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What makes Jesus, not only an inspiration to us, but a source of hope, strength, and encouragement? He was an overcomer.
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)
Jesus knew He was living a holy life for our benefit.
And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. (John 17:19)
The earthly walk of Jesus positioned Him for the heavenly ministry He now has.
Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16)
Jesus was an overcomer in every and any area we could struggle in, so that He might be the minister we need.
Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. (Hebrews 2:17,18)
Likewise, Paul knew his overcoming positioned him to minister to others.
Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. (2 Corinthians 1:3-6)
There is a priority in God’s equipping us for ministry. We must have an experience of what we want others to know.
The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits. (2 Timothy 2:6)
There were specific areas which Paul knew Timothy needed seasoning and growth.
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God (2 Timothy 1:7,8)
Jesus knew the area of greatest need in the life of the rich, young ruler.
Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. (Mark 10:21)
The rich, young ruler and the Pharisee prided themselves on what they were doing “right” or better than others, instead of where they were weak and lacking.
The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. (Luke 18:11,12)
We put on display what we are proud. We hide what we are embarrassed by. Paul sought to teach the Corinthians not to glory in their strength, but to let the power of Christ be made perfect in their weakness.
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
It is common to run from situations that lay bare our weaknesses. We hide our failings from others. We hate when anyone would bring up a fault or flaw. We would rather people see our “good side.” But where we are weakest God wants to display His strength. He wants us to have a testimony of His power and grace.
O God, thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works. Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come. (Psalm 71:17,18)
It is the tendency of men to lift up themselves before others. Because the Lord would have us extol Him and His greatness, He desires to work mightily where we are most “undone.”
I will extol thee, my God, O king; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever. Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever. Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts. (Psalm 145:1-4)
God wants to raise up servants who communicate the glory of His kingdom, and power, and mighty acts.
All thy works shall praise thee, O LORD; and thy saints shall bless thee. They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power; To make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom. (Psalm 145:10-12)
To have a ministry which glorifies the power of Christ, we must know His power in those areas where we have been weak. We cannot “rest on our laurels,” always talking about the victories we won yesterday; we need fresh manna today.
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna … (Revelation 2:17)
The Laodiceans thought they had much in Christ, and yet they were poor because they were not “buying” from Him the “gold” that was available to them through the present fires of their lives.
Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. (Revelation 3:17,18)
To overcome we must have intimate fellowship with the Overcomer.
As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. (Revelation 3:19,20)
The power of Christ’s ministry was only fully unleashed after He overcame the world and ascended into heaven to take His place at the right hand of the Father. He tells us that our position of ministry, now and for all eternity, must be gained in the same fashion.
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. (Revelation 3:21,22)