The message, “STEPS OF AN OVERCOMER,” was originally preached at the Pentecostals of South Haven on 2.7.16. Below is an edited blog transcript of that message.
Psalm 61:1 Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. 2 From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. 3 For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. 4 I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah. 5 For thou, O God, hast heard my vows: thou hast given me the heritage of those that fear thy name. 6 Thou wilt prolong the king’s life: and his years as many generations. 7 He shall abide before God for ever: O prepare mercy and truth, which may preserve him. 8 So will I sing praise unto thy name for ever, that I may daily perform my vows.
3 STEPS OF AN OVERCOMER
1) ASK FOR HELP
In our text, David is saying, Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer (Psalm 61:1). He is crying out to God. When you feel overwhelmed and don’t know what to do. You must cry out to God. Let me clarify that statement. We used to use a phrase, “When you’ve tried everything, and everything has failed, try Jesus.” Let me change that misconception and say try Jesus FIRST. Ask for Help FIRST. Cry out to God RIGHT NOW.
In Psalms 103:1 David says, “Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. 2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.” David starts the stanza by blessing The Lord with “ALL that is within me” this is referencing his FLESH. Then he concludes the stanza by saying, “forget not all his benefits.” He begins by blessing God for all that is within him (FLESH), then blesses God for His benefits (SPIRIT). We must bless The Lord for everything, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
2) SURRENDER YOUR WILL
Psalms 61:2 From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
I have a nearly six year old daughter who is amazing. She is smart and brave and has an answer for every situation (right now anyway). Her favorite phrase is, “I CAN DO IT MY SELF.” We have that same problem following Christ. Even when we bring ourself to ask for His help, we still want to do it our way. We must ask for help then rely on Him to bring us the help that we need. Often times we ask for help but we ask from the wrong source. When we are truly overwhelmed, self-help books won’t help us. Motivational speaking can’t move us. Peer relationships can’t encourage us. We must have help from a source that is higher that we are.
If someone is stuck in a ditch, lateral movement will not help us. You can not be on the same plane to pull someone up. You must be at an ELEVATED position in order to have LEVERAGE to reach now and pull someone OUT of the mud and mire. When we are overwhelmed we much reach for the rock that is HIGHER than we are. One of my favorite songs, “In Christ Alone,” was sung by Michael English:
In Christ alone will I glory
Though I could pride myself in battles won
For I’ve been blessed beyond measure
And by His strength alone I overcome
Oh, I could stop and count successes
Like diamonds in my hand
But those trophies could not equal
To the grace by which I stand
In Christ alone I place my trust
And find my glory in the power of the cross
In every victory let it be said of me
My source of strength, my source of hope
Is Christ alone
Psalms 61:3 For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.
One habit that many Christians fall into is we ask Christ for help, we even surrender to His will, He pulls us out of our situation, but then we slip right back into our former patterns. Suddenly, we are right back where we started. In this scripture we must understand that Christ is a shelter and strong tower for us. Once we overcome, we must then hide ourselves in Christ’s pavilions so that we can avoid the same old situations. The enemy will come after us, that is why we must have protection. Micah 7:8 has always been encouraging to me in a weird sort of way. In this verse we are given three promises: Rejoice not against me, (1) O mine enemy: (2) when I fall, (3) I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD shall be a light unto me.
- Promise #1: You will have enemies
- Promise #2: You will fall
- Promise #3: You will arise
This is not a message of avoiding discouragement, family issues, or facts of life. This is about understanding that we will have enemies, we will fail, but through the grace of the Lord, we WILL arise and continue as an overcomer. Once we do overcome our enemies we can then, “abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah (Psalms 61:4).”
3) KEEP PERFORMING YOUR VOWS DAY BY DAY
Psalms 61:5 For thou, O God, hast heard my vows: thou hast given me the heritage of those that fear thy name. 6 Thou wilt prolong the king’s life: and his years as many generations. 7 He shall abide before God for ever: O prepare mercy and truth, which may preserve him. 8 So will I sing praise unto thy name for ever, that I may daily perform my vows.
Do you operate on empty or from a full tank? Have you ever been in a “drought” season of your life or ministry? How do you prepare yourself in the lean times? A few years ago I went through a stretch where nothing was happening in my ministry. I was not on a church staff, had a very thin speaking schedule and few church responsibilities. During this season I was convicted by a John Maxwell article entitled, “The Rule of Five.” In this article he challenged readers to do five things every day that will help you grow. Even though I didn’t have places to preach or lead, I started a detailed learning program preparing myself to lead. After nearly a year, my schedule became overwhelming and I was able to glean from my time of preparation. The truth is that you are usually not able to get ready when you need to be ready. The preparation comes BEFORE the promotion. My daily growth plan is as follows: 1) Prayer, 2) Bible Reading, 3) Supplemental Reading, 4) Writing 500 words per day, 5) Walk 5 miles a day. I encourage you to create your own daily plan to help you grow during this time.
I recently heard an interesting way of interpreting scripture. If your reading a chapter that is not completely clear, you can start by reading the end of the chapter to help understand the beginning of the passage. So, you must daily perform your vows (Psalms 61:8), when your heart is overwhelmed (Psalms 61:2). So, the way that you overcome is to keep walking. Keep trusting. Keep obeying. Keep loving. Keep giving. Keep doing.