Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
–1 John 5:5
I grew up playing the accordion for weddings, funerals, and all sorts of other events. Sometimes when I was trying out a new song, I would hit a wrong note. If I was not careful, I would start to obsess over that wrong note, and it would lead to another wrong note, and then another one, until the performance cascaded into an absolute disaster. My old accordion teacher gave me a good piece of advice. He said, “If you ever hit a wrong note, just keep on smiling and the audience won’t know the difference.” What he was saying was, your attitude determines your success. Attitude is essential. You cannot always choose your circumstances, but you can choose your response to those circumstances. Chuck Swindoll wrote, “The longer I live the more convinced I become that life is 10 percent what happens to us and 90 percent how we respond to it.” Attitude is key. And God’s Word says that we need to have the attitude of a victor, not a victim.
The Bible has a word for somebody with a victor mindset: an overcomer. Look at 1 John 5:3-5: “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith. Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” If you believe that Jesus is the Son of God, then you have the power you need to overcome negative situations in your life. But in the Bible the word “believe” does not mean just to agree to a certain set of facts about Jesus; it is always linked with obedience. The mark of an overcomer is obedience to our heavenly Father. Notice John said, “His commandments are not burdensome.” We are deceived so many times by the evil one into thinking, “God’s commandments are so hard to follow. And if I follow them, I will be robbed of any fun and any joy in life.” No, God’s commandments are not burdensome. Keeping them is the key to experiencing the abundant life God has planned for us. I am reminded of the story of Dominic, an eight-year-old boy who went skiing with his dad. The boy veered off the ski trail without realizing it and got lost. For hours, a team of more than ninety people scoured the mountain, but there was no sign of the boy. The next morning rescuers spotted footprints in the snow. They followed those footprints and found Dominic huddled next to a tree with branches covering him. The boy’s father had had enough foresight to tell him, “If you get lost, find a tree, stay close to it, and cover yourself with the branches.” And because Dominic followed his father’s instructions, he survived. That is true with God’s commands as well. God’s commands were not meant to restrict us from happiness or to hurt us, but to keep us safe and allow us to become overcomers.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Survival Tip #4: Develop A Victor, Not A Victim, Mindset” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2019.
Charles R. Swindoll, “The Value of a Positive Attitude,” Insight for Today: A Daily Devotional by Chuck Swindoll, November 19, 2015, https://www.insight.org/resources/daily-devotional/individual/the-value-of-a-positive-attitude; Luis Palau and Timothy Robnett, “Telling The Story: Evangelism For The Next Generation” (Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 2006), 56-57.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.