LISTEN: Mandisa, "Overcomer"
There is always a lot of hype at the annual Grammy awards. Behind the scenes, however awards were given for categories that are considered "too boring" for the general viewing audience. One of these awards a few years ago, which I remember fondly, was the best contemporary Christian Music Song, "Overcomer," as performed by Mandisa.
We love overcomer stories. People who make it rags to riches. A person with a handicap succeeding at an athletic event. Someone struck ill but who makes a comeback. An addict or alcoholic who with the grace of God becomes clean and sober. The person that doesn't give up despite the odds. The person who has faith in themselves, in another person, in a special project. The one who won't take no for an answer. The individual who loses and keeps off the weight.
These stories inspire us. Just as inspiring are the other victories we achieve that may not sound as spectacular to some. How about overcoming stinginess? Overcoming gossip? Overcoming envy, jealousy, resentments? Overcoming impatience or a bad temper? These traits sit in the shadows of our heart. They are resistant. If we think sticking to a diet is hard, try sticking to a diet of generosity -- where we give more from our pockets, compliment others more regularly, and pitch in with a good attitude when we are asked -- or do so automatically when we see the need?
It is helpful to remember that the apostle Paul and the gospel writer John often use the word "world" in a specific sense: those forces which are hostile, rebellious, opposed to God's will. Through faith in Jesus, we receive the grace to address the internal and external powers that would destroy the vision and the abundance of life God imparts to each of us. So an overcomer/victor is not just some one who gets the gold medal or is a success story that makes it to the news. Each one of us is called to be an overcomer -- of whatever challenge we face that keeps us from loving fully, as Jesus would have us.
What do you have to overcome? Seriously? A bad temper? An ungenerous spirit? Being judgmental or critical of others? Do you ignore the plight of those in need? Do you fight with others? These are the habits of the "world" Paul warns us about. Paul tells us in Romans:
"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect." (Romans 12:2)
So let our minds be renewed and reshaped by the mind of Christ, which is the mind of sacrificial love and compassion; selflessness, reconciliation and forgiveness; mercy and justice.
The mind of Christ is our goal. What do we have to overcome to achieve it?
Let us be overcomers!
Pray: "God, show me what I need to overcome -- renew my mind and heart with the Love and grace of Jesus."