While in college I memorized a poem by Walter D. Wintle that said:
If you think you are beaten, you are.
If you think you dare not, you don’t.
If you’d like to win but you think you can’t,
It’s almost certain you won’t.
Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man;
But sooner or later the man who wins,
Is the one who thinks he can.
While this poem may sound like a dose of “positive mental attitude,” we know Proverbs 23:7 reminds us that “as he thinks in his heart, so is he” (KJV). I find that those who live a victorious Christian life have certain patterns of thought that make the difference. They embrace the importance of Proverbs 4:23: “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.”
How Overcomers Think and Live
The Inward Thoughts of an Overcomer: A Discipline Toward Praise
An overcomer disciplines his internal conversation toward a focus of praise to God. Discipline involves regulating your thinking and conduct by principle—not emotion, impulse or circumstances.
We see this mental discipline in David when he wrote, “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance” (Psalm 42:5,11 & 43:5). Again in Psalm 103:1-2 he disciplined his thinking with these words: “Bless the LORD, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.”
An overcoming life embraces the discipline of Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”
The Upward Thoughts of an Overcomer: A Delight in Love
An overcomer also looks upward to the risen Christ and experiences a delight in His unfailing love. He constantly rejoices in the source of an overcoming life—the victorious love of the Lord Jesus.
In Romans 8:35-39 Paul expressed this in such a powerful way:
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: ‘For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.’ Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Consistent victory in the Christian life is the fruit of a deep sense of security that comes in knowing that we are loved. When children know they are loved, they live with a confident freedom to do what is right, focus on others and follow their dreams. The principle applies to spouses, friends and employees.
First John 4:18-19 assures us, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us.”
I always cherish those powerful moments in Prayer Summits when the Spirit leads us to the biblical theme of God’s love for us. Often we take time to praise Christ for His love in words like, “I praise You, Lord Jesus, that You love me even when…” or “I praise You that You love me even if…” It is so empowering to know that we cannot do anything to cause Him to love us less or coerce Him to love us more. He has set His love upon us because it is His character to do so. That is security. That is the delight of an overcoming heart.
The Outward Thoughts of an Overcomer: A Dedication to Faithful Impact
A victorious follower also looks outward at a needy world, resting in the truth of the indwelling, overcoming Christ. Dedication to a life of spiritual impact is rooted in knowing that Christ is faithful to live in and through an abiding heart.
First Corinthians 15:57-58 inspires us: “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” Second Corinthians 2:14 offers similar encouragement: “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.”
As overcomers we must have resolute confidence that Christ will live through us to express His life and light in a broken and dark world. “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:4-5).
Living in Unashamed Victory
So, as we look inward we discipline our thoughts toward praise. As we look upward we delight in His overcoming love. As we look outward we are dedicated to faithful impact, knowing Christ will live through us.
As a result, we can walk in fellowship with Christ and one another, manifesting His victory and declaring an authentic message. I am reminded of the notable account of a Rwandan man who, in 1980, was forced by his tribe to either renounce Christ or face certain death. He refused to compromise his faith and was killed on the spot. The night before, he had written his commitment, titled “The Fellowship of the Unashamed.” This was found in his room and is a great inspiration for us as we seek to live as overcomers.
The Fellowship of the Unashamed
I am a part of the fellowship of the unashamed. I have the Holy Spirit power. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ.
I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still. My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is secure. I am finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tame visions, mundane talking, chintzy giving and dwarfed goals.
I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits or popularity. I don’t have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded or rewarded. I now live by presence, learn by faith, love by patience, lift by prayer and labor by power.
My pace is set, my gait is fast, my goal is Heaven, my road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions few, my Guide is reliable, my mission is clear.
I cannot be bought, compromised, deterred, lured away, turned back, diluted or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.
I won’t give up, back up, let up or shut up until I’ve preached up, prayed up, paid up, stored up and stayed up for the cause of Christ. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I must go until He returns, give until I drop, preach until all know and work until He comes.
And when He comes to get His own, He will have no problem recognizing me. My colors will be clear, for “I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes…” (Romans 1:16).
This article originally appeared here.