Written by Bishop Okey Ugwu, the General Overseer, Redeemed Pilgrims Ministries International
(Published by permission from author)
“For everyone born of God overcomes the World. This is the victory that has overcome the World” – 1 John 5:4, NIV
Success is more a product of attitude than it is of conditions. In other words, a man’s success or failure is determined mainly by his attitudes rather than the conditions of his environment. The difference between successful and unsuccessful people, goal, getters and failures, is simply in the way they see and act on their challenges.
Attitudes are behaviours, which reflect the way an individual think about a subject matter. Attitude involves the disposition a man shows towards a particular challenge he faces in life. The action and reaction an individual displays when faced with difficulties are the direct product of the person’s attitude. These are unique qualities, which define an individual’s weakness and strength when challenged.
Attitudes can make or mar even a person with bright ideas and the best intentions. While the right attitudes help a man to realise his dreams, poor attitudes cripple a person permanently for life. Right attitudes are the qualities that make a person a consistent overcomer. The right attitudes are those which are based on faith in, patience with and obedience to God. People with the right attitude are overcomers!
An overcomer is one who faces, overpowers and steps over his/her challenges and continue forward. It is the person who recognises that his position in Christ is above (not under) his/her challenges.
An overcomer usually does not succumb to or go under problems, but rises above them. An overcomer sees an approaches issues with the mentality that “… with God all things are possible”.
Seven Key Attitudes to Overcoming Challenges.
In this article, seven key attitudes of an overcomer are discussed to help the reader grapple with life challenges. It is suggested that the reader should carefully read and meditate on Genesis 26:1-21 and Ephesians 1:11-14.
Knowledge of Identity
Identity is a critical factor in the matter of behaviour. Knowledge of who you are sets the proper stage for the way you face your challenges. The extent to which you carry yourself depends on how much you know who you are, or who God has made you to be.
Isaac recognized that he was a covenant son. He knew that he inherited a divine agreement made between his father Abraham and the God Almighty. In fact, he knew that his birth and existence were direct results of the covenant. He was aware that his sustenance, protection and blessings were part of the continued responsibility of Almighty God in the covenant.
Isaac was a promise not only to Abraham, but also to the generations after him. He was to be the heir and the transmitter of the covenant blessings to the generations of people who would inherit the promises. Isaac literally walked into Gerar, a famine stricken land, with the covenant blessings on him.
Ephesians 1:13 declared that believers are included in Christ while 1 John 5:4-5 posited that those who are born of God (by their faith in Jesus Christ) are the overcomers! The implication of these declarations is that an overcomer is born and not made by conditions; and that he/she must originate from God through Jesus Christ the Saviour and Lord! The attitudes of an overcomer must reflect those of his/her divine progenitor.
An overcomer is a winner, a victor, a promise, a success, a goal-getter and a more-than-conqueror. Because every overcomer is related to God in Christ, he/she is a royal personality. An overcomer has the attention of heaven with him (and even the attention of hell).
Every overcomer bears the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, so he has the privilege of receiving favour and guidance “for his name’s sake” (Psalm 23:3, NIV). Protection and deliverance are the common terms associated with the benefit plans for all overcomers in Christ. (Ps. 34:7,15, NIV). If only you could realize whom God made you to be in Christ! You are a son/daughter of covenant by the blood of Jesus. You are a promise, having been included in Christ (identified in Him). You are therefore on the victory side – no longer a victim, a failure or prey.
Seeking and Abiding by God’s Will
Isaac recognized that the extent to which the promises and covenant blessings became reality in his life depended on his complete reliance and obedience to God who established the covenant with his father Abraham. When he noticed that he was faced with the similar problem or situation (famine) his father and family faced he decided to seek God’s will.
Isaac refused to yield to the instinct of seeking solutions anywhere and anyhow. He looked up to God for the solution to this supposedly recurring (family) problem. He was ready to abide by the will of God in this matter. Though going down to Egypt was the most logical step to take, Isaac chose to obey God and stay in Gerar in the midst of the famine.
When an overcomer reaches the “crossroads” of life, the first step should be to seek God and know what He says. The overcomer must be willing to abide by God’s divine counsel. There is a blessing in doing so (Isa. 1:19).
