Good morning all.
In my post last Wednesday, Introverts Part II, I got a bit of feedback on the part in which I said introverts can’t change. And while I meant that introverts “can’t” (I say that in a quotation, because maybe some have) become extroverts and super outgoing people. I did not mean we cannot change at all. Or overcome some of our “quirks”. We can change, because we have the power to change, we have the power to overcome.
Today’s devotion comes from 1 John 5:4.
For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
The word ‘overcomer’ comes from the Greek word meaning ‘to conquer’ or ‘to have victory.’ The word reflects a genuine superiority that leads to overwhelming success.
In life, we all have things we struggle with; whether it is being an introvert, worry, anxiety, or maybe a health problem. No matter what it is, it does not have to define who we are, it does not have to “label” us.
There is a “natural” reaction to being an introvert, and that tends to be fear and panic in an unknown or new situation. I’ve been an introvert all my life, but as I got older, I overcame certain fears. While I love staying on the sidelines and I still dislike talking on the phone to someone I don’t know, I’m not going to panic if I have to get into the action of the crowd or talk on the phone. For a person who is prone to anxiety, worry might be the first reaction to a problem. Though I have to admit, this tends to be me.
But it does not have to be like that, we have the power to change. While we can’t change who God created us to be, we don’t have to fall back on excuses or old habits that we know are wrong. Such as “I’ve tried to change, but it never works”. It’s easy to say we can’t change, but through Christ, all things are possible.
Philippians 4:13 says
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
We can conquer our struggles through the strength God has given us.
We may think where we are in our lives might be permanent, or a personality we have will always be a part of us, we can overcome it, God will give us the strength and the grace to get through it.
Many Bible characters had obstacles and challenges they had to deal with, and God either gave them the strength to overcome it or the grace to live with it.
Moses had a speech problem, he stuttered, and Moses used that excuse when God gave him a command. God wanted to Moses to return to Egypt and speak to Pharaoh who was holding the children of Israel in slavery. Moses did not want to return to his homeland and argued with God. First off, anyone who argues with God is wasting their time, there is not a person in history or today that has changed God’s mind. And here was Moses arguing and using every excuse he could think of, including his speech impediment.
Exodus 4:10 says
Then Moses said to the Lord, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”
and God replied in verses 11 and 12
11 So the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord? 12 Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.”
God gave Moses the ability to overcome his fear and impediment. And because of that, God used Moses to defeat Pharaoh and free the children of Israel.
We can fall back on lame excuses, but if God wants us to overcome something, He will help us overcome it, or God will give us the grace to live with our challenges.
Paul had faced many challenges and struggles being a missionary and a servant of Christ, including being thrown in prison multiple times for preaching the gospel.
But Paul had a thorn in his side, as it says in 2 Corinthians 12:7-8
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 exalted above measure.
We don’t know what the thorn was, some say it was his eyesight, but it was something that Paul struggled with, and Paul wanted to get rid of the thorn. But God didn’t deem it necessary to remove that thorn.
8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.
Instead of removing the thorn God gave Paul the grace to endure it. Because it was through that thorn, that Christ shined through Paul.
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.
John MacArthur’s note on this passage says “the weaker the human instrument, the more clearly God’s grace shines forth.”
2 Corinthians 12:10 goes on to say.
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.
We may think our struggles, challenges or weaknesses define who we are.
They. Do. Not.
We can change. We can overcome it. We are not defined by our weaknesses; we are so much more than that.
We are Children of God.
And because we are all that, we can change, we do not need to be under the burden of fear, worry, or anxiety.
We have a God on our side that can give us the ability to conquer anything.
One of my favorite praise and worship songs is actually called ‘Overcomer’ and some of the lyrics I think are the best way to end this post.
Everybody’s been down
Hit the bottom, hit the ground
Ooh, You’re not alone
Just take a breath, don’t forget
Hang on to His promises
He wants you to know
You’re an overcomer
Stay in the fight ’til the final round
You’re not going under
‘Cause God is holding you right now
You might be down for a moment
Feeling like it’s hopeless
That’s when He reminds you
That you’re an overcomer
You’re an overcomer