For every child of God defeats this evil world,
and we achieve this victory through our faith.
And who can win this battle against the world?
Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.
1 John 5:4-5, NLT
If you recognized this blog title from the old hymn, you probably couldn’t resist humming the chorus - especially since the photos provide the lyrics. It’s been a while since I sang it, but it kept popping into my mind as I prepared for today’s post. The song is old, written in 1891, and the scripture even older, written around the year 98, but both state a timeless truth. Faith in Jesus is what gives us victory over the world.
A familiar song and Bible verse wasn’t enough to nail it down for me though. I had to ponder this and do some digging to grasp the full power of this claim. How does faith, I wondered, do battle for us against the world? And what does it mean to win against the world? Why are we at war?
I found that “the world” refers to spiritual rulers, not earth itself or the people who live here. The spiritual forces of evil that war against God also war against mankind. They’ve been at work since the Garden of Eden trying to take us captive to sin and imprison us in destructive lifestyles. What better way to hurt the Creator than to torture and pervert His beloved children and convince us He either doesn’t exist, or has no power or desire to save us.
Having faith brings us back into right relationship. We can’t get victory over addiction, pornography, same sex attraction, gambling, gossip, stealing, lying, pride, selfishness, greed, ingratitude, or any other worldly passion without faith. Anything else is just legalism and self-help programs. Those can only give a certain degree of success. They might curb our outward behavior, but they cannot change our heart, and that’s where true victory takes place.
We can only get victory when we believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and then live our lives accordingly. In other words, stop trying to be our own gods (as if we’ve done such a great job of it), and let Him lead. If we say we believe He is God, but continue to do whatever we want, we deny our own claim. Do we really believe He loves us; that His plan is good; that He knows what’s best for us? If we do, and act on it, our faith will be the victory.