OVERCOMING, PART 2, 03.12.19
OBSTRUCTIONS TO OVERCOMING
If you’re going to be an overcomer, you must shed your flesh; that means the carnal desires you most savour must be given up. Anything of self that we hang onto is an obstruction to overcoming. “The biggest thing we need to get rid of is that self” (Berkson, Part 5, “To He Who Overcomes”).
In the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, “Adonai rained sulfur and fire upon Sodom and Gomorrah,” (Gen.19:24); that those who would not leave it all behind were wiped out. “So when morning dawned the angels rushed Lot, saying, “Get up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or else you will be swept away with the city’s iniquity! . . . Flee for your life! Do not look behind you, and do not stop anywhere in the surrounding area! Escape to the hills, or else you’ll be swept away!” (Gen.19:15,17). Berkson: “you have to leave it all behind . . . . run to the mountains” (Berkson, Part 5, “He Who Overcomes). And we know that when Lot’s “wife looked behind him and she turned into a pillar of salt” (Gen.19:26). She could not part with the fleshly lifestyle; she was hanging onto her flesh-driven lifestyle, with all its frivolous attributes.
“You are not doing right, unless you do what He is doing; following Him, doing what He did . . . “ (Berkson, Part 5). Yeshua gave us instructions: “If anyone wants to follow after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matt.16:24,25). Paul gave us instructions for how to become overcomers: “For if you live according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Ruach you put to death the deeds of the body, you shall live” (Rom.8:13). “I die every day” (1 Cor.15:31), Paul said. That would be the ideal example for all believers to emulate.
The one who overcomes is the one who is totally sold out, willing to leave it all behind, and put HIM first: “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And whoever does not take up his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me” (Matt.10:37,38). This requires leaving self behind, putting self to death, which is preceded by a change in attitudes, beliefs, values, priorities. “As they were traveling on the road, someone said to Him, “I will follow You wherever You go.” But Yeshua said to him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” He said to another, “Follow Me.” But that one said, “First let me go and bury my father.” But Yeshua said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead. But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Then another also said, “I will follow You, Master, but first let me say goodbye to those in my home.” But Yeshua said to him, “No one who has put his hand to the plow and looked back is fit for the kingdom of God” (Lk.9:57-62). “Yeshua understood that this person wanted to do something else; was still not ready to let everything go . . . . . wants to look back, like Lot’s wife . . .. there’s no level of excuse” (Berkson, Part 6).
Emotional attachments to carnal lifestyle and things, makes it hard to leave it all behind. “We get attached and trapped by the familiar,” says Berkson. “We shouldn’t want to be anywhere near that which we need to escape. “Run to the mountain aways from the flesh . . . . Destruction comes quickly. Lot’s wife looked behind and became a pillar of salt . . . . Many people are looking back at the lifestyle they left behind” (Berkson, Part 6 of “He Who Overcomes”). “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matt.6:33). “You can become hard and not let the Potter mould you, or you can be pliable and let Him mould you . . .” (Berkson, Part 8, “He Who Overcomes”); ““It’s a process of you being involved in letting . … .. you can choose to let Him transform you, but it involves your cooperation.” It’s about submitting, surrendering, yielding to the Master’s Hand.
If we are going to follow Him, to be like HIM, which will enable us to overcome, we have to not only hear, but actually do His Word. “So Yeshua said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know who I am. I do nothing by Myself, but speak just what the Father has taught Me. The One who sent Me is with Me. He has not left Me alone, because I always do what is pleasing to Him” (John 8:28,29). This is true discipleship, learning to do what He has done: “IF YOU STAY IN MY WORD, then you are My disciples . . . … knowing the Truth . . . Who is the Truth? Yeshua, The Word .. .. . . will set you free … .. Free from sin (the transgression of the Torah), free from lies . . . free from the stress of not knowing what to do . . . from addictions, mindsets, lifestyles” (Berkson, Part 9).
“We need to overcome, a process we will work on until the end . . .” (Berkson, Part 10). In order to fully overcome, we must understand Satan’s role as the accuser, “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, searching for someone to devour” (1 Pet.5:8). We need to “be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armour of God, so that you are able to stand against the schemes of the devil” (Eph.6:10,11). We must also realize that Satan is not responsible for everything that goes wrong, for “if you don’t give him anything to work with, there’s nothing he can do with/to you” (Berkson, Part 10, “He Who Overcomes”). If we are walking in the Spirit and not in the flesh we will not open the doors to Satan’s attack, “Therefore be imitators of God, as dearly loved children . . . sexual immorality and any impurity or greed . . . Obscene, coarse, and stupid talk no immoral, indecent, or greedy person—who is really an idol worshipper at heart—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Messiah and God” (Eph.5:1- 5).
“You are here to overcome. How can He trust you to go into eternity, if you’re still struggling with all this flesh? . . . that’s what your life is all about: overcoming . .. . let’s run the race. … let’s become overcomers. . .. there’s so much to overcome, because the reward is so great” (Rabbi Steve Berkson, Part 10, “He Who Overcomes”). Let us be like Paul, and “press on if only I might take hold of that for which Messiah Yeshua took hold of me. . . forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead .. . . press on toward the goal for the reward of the upward calling of God in Messiah Yeshua” (Phil.3:12-14). Overcomers are defined by Rev.12:11: “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives even in the face of death.”
It’s about putting Him first. Nothing must come before Him/following Him. Many people have an attitude problem; many are not willing to part with their own desires, fleshly lusts. The one who overcomes will have altered their priorities, putting flesh to death on the Cross, taking up their cross and following the Master, all of which require total surrender, and are acts of the heart. The one who overcomes is the one to whom the rewards and privileges and crowns will go; it is to these overcomers that the promises apply.
Tree of Life (TLV) Translation of the Bible. Copyright © 2015 by The Messianic Jewish Family Bible Society.
Rabbi Steve Berkson, Beth Shalom, Messianic Torah Observant Israel, https://youtu.be/wPVeik3w8B4 , Part 5, “To He Who Overcomes”
https://youtu.be/USqz3lY0TuU , Part 6, “To He Who Overcomes”
https://youtu.be/5QrN4HNDnmM , Part 8, “To He Who Overcomes”
https://youtu.be/QPc7yTEc2nE , Part 9, “To He Who Overcomes”
https://youtu.be/FCo1MbH2ncQ, Part 10, “To He Who Overcomes”
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