Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Putting on Our Nikes

(Note: I have started writing a short daily devotional thought for my churches that I send out via e-mail. It includes announcements that are relevant to my churches. But this is the devotional thought portion of the e-mail. It is my intention to post the thought to this blog on a regular basis - thus killing two birds with one stone!)

Have you put on your Nikes today? Or maybe you’re a Reebok person.

The truth is, the shoe company Nike has loose ties with the Bible. Named for the Greek goddess for victory, this same Greek word pops up in the New Testament a handful of times. The noun literally means “victory,” while the verbal form of it (nikao) means “to conquer,” or “to overcome.” And this is what God’s people are described as doing. They “overcome” and “conquer” and gain the “victory.”

And how is this achieved? There are only three verses in the New Testament that talk about God’s people achieving victory, and the insight into how that is accomplished is intriguing. Is it through our concerted effort? Is it through reading our Bibles more? Spending 15 more minutes in prayer a day? A little faith and works combined? Notice what the biblical witness says:

  • “For whatever is born of God overcomes [nikao] the world; and this is the victory [nike] that has overcome the world—our faith” (1 John 5:4).
  • “Who is the one who overcomes [nikao] the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:5).
  • “And they overcame [nikao] him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death” (Revelation 12:11).

So based on these three verses, the Bible sets forth four ways in which we can overcome: 1) By being born of God (i.e., being converted) 2) Faith 3) The blood of the Lamb 4) The word of our testimony. All four of these could be unpacked a lot more, but that will have to wait for another day.

But the point is, if we want victory—over doubt, discouragement, fear, anxiety, loneliness, guilt, temptation, sin, bad habits—we can look to the cross and, by faith in the blood that Christ shed there, conquer and overcome. The one common theme among these four verses is the word “faith.” Conquering and victory comes by faith.

I was delighted to come across this quote from Ellen White this morning as I was in my personal devotions—looking at a different theme. It goes along beautifully with this subject as well:

It is God's pleasure and will that the blessings bestowed on man shall be given in perfect completeness. He has made provision that every difficulty may be overcome, every want supplied through the Holy Spirit. Thus He designs that man shall perfect a Christian character. God would have us contemplate His love, His promises, given so freely to those who have no merit in themselves. He would have us depend fully, gratefully, rejoicingly, in the righteousness provided for us in Christ. To all who come to God in His appointed way, He freely listens (7BC, 932—emphasis added).

So why not put on your Nikes this morning? Why not claim the victory today that is already yours in Christ?

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