For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.
“Two things I will not tolerate in this house,” my momma would say, “Lying and stealing. And if I ever hear of you doing either one, there will be consequences!” Man, she was serious about those two things; you’d think I would have gotten the point. At a young age, I struggled with both, and she held true to her word about those “consequences”. One time, in particular, I got involved with the policeman’s son who lived across the street. He spent part of the summer teaching me how to steal from our local convenient store, which was owned and operated by Mr. Ketna. At first, I could hear my momma’s instructions ringing in my head. The fear of what she would do to me if I was found out made me apprehensive. But each time we got away with our stolen goodies, it got easier and easier. That is, until the day I got caught! Oh, I will never forget it as long as I live. I had begun to get sloppy with my thievery and momma picked up on it like Columbo. One morning, before school, I had gone down to Mr. Ketna’s for my routine “visit”. On my way out the door, I ran right into my momma’s 5’10” frame. She looked down at me with a gaze that sent chills through my chills! I knew it was over for me! This time she would surely kill me and tell God I died.
She opened my coat and all my stash erupted onto the sidewalk. “Pick every bit of it up and march your narrow behind back into that store!” I heard her say. Well, needless to say, my days of stealing at Mr. Ketna came to an abrupt halt. After generously administering my due “consequences,” my mother looked into my little brown eyes and said, “I discipline you, son, because you were born for so much more than this! I will not allow you to live below your potential.”
Temptation to go against what I knew was right presented me with a major intersection at that time in my life: Would I succumb to the pressure or would I overcome it and obey my mother’s command? That same intersection is before every child of God today. I Peter 1:23 in the Message Bible reads:Your new life is not like your old life. Your old birth came from mortal sperm; your new birth comes from God’s living Word. Just think: a life conceived by God himself! In Christ, we have all been born to overcome (see John 16:33) and yet the desire to succumb blares before us like a neon sign.
There are two keys given in God’s Word to help us make the right choice in the toughest of situations. The first is the Word itself. John 1:1 tells us the Word of God is ageless, and now, each of us has received our new identity in it! For us, feasting on our Father’s Word is not a good idea; it’s a necessity of life. Psalms 138:2 in the Amplified Bible states God magnifies His Word above His own Name. It is the foundation we must stand on when the winds of opposition blow. And the second is our worship. Paul instructed the believers at Colosse to let the word of Christ dwell in them richly as they taught and admonished one another with all wisdom, and as they sung psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in their hearts to God (Colossians 3:16).
Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs are all incorporated in worship because each embodies the testimony of the redeemed before his Redeemer. Whether its King David’s “Psalms 23” or the emotionally frail William Cowper’s famous hymn, “There Is A Fountain,” each reminds the worshipper who they are and whose they are. David was able to overcome the pressure to give up hope in 1 Samuel 30 when he and his men came home to Ziklag and found their homes destroyed and their families taken captive. As his men contemplated stoning him for the loss of their families, the bible says in verse 6, “David found strength in the Lord.” Amen!
I can just see David worshipping God and rehearsing out loud the times when the Lord gave him victory over a lion, a bear, and a giant. I see him rejoicing every time the Lord kept him safe in the house of Saul who wanted to kill him. And I can see him reminding the Lord of the day he was called away from tending his father’s sheep and anointed the next king over God’s people by the prophet Samuel.
Just like David, we must find our strength in the Lord when we stand at the intersection of temptation and trial. We must stand on God’s Word and we must worship Him with all of our hearts as we take refuge in His ability in us, for we were born to overcome!