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Victor or Victim?

 

By Bart Nelson

 

 

 

 

 

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Partaking of the media these days, one is assaulted with multitudes that have a victim’s mentality. One’s life is everyone else’s fault. The world, or at least someone with deep pockets, owes the victim. I know, I know, one has to be careful, because there truly are victims who deserve to be recompensed. But taken to today’s extreme, all of us have been wronged somewhere! Who can take responsibility for that?

 

There’s a song by The Eagles entitled, ‘Get Over It’ that addresses this issue. I really like the lyric:  
 
I turn on the tube and what do I see 
A whole lotta people cryin' 'Don't blame me' 
They point their crooked little fingers at everybody else 
Spend all their time feelin' sorry for themselves 
Victim of this, victim of that 
Your momma's too thin; your daddy's too fat 
 
Get over it 
Get over it 
All this whinin' and cryin' and pitchin' a fit 
Get over it, get over it 
 
You say you haven't been the same since you had your little crash 
But you might feel better if I gave you some cash 
The more I think about it, Old Billy was right 
Let's kill all the lawyers, kill 'em tonight 
You don't want to work, you want to live like a king 
But the big, bad world doesn't owe you a thing 
 
Get over it 
Get over it 
If you don't want to play, then you might as well split 
Get over it, Get over it 
 
It's like going to confession every time I hear you speak 
You're makin' the most of your losin' streak 
Some call it sick, but I call it weak 
You drag it around like a ball and chain 
You wallow in the guilt; you wallow in the pain 
You wave it like a flag, you wear it like a crown 
Got your mind in the gutter, bringin' everybody down 
Complain about the present and blame it on the past 
I'd like to find your inner child and kick its little *** 
 
Get over it 
Get over it 
All this whinin' and cryin' and pitchin' a fit 
Get over it, get over it 
 
Get over it 
Get over it 
It's gotta stop sometime, so why don't you quit 

Get over it, get over it

 

I probably shouldn’t admit to liking those words or even knowing they exist, but I do. Thank God, He is more merciful towards us and doesn’t mind hearing us, as long as we move on and don’t get stuck. Rather than just telling us to get over it, He does it one better, He pays for and reveals to us the way out of being the victim and into becoming a victor. Did you know the Bible speaks to that? Yes, there was a victim’s mentality in the Word of God as well. But the word shows us a higher road, that of being a victor over our circumstances. If I haven’t offended you too much yet, let’s see what His word has to say…

 

Num. 13.30 Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.” 31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.” 32 And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. 33 There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.” The last verse was the crux of the problem. They were like grasshoppers in their own sight. They had lost the battle before it began. Caleb had the correct vision. He knew that with God, they were well able to overcome. Josh. 14:6-14 Then the sons of Judah came to Joshua in Gilgal. And Caleb, the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite, said to him, You know the thing that Jehovah said to Moses the man of God in Kadesh-barnea regarding you and me. I was forty years old when Moses the servant of Jehovah sent me from Kadesh-barnea to spy out the land. And I brought him word again as it was in my heart. But my brothers that went up with me made the heart of the people melt; yet I fully followed Jehovah my God. And Moses swore on that day, saying, Surely the land on which your feet have trodden shall be your inheritance, and your sons' forever because you have fully followed Jehovah my God. And now, behold, Jehovah has kept me alive these forty-five years as He said, even since Jehovah spoke this word to Moses, while Israel wandered in the wilderness. And now, lo, I am eighty-five years old today. As yet I am as strong today as I was in the day that Moses sent me. As my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out and to come in. And now give me this mountain of which Jehovah spoke on that day. For you heard in that day how the giants were there, and that the cities were great and fortified. If Jehovah will be with me, then I will be able to drive them out, as Jehovah said. And Joshua blessed him, and gave Hebron to Caleb the son of Jephunneh for an inheritance. And Hebron became the inheritance of Caleb, the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite, to this day, because he fully followed Jehovah, the God of Israel. God rewarded Caleb at 80 years old with a hill of giants because he fully followed God. This is the attitude of an overcomer, a victor. They fully trust God. Victims look at the circumstances and trust their negative outlook on them.

