“... for whatever is born of God conquers the world. And this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith. Who is it that conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”
~1 John 5:4-5 (NRSV).
Most Christians who’ve been around a while know about this Trinity of Torment: the living flesh, the world, Satan. Never synonymous with the Holy Trinity, these three together are our arch-nemesis.
It must first be said that Jesus has overcome this Trinity of Torment by the work of the cross and the resurrection. All that awaits now is for us to redeem this victory in our moments, in Jesus’ name.
Overcoming The Living Flesh
“What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
~John 3:6 (NRSV).
It is clear that to overcome our living flesh—the substance the causes our weakness (Mark 14:38)—we must be born of the Spirit. This is the whole point of John chapter 3. But to be born of the Spirit implies we must live of the Spirit as well.
This leads into the second point—overcoming the world.
Overcoming The World
“I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!”
~John 16:33 (NRSV).
These above are our operational instructions as we trudge headlong into our worlds. We are destined for difficulty, certain to struggle, challenged and chastened, and persecuted more when we obey than when we disobey. We could almost ask, why become Christian?
Of course, there is an easy answer; one that Jesus answers—we have no need to overcome because Jesus has already overcome the world. The discreet difference is in whose strength we fight. We magnify our weakness to draw on Spiritual strength. The less we try the more the Spirit intercedes for us. It’s a paradoxical, upside-down reality, but that’s the truth.
How we interact with the world very much speaks for the command we might have over our flesh—all of this sponsored intrinsically by the Holy Spirit.
“The great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.”
~Revelation 12:9 (NRSV).
We can expect to meet Satan in this world of ours. But Satan is less of a problem than we often make out. Christians can be forgiven for feeling constantly berated by the spirit of accusation, condemnation and isolation. Satan tends to work in our minds, fighting our logical mind, increasing negativity.
Then we have to remember that Jesus has already overcome Satan. This was done over a long weekend that commenced on a Friday, nearly two millennia ago. All Satan has to work with, now, are those things of earthly prominence; he has no command over the heavenly realm.
And if we are born of the Spirit, we are the very kin of heaven. The Devil can’t touch us if we rise to higher mental ground—to think in the heavenly realm. The mind of Christ overcomes (1 Corinthians 2:16).
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.