by Shelley Johnson
For a long time now, Romans 8:37 has been one of my favorites. Here it is in the NIV: "...in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us."
Before this, in verse 31, is the question, "If God is for us, who can be against us?" And the chapter goes on to list many things and people that might attempt to separate us from God. Then comes the promise, my favorite verse, in verse 37. Chapter 8 ends with another list of all the things in this world and in the spiritual world that cannot come between us and God. Why? Because through Jesus we are more than conquerors. More than conquerors. Another version says, "...in all these things we overcome, for him that loved us." We are overcomers...MORE than conquerors. Not in our own strength or power, but through Christ. Through Him we can overcome whatever it is that life throws at us.
Recently as I read, prayed, and worked through a study, I was reminded of something I learned in a book I read a few years ago. The book is Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver. The lesson… “Satan still plans his attacks around what I [Joanna] call the ‘Three Deadly Ds of Destruction.’ And they are Distraction, Discouragement, Doubt.” The best ways the enemy can keep us from accomplishing God’s will, from claiming the strength and power God offers us, is to distract us, keep us discouraged or full of doubt. Think about that. What happens when you're distracted? Your focus is on that thing waving at you in the distance...not God. What happens when you're feeling discouraged? Your focus is on yourself, your feelings of resentment, bitterness, and hardship...not God. How about when you're full of doubt? Your focus has shifted from God to your situation, your circumstance, which seem too big, even for God.
Joanna goes on to say, “The [enemy's] underlying strategy is fairly simple: Get people’s eyes off God and on their circumstances.” I cannot tell you how empowering it is to realize that these Deadly Ds are the enemy’s tools to keep our focus on everything BUT God. Awareness = empowerment because when we are aware of the enemy’s strategies, we become better able to combat them. And oddly enough, we again discover that it’s by our CHOICE. We choose our thoughts, we choose our responses. It really is that simple. Of course we have years of “bad” habits to break, but claiming God’s strength is more than half the battle toward overcoming all that holds us down.
Do you find yourself caught in the snare of one of the Deadly Ds? It's time to claim Romans 8:37 over your life! YOU are more than a conqueror with Jesus in your corner. John 16:33 says it this way: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Jesus has overcome the world. And we are in Jesus. So that means WE ARE OVERCOMERS! Need a jolt of this very truth? Of hope and energy? Check out Mandisa's music video for her song "Overcomer."
Shelley Johnson describes herself as a “believer, wife, mother, daughter.” She lives in Edmond, Oklahoma with her husband and three boys and serves on New Covenant UMC’s staff as Director of Adult Discipleship. “I’m blessed to be used by God,” Shelley says, “as He helps me along my own faith journey.”