Jesus Christ and I look forward to hearing about your war battles if you feel led to share them here or rather one day when I will get to hear them on the other side of the battle – at the great victory party in the New Jerusalem.