The mistake that Elimelech and Naomi made was that they reacted according to the “prevailing condition”. Their decisions were based on “feelings” about the economic conditions prevalent in Bethlehem of Judah of their time. They did not seek God’s will. They were also not willing to abide by divine counsel. They sought “greener pastures”, but because God was not in their plan, they ended up in “poisonous pasture” and turbulent waters (Ruth 1:1-7).
Anyone who wants to remain on the victory side must not step out until he/she has clearly heard God from which direction to go. The difference between Abraham and Lot is that Abraham looks at issues on the basis of God’s Word and command, but Lot looks selfishly and covetously (Gen. 13:10-16).
Believers beware of pastures that look green. Don’t go there or feed on them unless God directs you to do so. Why? Because the devil paints pastures green to trap and destroy you.
Setting Priorities Right
One attribute of an overcomer is that he/she has a defined aim. There is a target to reach under God’s guidance. The attitude of an overcomer is to discharge every weight and to discard every companion or relationship that will hinder him/her from reaching the goals.
Discipline on the part of the overcomer is a reflection of his or her attitude to remain focused. Isaac came to Gerar with attitude to maintain his integrity with God. He was an organized family man. He knew those to interact and fellowship with and those to avoid. Even though he was residing among people with loose morals (who molests their neighbour’s sisters and brothers), Isaac maintained a righteous distinction because he knew the God he served.
It is sad to note that some believers do not set their priorities right. They are easily swayed by the crowd and by what the majority considers right.
One key attitude of an overcomer is that of making provisions for the future. An overcomer sees beyond the present difficulties. This attitude of an overcomer makes him stay tough in tough times. It is an attitude of faith, which keeps him forging ahead successfully in difficult periods. The life of an overcomer is regulated by his/her convictions of what God can do for him/her. It is not bound or determined by his or her circumstances.
In Gerar, “Isaac sowed seed and received in the same year a hundred times as much as he had planted, and the Lord favoured him with blessings” (Genesis 26:12, NIV). As a man of faith, Isaac saw beyond the “famine” situation in the land.
Famine is a period of scarcity of resources. It is a time when many unwise people refrain from making investment decisions or commitments. While the men in Gerar (Philistines) withheld their seeds, Isaac believed that the “seed” (resources) he had was for harvest.
One of the amazing facts about God is that He gives a full measure of blessings to those who trust him enough to take risks at His command. Many people are blessed with seeds or resources for investment, but they are stingy and selfish to invest the seed. Refusal to sow at the time of famine is not only a sign of ignorance, but also that of selfishness.
If God has given you skills, talents, spiritual gifts and anointing, you need to invest them. The more you employ the seed for profitable purposes, the greater the harvest yield to the glory of God.
Even in our social and business endeavours, we must not invest only when the economic climate seems favourable. We must invest even in times of economic recession. The time of depression (in the economy) is actually planting time. It is the time when wise people (of faith) invest in resources. God is just waiting for you to sow the seed you have so you can receive bountiful harvest.
Not easily scared by Opposition.
One fact an overcomer must bear in mind is that blessings attract envy. People who refused to sow at the time of planting sometimes become envious at harvest time when those who took risks begin to receive abundant returns.
The Philistines envied Isaac because of God’s blessings in his life (Gen. 26:14). They began to persecute and oppress him and his business. They tried to stop his progress and prosperity. They tried so much in secret to destroy the source of his livelihood (well), but they failed. So, they came out openly and told him their minds about him. Abimelech, King of the Philistines in Gerar, said to Isaac: “Move away from us. You have become too powerful for us” (Genesis 26:16, NIV). Isaac did not quarrel with them, neither did their threats deter him from making profitable investments in the land.
One secret is that an overcomer does not take threats to heart. Rather he or she takes them to God. The Philistines envied Isaac, but they could not do anything to better their own conditions. Envy is a wrong attitude. It breeds strife and brings failure and regrets.