 

Num. 14.3 Why has the Lord brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should become victims? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?” 31 But your little ones, whom you said would be victims, I will bring in, and they shall know the land which you have despised. Dt. 1.39 ‘Moreover your little ones and your children, who you say will be victims, who today have no knowledge of good and evil, they shall go in there; to them I will give it, and they shall possess it. The Israelites lost their entry into the promised land in their minds. They disbelieved the promises of God and so lost possession of the land. The possession went to the very children they felt God was not going to protect. They could have had it themselves, but they were so full of doubt and fear, they lost. Some today would say they had a right to what they felt, especially after years of slavery in Egypt. God would disagree. We must guard against a victim mentality which doubts God’s promises and fears what the enemy says will come true. Instead, we must believe and stand on God’s promises, fear Him, and know the enemy has no truth in him.

 

1 Sam. 7.7 Now when the Philistines heard that the children of Israel had gathered together at Mizpah, the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel. And when the children of Israel heard of it, they were afraid of the Philistines. 8 So the children of Israel said to Samuel, “Do not cease to cry out to the Lord our God for us, that He may save us from the hand of the Philistines.” 9 And Samuel took a suckling lamb and offered it as a whole burnt offering to the Lord. Then Samuel cried out to the Lord for Israel, and the Lord answered him. 10 Now as Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel. But the Lord thundered with a loud thunder upon the Philistines that day, and so confused them that they were overcome before Israel. 11 And the men of Israel went out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines, and drove them back as far as below Beth Car. We need to be aware of the enemy’s schemes and how to fight him. I have done two studies on that ‘Heart and Soul of a Warrior’ and ‘Enemy at the Gate’, so I won’t go over it again here. Suffice it to say, we need to be armed and ready and not ignorant if we want to have the victory of the Lord operating in our lives.

 

2 Sam. 23.9 And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo, the Ahohite, one of the three mighty men with David when they defied the Philistines who were gathered there for battle, and the men of Israel had retreated. 10 He arose and attacked the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand stuck to the sword. The Lord brought about a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to plunder. 11 And after him was Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite. The Philistines had gathered together into a troop where there was a piece of ground full of lentils. So the people fled from the Philistines. 12 But he stationed himself in the middle of the field, defended it, and killed the Philistines. So the Lord brought about a great victory. Victory comes to those who continue to fight long after they are weary. God provides the victory, but He often waits until someone is persistent enough to win it!

 

2 Kin. 21.14 So I will forsake the remnant of My inheritance and deliver them into the hand of their enemies; and they shall become victims of plunder to all their enemies, 15 because they have done evil in My sight, and have provoked Me to anger since the day their fathers came out of Egypt, even to this day.’ ” The main key to living in victory is being on God’s side, not Him being on yours. This and the following verses illustrate that. 1 Chron. 29.11 Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power and the glory, the victory and the majesty; for all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and You are exalted as head over all. The victory is God’s, not ours. If we belong to God and are on His side, then we can share in His victory! Ps. 41.11 By this I know that You delight in me, because my enemy does not triumph over me. Ps. 44.4 You are my King, O God; command victories for Jacob. 5 Through You we will push down our enemies; through Your name we will trample those who rise up against us. Ps. 76.5-9 The stouthearted have been stripped; they slept their sleep; and none of the men of might have found their hands. By Your rebuke, O God of Jacob, both the horse and the chariot have sunk into a sleep. You, even You, are terrifying, and who can stand when once You are angry? You cause judgment to be heard from Heaven; the earth feared and was still, when God arose to judgment, to save all the meek of the earth. Lk. 11.17 But He, knowing their thoughts, said to them:  “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and a house divided against a house falls. 18 If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? Because you say I cast out demons by Beelzebub. 19 And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. 20 But if I cast out demons with the finger of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. 21 When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace. 22 But when a stronger than he comes upon him and overcomes him, he takes from him all his armor in which he trusted, and divides his spoils. 23 He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters. If everything seems to be going against us, we need to check whose side are we on. If we are on the Lord’s side, He will work it all out. If we are walking in sin, we end up fighting against Him and we will always lose!

