Today’s Oswald Chambers is very thought-provoking. I’ve been mulling it all day. It was a meditation on the phrase “to him who overcomes,” from Revelation 2.
I don’t normally quote things in entirety, but I find this such rich food for thought that I wanted to preserve it here. I love the way it teases purpose out of struggle. And I love the basic analogy to the natural world, where “the very elements that sustain me while I am alive work to decay and disintegrate my body once I am dead.” The difference is our internal disposition and energy; that’s what throws the balance in favor of inward life against outward decay. It reminds me too of the passage where Paul says though “outwardly we are wasting away, inwardly we are being renewed day by day.”
Anything that comes against the habitual passiveness of our convenience-saturated, consumer-oriented, machine-assisted comprehension of reality is welcome. For me this reading fit the bill.
To him who overcomes . . . —Revelation 2:7
Life without war is impossible in the natural or the supernatural realm. It is a fact that there is a continuing struggle in the physical, mental, moral, and spiritual areas of life.
Health is the balance between the physical parts of my body and all the things and forces surrounding me. To maintain good health I must have sufficient internal strength to fight off the things that are external. Everything outside my physical life is designed to cause my death. The very elements that sustain me while I am alive work to decay and disintegrate my body once it is dead. If I have enough inner strength to fight, I help to produce the balance needed for health. The same is true of the mental life. If I want to maintain a strong and active mental life, I have to fight. This struggle produces the mental balance called thought.
Morally it is the same. Anything that does not strengthen me morally is the enemy of virtue within me. Whether I overcome, thereby producing virtue, depends on the level of moral excellence in my life. But we must fight to be moral. Morality does not happen by accident; moral virtue is acquired.
And spiritually it is also the same. Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation . . .” (John 16:33). This means that anything which is not spiritual leads to my downfall. Jesus went on to say, “. . . but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” I must learn to fight against and overcome the things that come against me, and in that way produce the balance of holiness. Then it becomes a delight to meet opposition.
Holiness is the balance between my nature and the law of God as expressed in Jesus Christ.
A little further on, in Revelation 2:11, we’re told that if we welcome opposition as an opportunity to assert the priorities of Jesus — to defer to the Spirit of Jesus within us — we “will not be hurt by the second death.”
What a thought.