Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: A Haunting Phrase in the Book of Revelation

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Seven times that haunting phrase is repeated in the awe-inspiring Book of Revelation: "He who overcomes ... " The idea is one of combat, hand-to-hand wrestling like Jacob's struggle with the Angel (Gen. 32:24, 25); like swimming upstream against a strong current, climbing a mountain, defeating a tenacious foe.

Does that idea of "overcoming" frighten you? Maybe you feel that you don't have the perseverance or basic "strength" to win the battle. Like weary refugees on foot who can't summon the energy to take another step, who drop down and die, the temptation to give up the struggle to "overcome" causes some to drop out of the Christian "race." They give in to their long-established habits and addictions.

Apathy is the last of the vices that we are invited to "overcome" in the famous "seven" struggles of Revelation: "Because you are lukewarm, ... I counsel you, ... be zealous and repent. ... To him who overcomes ... " (3:14-21).

Lukewarm apathy is spiritual weariness, loss of hope, boredom. It is the fundamental characteristic of Christ's true church in the last segment of time. The will seems paralyzed; it's the almost irresistible drowsiness that induces sleep at the very Gethsemane-time when the Master says, "Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation" (Matt. 26:41).  Have you ever fought to stay awake when every cell of your being cries out for sleep? We have come to that time in world history, right now!

Here is the "how" of overcoming: look again at that last of the seven promises to the "overcomer." "To him who overcomes, ... as I also overcame," says Jesus. Immerse yourself in the story of Jesus' overcoming, His battle, His victory. Ponder His struggle in the wilderness of temptation (Matt. 4:1-11), His Gethsemane blood-sweating ordeal (Matt. 26:39), the unspeakable battle with self as He hung on His cross (Psalm 22).

Yes, the battle is intense, but the means of victory is simple--"look." You can overcome the stupor of unbelief.

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: August 8, 1999.
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