Another night and another “you are”. With so many people eager to define us or sell us a false identity it’s good to hear what we really are from the one who really knows us. At the risk of sounding like a positive thinking guru or an over the top motivational life coach I told my children “you are a winner”. I was trying to think of a simple way of explaining what an overcomer was, as in:
- 1 Jn 4:3-4 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God….Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. (ESV)
- 1 Jn 5:4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith. (ESV)
- 1 Jn 5:5 Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (ESV)
- 1 John 2:13, 14
When “you are a winner” came into my head I wasn’t sure at first but Rom 8:37 says “we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (ESV). Conquerors means “win a most glorious victory”. Think of Julius Creaser, Winston Churchill, Alexander the great, Napoleon Bonaparte and their glorious victories. Now think of even greater victories won by even greater winners. My history has already been exhausted but in any case the greatest victory was by Jesus on the cross where “having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” (NIV). This is the victory that we get to share in. We are winners in Christ and through him can overcome anything.
The context of Rom 8:37 is “what can separate us from God’s love?” Rom 8:35. We gain glorious victory over all the challenges and suffering that life throws at us by refusing to let go of the truth that God loves us in Christ. I can conquer the worst situations through faith in Jesus’ victory on the cross. God loves me so much he sent his son to die for me, to bear my sin and shame and give me his life. What’s more the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead is in me empowering me to live in his victory and be a winner like he was. Not a winner that emerges from the battle without a scratch but a winner who wins through apparent defeat and death. That is the way love wins.
I am a winner but I have a sneaky suspicion in light of all this that my greatest victories will look to some like shameful defeats. I think it’s right to say to a Christian “you are a winner” but maybe it’s helpful to add “just like Jesus was a winner”.