4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 1 John 5:4-5
If this sounds familiar, it is probably because of something you read in John’s Gospel, in Chapter 16, starting at verse 33: "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart, for I have overcome the world."
Remember how we talked about “abide” being a word over John’s life, something that he heard Jesus say, wrote down, and then stuck with him over time?
I’m going to venture to say that here, we have the same idea going on with overcoming the world.
So then, what does it mean to overcome the world?
Looking at the verses, John wrote that the victory for overcoming the world is our faith- meaning our faith is the prize, and that faith is something that happens to everyone that has been born of God.
Looking at the example of Jesus, I think that overcoming the world means that we have the power to live differently than the world around us, just like he did.
We have the power to be light in darkness, peace in chaos, and beauty in brokenness. We have the power to live in the world but not be of it, to see things though the eyes of God.
When Jesus is talking about overcoming the world in John’s gospel, right before it, he talks about how many times we will first experience suffering, and then we will experience joy- he uses childbirth for a woman as an example. I think that Jesus uses this example because he wants us to view “overcoming the world” as something that will come after difficult circumstances- in the same way that struggle leads to strength. The fullness of this idea probably won't be experienced here on earth.
Here’s what I mean: imagine that we could put a filter in front of our faces that would make us see everything though the belief that Jesus has already overcome the world. Everything we saw would be a little bit tinted by this belief, and I think that it would change the way we thought about and interacted with the world around us. Some things might seem like not as big of a deal, such as not getting a job you wanted, or not being able to afford to buy the tv that you want. Other things might seem even more important.
I pray that today we would start to see everything around us with these magic “Jesus has overcome the world” glasses, and that we would realize that because he has, we have, too. Would we let this belief tint everything around us, knowing that although we might suffer now, we will experience a joy that we cannot imagine later.