Christianity 201

February 8, 2012

Ten Ways to Love


I wanted the above list to be the feature of today’s post here, but also wanted to share with you a short devotional that appeared post-Super Bowl at Daily Encouragement.  This both a reminder of God’s sovereignty and a reminder that even technology offers us ways to find a new analogy to explain aspects of the Christian life…


“The Victorious Outcome”

Note: Today’s illustration may not connect with non-football fans or international readers but has an important spiritual application.

“Though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:8,9). “In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).

In America our national sports interest turns to football throughout the fall and winter culminating in the “Super Bowl” that many of us viewed this weekend. Most had a favorite team they were hoping to see win the game. If you’re that kind of fan did “your team” win?

Having lived for nearly eight years in New England I’m sure I have many very disappointed friends up that way! But I also expect to see several New York friends this week like Dominic, who attended the game and is very pleased at the outcome. Some are excited, others disappointed. That’s the nature of competitive sports: the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat.

Let me share a story today: Imagine that your team is in the Super Bowl but you have to work and can’t watch the game, so you record it intending to watch it later. But as you leave work someone spills the beans and informs you that your team won the game. You are thrilled to hear this but you still decide to watch the game even though you know the outcome. However you quickly find yourself stressing out as you watch the game play-by-play. You must mentally pause to remind yourself, “This is only a recording, my team wins!”

Spiritual application: Life is like that. As God’s redeemed children, on the basis of Scripture we know that we are on the winning side. May God give us grace not to stress out in the “play-by-play” of life, worrying about finances, health, world conditions, safety, loneliness, work, home, death, things people do to us, and all the other things that can cause worry. In placing our trust in Christ we are “obtaining as the outcome of our faith the salvation of our souls.”

Ultimately this victory is assured on the basis of Christ’s finished work. We don’t have to wait to celebrate the victory; He wants us to enjoy victory right here and now. Peter, who had seen Jesus, wrote to second generation followers who had not seen Him but had a faith relationship like us: “Though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.” Remember, Jesus came so that we “might have life, and that we might have it more abundantly”! (John 10:10)

Paul, who also came faith in Christ following the resurrection wrote: “In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”  It’s a great truth for every one of us. This absolutely reliable source informs us, “We win!” Paul is writing to the Roman believers and here in chapter eight he comes to a crescendo in his thought.  The context of “all these things” includes just about all that can go wrong in life, most of which we have never experienced (Romans 8:35).

Every word is rich with meaning but let’s consider just the phrase “more than conquerors.” This actually translates a single Greek word “hupernikomen.” This word is linguistically known as a “hapax legomenon”, a term used for words that occur only once in a body of literature (in this case the New Testament). In fact it’s so rare that it’s possible that Paul devised it to express his thought.  Brooksyne tells me that I make up words as I preach so I can understand such a theory.

It is actually a combination of two more familiar words; “huper” from whence we get “hyper” and nikao from whence “Nike” gets its name. “Nikao” is often translated “overcome” and is found most frequently in Revelation. I like to compare translations and I suppose for this verse I’m most blessed by the rendering in the NASB which states “we overwhelmingly conquer.”  Now let that bless your soul today, fellow overcomer!

That is what we are, through Him who loves us, and today I urge you to drink deeply from the spiritual reservoir we have in Christ. Even in the midst of your present trial declare, “I am more than victorious through Him who loves me!”

Hide this truth deep in your heart.  Many struggle, but God’s eternal Word declares that what really matters has already been taken care of.  “We are (present tense) more than conquerors.” Is Jesus Christ your Saviour and Lord today?  Ultimately this is the only thing that matters in winning the one thing in life that really does matter.

  Father, we recognize that we are overcomers because we are children of God.  The battles we conquer and the ultimate victory we attain in our lifetime is wholly because of the power of Christ at work in us. We are more than conquerors through Jesus who loves us and gave His life for our sins.  Thank you for the inexhaustible supply of Your grace, power, and provision for our salvation and our steadfast walk with You in the ensuing battles of daily life.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

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