 

Ps. 47.1 Clap your hands, all you peoples; shout to God with the voice of triumph. Ps. 60.8 Moab is My washpot; over Edom I will cast out My shoe; over Philistia I cry in triumph. Ps. 92.4 For You, Jehovah, have made Me glad with Your work; I will triumph in the works of Your hands. Ps. 106.47 Save us, O Jehovah our God, and gather us from among the nations, to give thanks to Your holy name and to triumph in Your praise.  Praise and prayer are keys to maintaining a victorious stance.

 

Ps. 98.1 Oh, sing to the Lord a new song! For He has done marvelous things; His right hand and His holy arm have gained Him the victory. God is intimately involved in our victory, He doesn’t take it lightly. Mt. 12.19 He will not quarrel nor cry out, nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets. 20 A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench, till He sends forth justice to victory; 21 And in His name Gentiles will trust.”

 

Lk. 11.24 “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ 25 And when he comes, he finds it swept and put in order. 26 Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first.” There is a key principle here. Once the enemy is vanquished, we need to fill up with the Holy Spirit and spiritual things. We don’t want him to come back with seven of his stronger buddies! Rom. 12.21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

 

Jn. 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.”  Often, our idea of an overcoming peace is tranquility, absence of strife. God’s idea is peace in the midst of the storm, overcoming even though everything is falling apart around us.

 

Rom. 8.28-39 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son, for Him to be the First-born among many brothers. But whom He predestinated, these He also called; and whom He called, those He also justified. And whom He justified, these He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Truly He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he condemning? It is Christ who has died, but rather also who is raised, who is also at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. What is more than a conqueror? One who conquers wins the battle, right? One who is more than a conqueror partakes in the spoils of the battle without having to fight! Col. 1.13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love. Col. 2.13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. Heb. 2.14 Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil. 1 Jn. 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. 5.4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world— our faith. 5 Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? The victory is overwhelmingly God’s. He won it on Calvary, and will finish it in the end. Our job is to live it day to day and never succumb to a victim’s mentality. Again, whose report will we believe? We must trust the first verse in this paragraph – He will work ALL things together for our good and His glory. That will ensure us the victor’s spot and not the victim’s.

 

1 Cor. 9.24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. 26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. 27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified. Phil. 3.7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Heb. 12.1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  2 Tim. 4.6-8 For I am already being poured out, and the time of my release is here. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith. Now there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that Day; and not to me only, but also to all those who love His appearing. Paul wrote a lot about winning and doing what was needed in order to do so. Temperance, forgetting the past and stretching towards the goal, laying aside unnecessary weights and focusing on Jesus and fighting the good fight were what he preached and what we need to do in order to not to be victims but victors!

 

1 Cor. 15.53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” 55 “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. Because God and we through Him will have the ultimate victory over death, we need to be busy about the Father’s business. 2 Cor. 2.14 Now thanks be to God, who always causes us to triumph in Christ, and He revealing through us the odor of the knowledge of Him in every place.

 

Let’s read some excerpts from 2 Cor. to see what Paul lived through…2 Cor. 1.3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we our-selves are comforted by God. 5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. 6 Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. 7 And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation. 8 For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. 9 Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead. 4.7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. 8 We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So then death is working in us, but life in you. 4.16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. 5.1 For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, 3 if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. 4 For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but fur-ther clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. 6.4 But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, 5 in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in la-bors, in sleeplessness, in fastings; 6 by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love, 7 by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, 8 by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; 9 as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things. 11.23 Are they ministers of Christ?—I speak as a fool—I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. 24 From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness— 28 besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation? 12.7 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be ex-alted above measure. 8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me,  “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. Whew, are you as wiped out as I am reading all that? If you saw ‘The Passion’ then you have an idea of how brutal the 39 lashes were that Paul went through five times. I think I would have died part way through one and many did. Surely Paul had the right to a victim’s mentality if anyone did. He was doing good and right, you know?

