'Overcoming' and New Identity

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.’
(Rev 2:17 ESV)

In Christian circles, we often wrestle with the question, “Is it easier to die for our faith or to live for it?” In Pergamum, anyway, the LORD says that it was easier for the Christians there to die for their faith than to live for it. While they didn’t shy away from martyrdom, they also didn’t shy away from compromise. The way of the Nicolaitans seems to have been an understanding that since all matter was evil, and since Christians had been saved from the power of darkness, it didn’t matter what kind of sexual immorality Christians did with their corruptible bodies – what mattered were the “spiritual” parts of us. Thoughts, ideas, wisdom – especially secret wisdom or ‘mysteries’ – were important, so do whatever you want with your flesh. This is the Way according to the Nicolaitans, and it is as popular today as it was then. In Christian circles, it amounts to a new name but not a new identity.

Our new name can be child of God, disciple, saint, Christian, or any of the myriad names given to followers of the Way of Jesus in the New Testament. But I think the overcoming identity is wrapped up in an intermingling of surrender and trust. We surrender because we trust and we trust because we’re surrendering. Here we decide, and learn, what is enough.

In the foreword to Ruth Haley Barton’s Invitation to Solitude and Silence, Dallas Willard writes, “Solitude and silence are the most radical of the spiritual disciplines because they most directly attack the sources of human misery and wrongdoing. To be in solitude is to choose to do nothing. For extended periods of time. All accomplishment is given up. Silence is required to complete solitude, for until we enter quietness, the world still lays hold of us. When we go into solitude and silence we stop making demands on God. It is enough that God is God and we are His… This knowledge of God progressively replaces the rabid busyness and self-importance that drives most human beings, including the religious ones.”

Overcoming looks like a person who carries peace and quietness with them wherever they go, because they are wholly surrendered to God. They do not take charge of outcomes. They do their part, but that doing is always tempered by surrender to the two great facts of human existence:

1. There is a God.
2. I’m not Him.

Does that sound really, really attractive to anyone else? Why?

in HIS love,
nick

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About Nick Gill

orphan-poet-adoptee-soldier-prodigal-servant-husband- counselor-desperate seeker after my Father's face "I feel my body weakened by the years as people turn to gods of cruel design. Is it that they fear the pain of death, or is it that they fear the joy of life?" - Toad the Wet Sprocket

Posted on 21 September, 2010, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. It sounds really scary, and really exciting. It requires trusting God can do more than me on my own. God does not desire to be drug along like Linus’ blanket. He is the Master, and desires to show Me His ways.

    But, I have to hush.
    I have to listen.
    I have to be engaged with Him.

    Psalm 139 has been powerful reading and repetition to wrap my mind around His presence and His power. He really is God, and I really am not!

  2. http://laymond-meredith.blogspot.com/

    Just thought of you when I wrote this. check it out and leave your opinion.

  3. Nick,

    Recently came across your blog through two college friends of mine, Chris Gallagher and Brian Nicklaus. Great stuff here! So much to digest that I have to remind myself to stop and loosen my belt from time to time after reading blogs like yours and others.

    Surrender has always been very difficult for me. I am a controller…not in a manipulative way (I don’t think) but rather in a way where I want to be able to determine outcomes. But what I have recently figured out is that the more I want to control, the harder my life becomes AND the greater the opportunity it provides for Satan to attack my weaknesses, which are many.

    I’m beginning to understand, just a little bit, the real idea of peace that Paul mentions so frequently which comes by the faith and surrender you write about here. I had yet to link it to overcoming…need time to really process that and I look forward to more posts in this vein if you are continuing down that path.

    • Thank you for sharing your struggle with control, and welcome to the Fumbling family.

      If there was a simple answer, I’d give it… but I wrestle with it too. I’m working on some more ideas about overcoming… stick around and let’s see what we can draw from the Spirit we share.

      in HIS love,
      nick

  4. Thankful to have discovered your blog thru Twitter. Thankful because your words contain thoughts I’ve had. Well meaning, purposeful, necessary questions. On control, I gotta say yep, been a struggle. I’ve lived with my faith for some time now and have recently (in the past year) relinquished more than I ever have before. How? Why now? Circumstances caused me to realize God was trying to get my attention so many times and now after 1. being still 2. listening and 3. waiting for Him to move me, I witnessed more in my life than I could ever imagine if left up to me. Now that I have EXPERIENCED this I no longer have “blind” trust, but actual living trust in Him. Whew… why do we always have to learn the hard way?

    ~ blessings,
    Carmel

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