There was a man whose brother was in a foreign country. This brother became very wealthy and sent some money for this man to build a house. When the house was completed the bother in the foreign country came home, made a feast and invited friends and relatives. After the official opening of the building, this brother gave the keys to the man and told him that the building was a gift to him. The man broke down and wept bitterly in the presence of the guests. When he was asked the reason for his reaction, he confessed that because he was envious of his brother, he used inferior materials to build the house and never knew that he would eventually be the owner of the house. This true story teaches that envy does not promote progress.
Because God is on the side of every overcomer, “no weapons turned against him or her shall succeed, and he or she will have justice against every courtroom lie” (Isa. 54:17, LB Paraphrased). Really, an overcomer is not expected to abandon his/her God-given project, vision or calling and run because of opposition. The presence of opposition in your life shows that you are making progress.
Opposition is an indication that your “blessings” have reached such a dimension that your enemies can no longer ignore you. Instead of being scared, just be strong in the Lord and the power of His might (Eph. 6:10).
Commitment to Success
True commitment is born out of faith and hope for success. Scarcely can a person show commitment to something that he/she does not believe in. It is also a product of patience and the determination to get results. Isaac’s detractors thought that his blessings were only as a result of him staying on the plain land, and that if they forced him to the valley he would give up. They did not understand that Isaac’s blessings were not just because of where he was, but because of the Lord who accompanied him.
As an overcomer you need to realize that it is not where you are that determines your progress, but the Person with you. This is why Roman 8:31 says that “if God is for us, who can be against us?” (NIV). Please let me sound a warning to you: do not waste your time fighting a man who is in the company of God.
Isaac’s commitment to success spurred him to continue to make investment in anticipation of greater harvest, despite the opposition. Though he was forced to the Valley of Gerar, Isaac did not give up but opened more wells (businesses). Each time he opened a well the Philistines would quarrel over it and falsely claim it. The more they opposed Isaac, the more God gave them wisdom, courage and strength to overcome.
Each day they quarrelled and closed up his well, Isaac gave it a name. One of the wells he called Esek and the other he named Sitnah. Why did he give names to those wells that the enemy took away from him and destroyed?
The spiritual implication of giving names to your situations is to personify them. Every person that has a name has a knee. Then you can take that “personality” before the Lord for judgment. Philippians 2:10 unequivocally states: “that in (at) the name of Jesus every knee shall (must) bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth” (Amplified Version).
The closing of the two wells (Esek and Sitnah) did not deter Isaac from opening the third well called Rehoboth! The attitude of the overcomer like Isaac is based on the convictions that God will surely make room for us.
Listen, the success in that business or struggle you are engaged in now is within your grips in only you were committed and determined to press on at all costs.
A time will come when all those who seek your hurt and downfall will faint and be forgotten with you soar higher. This is because God make room for you! And you will exclaim REHOBOTH!
Ready to Forgive Attitude
An overcomer is always ready to forgive those who persecute and revile him/her. This is because he/she emulates Christ’s attitudes. When a Christian begins to avenge himself, he automatically loses God’s favour and support. Leave the vengeance to God. He knows how to deal with it.
A forgiving attitude is essential for a believer to be effective in Intercessory ministry. “But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins too” 9Mk. 11:25, LB, Paraphrased). To forgive is a secret to spiritual, social and mental success.
After Isaac had excelled, the men of Gerar went to seek his favour and to make peace with him. “They answered river we saw clearly that the Lord was with you … Isaac then made a feast for them, and they ate and drank … Then Isaac sent them on their way, and they left him in peace” (Genesis 26:26-31).
As a believer once you recognise your identity in Christ, and you are ready to obey God you will continue to sail above your storms. It is necessary that you know and set your priorities right and apply yourself effectively. You are required to commit yourself to what you believe and do not allow Satan and his agents to distract you from reaching your target. The Lord’s promise is “… surely I am with you always, to the very end…” (Matt. 28:20, NIV).
This article was first Published in Redeemed Intercessors Digest—January—February, 2001 and was published for the second time in Redeemed Pilgrims Ministry’s 25th Anniversary Magazine, November 2018
About the Author:
About the Author:
Bishop Okey Ugwu is the General Overseer of the Redeemed Pilgrims Ministries International, a non-denominational Christian group which has branches in Jamaica, United States of America, Nigeria and India. He is the author of two books: The Power of the Transformed Inner Man and Be Transformed to Fulful Your Destiny.