 

Having reviewed this about Paul, let’s see what he preached. Let’s see if we see a victim’s attitude. (We’ve already quoted some verses above, and there’s no evidence yet.) Eph. 5.18-20 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is excess, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I don’t see any victim here. Phil. 4.4-13 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say, Rejoice! Let your moderation be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which passes all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, my brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are right, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue and if there is any praise, think on these things. Do those things which you have also learned and received and heard and seen in me. And the God of peace shall be with you. But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me has flourished again. Although you indeed did think, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak according to need, for I have learned to be content in whatever state I am. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound. In everything and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Nope, no whining in this letter.     1 Thes. 5.11-24 Therefore comfort one another, and edify one another, even as you also do. And, brothers, we beseech you to know those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord, and who admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. Be at peace among yourselves. Now we exhort you, brothers, warn those who are unruly, comfort the faint-hearted, support the weak, be patient toward all. See that none gives evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue the good, both towards one another and towards all. Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophesying. Prove all things, hold fast to the good. Abstain from every appearance of evil. And may the God of peace Himself sanctify you, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blamelessly at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who called you, who also will do it. Nothing here…In fact, what we see in all Paul’s letters are attitudes that will help us be victors rather than victims. Being thankful for everything that comes our way, praising and rejoicing in our God, not murmuring or complaining but being content, praying about everything, thinking only about the positive, etc. these things will make us victors in every circumstance we find ourselves.

 

Eph. 6.10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. God has done all, once we’ve done all, all that’s left for us to do is stand. We must remember that we don’t wrestle against God, people or even ourselves, we wrestle against our enemy.

 

2 Pet. 2.19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage. If there is anything in our lives that overcomes us and we are not master over it with Holy Spirit’s help, we are in bondage to that thing. We need to seek deliverance from it!

 

John outlines for us what Jesus says about the overcoming life in the end times. Read the following 2 chapters for that outline. The italicized areas are things we are to avoid, while bolded areas are actions we are to embrace.

 

v     Rev. 2:1 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things says he that holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; 2 I know your works, and your labor, and your patience, and how you can not bear them which are evil: and you have tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and have found them liars: 3 And have borne, and have patience, and for my name's sake have labored, and have not fainted. 4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against you, because you have left your first love. 5 Remember therefore from whence you are fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto you quickly, and will remove your candlestick out of his place, except you repent. 6 But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches; To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. God does see the good we're doing, but also notices the lack. Holy Spirit will show us when we are messing up! This church left its first love, implying it wasn't an accident, but a choice. Ouch! We need to look and see if we have fallen behind in our zeal for the Lord and repent if we have. In each of these seven letters, we are told that if we have spiritual ears, to hear and overcome. Are we listening? Are we overcoming?

v     Rev. 2:8 And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things says the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive 9 I know your works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but you are rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. 10 Fear none of those things which you shall suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that you may be tried; and you shall have tribulation ten days: be faithful unto death, and I will give you a crown of life. 11 He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches; He that overcomes shall not be hurt of the second death. Suffering is our lot as Christians. We're not to fear it, because what can really hurt us can't touch us!

v     Rev. 2:12 And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things says he which has the sharp sword with two edges 13 I know your works, and where you dwell, even where Satan's seat is: and you hold fast my name, and have not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwells 14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumbling-block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. 15 So have you also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. 16 Repent; or else I will come unto you quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. 17 He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches; To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knows saving he that receives it. God wants us faithful and not to tolerate teaching that has a mixture. The Nicolaitans mean Nico=above laita=laity. They taught a hierarchy in the church, much like some churches do today. We are all priests to our God, one is not above the other.

v     Rev. 2:18 And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things says the Son of God, who has his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass; 19 I know your works, and charity, and service, and faith, and your patience, and your works; and the last to be more than the first. 20 Notwithstanding I have a few things against you, because you suffer that woman Jezebel, which calls herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols 21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. 22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. 23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searches the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. 24 But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you no other burden. 25 But that which you have already hold fast till I come. 26 And he that overcomes, and keeps my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: 27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father 28 And I will give him the morning star. 29 He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches. A Jezebel spirit, according to this scripture, comes in as a false prophet proclaiming fornication and idol attachment. The forms of these things can be quite varied, for example in addition to sexual fornication, there is spiritual fornication, where we love anything else more than the Lord. That could be tradition, buildings, style, etc. Idolatry is equated with greed in the word. So the application and the warning about Jezebel is vast. Also, Jezebel was a domineering woman in the word, over the Lord, the prophets and her husband. It has been said that the only way for a Jezebel to exist is for an Ahab -- a weak leader, to exist as well.

v     Rev. 3:1 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things says he that has the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know your works, that you have a name that you live, and are dead. 2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found your works perfect before God. 3 Remember therefore how you have received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore you do not watch, I will come on you as a thief, and you shall not know what hour I will come upon you. 4 You have a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. 5 He that overcomes, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels 6 He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches. Many times we are told to 'hold fast' what we have. That denotes action, we dare not assume we will keep what we have gained. We must be on guard to maintain what God has given. The best way to do that is to be using it and moving forward, higher, deeper, and onward in all areas and in all ways of our walk with Him. We are also told many times to watch and I think that ties directly into holding fast. We need to be aware of when our enemy attacks us. If we are not, it is much easier to go astray. Remember, he doesn't always use a direct attack. He is sneaky and tenacious. Therefore we must be extremely aware and even more tenacious than he in order to win the battle. The war is already won, but the particular battle we're in is up to us.  

v     3:7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things says he that is holy, he that is true, he that has the key of David, he that opens, and no man shuts; and shuts, and no man opens 8 I know your works: behold, I have set before you an open door, and no man can shut it: for you have a little strength, and have kept my word, and have not denied my name. 9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you 10 Because you have kept the word of my patience, I also will keep you from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth 11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which you have, that no man take your crown. 12 Him that overcomes will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name 13 He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches. This is the only church without a rebuke! At least not a strong, direct one. They were told they had a little strength. They kept His word and did not deny His name. The only instruction was to hold fast what they had. Lord, let that be us!

v     Rev. 3:14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things says the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; 15 I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot: I would you were cold or hot. 16 So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth. 17 Because you say, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and know not that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: 18 I counsel you to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that you may be rich; and white raiment, that you may be clothed, and that the shame of your nakedness do not appear; and anoint your eyes with eye-salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. 21 To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. 22 He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches. (This next part is borrowed from Bill Gothard.) Think about your life with God right now. How would you rate yourself your love and your works for Him, from 1-9.

Freezing, ice cold -- 1

Cold -- 2

Chilly -- 3

Cool -- 4

Neutral -- 5

Warm -- 6

Heating up -- 7

Red Hot -- 8

White Hot -- 9

God wants us to be a 1 or a 9. I’m neither one, how about you? What can we do to get there? This is not an option, unless we want to be rejected into God’s ‘barf bag’!!! Part of the clue to this whole process is realizing how desperate we truly are for God’s presence and His work in our lives. I have come to realize that if I don’t get close communion with God each day, many times a day, I will soon be in bad shape. I am a mess. Without God, I would be on the streets, in jail or dead. Honestly. I know this to be true.

 

Jesus was standing outside the door of a church when He was knocking on it's door. Is He ever outside our church wanting to be invited to come in and have His way? I have been in meetings like that. What a shame!

 

The last verse that mentions victorious overcoming is Rev. 1211 And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb, and because of the word of their testimony. And they did not love their soul until death. This sums everything up perfectly. The overcoming victorious Christian life is a joint effort. It would be impossible without Christ's sacrifice. But we need to add our agreement to that, our testimony of what He has done for us. And, it doesn't come without sacrifice. This walk isn't easy and may require the ultimate sacrifice -- death. Nevertheless, we are victors and not victims in Jesus!

 

I don’t know about you, but for me, a victim’s mentality has never been attractive. After this study, I am sure it’s not attractive to the Lord either. God expects us to be a victor, to overcome. After all, He paid for it! Let’s honor Him by avoiding that victim’s mentality and repenting of it if we’ve fallen into it. Let’s also embrace our victorious Lord and stand in the victory He’s won for us!