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Left, right, and center the news we hear these days are not palatable. Out of nowhere you just hear that an old classmate has passed on. Sometimes the relationship is even much closer than that. In this season of pandemic, you will be hard pressed to not know anyone who knows someone who has succumbed to the evil hands of this virus called Covid-19. So, when this disease comes this close to home, the battle becomes personal. Our prayer always is that we overcome. We are praying to be victorious. We are praying that when this is all over, this virus would not have had the best of us. As followers of Christ, we are praying for victory in Jesus.
It reminds me of Paul’s message to the Corinthians on how God gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. So, when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Cor. 15:54-57 – KJV). Naturally we tend to believe that this passage is about victory over death and it may well be. However, as I meditated over this passage years ago a more encompassing and earthly relevant victory emerged for me. I noticed two pertinent ideas from this passage. First, Apostle Paul says we can only get victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Second, he also added that this victory is only possible “when this corruptible shall put on incorruption….”
When we become Christians, we naturally believe that all victories that Jesus Christ has won have become ours too. However, is it practical to believe that we are victorious just because we have been saved? The truth is that when we are saved there is still a lot of overcoming to do. There are still a lot of battles to win. Therefore, many of us, despite our having been saved and in spite of our efforts to continue to live righteously, still have one thing or the other we need to be delivered from. This means that there is a battle we need to be victorious over. For example, many devout Christians have already succumbed in death to this Covid-19. In practical terms when we are in Christ, we potentially have all the victory our Lord Jesus Christ has won. However, Apostle Paul is saying here that we can only have this victory if our Lord Jesus Christ first and foremost gets victory over us. This means that in whatever situation we are, Jesus must be our Lord in that situation for us to be victorious. In short, we do not have control or authority over anything, until the Lord Jesus himself has complete control and authority as Lord over us. This means if we want to find life in Christ, then we must first lose our life to him. It is only then we can live in victory because Jesus Christ has victory over us. We must first lose our will, our desire and life, and let our will be completely subsumed into His will. So, whatever happens to us, if our will is in alignment with Hs will, we are victorious.
The second is more like the first. We are the corruptible, but when we subsume our life and our will completely into Christ’s will then we, the corruptible, would have put on incorruption. Our desires are usually based on our corruptible worldly desires, but when our will comes in line with Christ’s will then our desires are no longer controlled by our flesh but by God’s will for us and only then do we have our Victory in Jesus. Our Victory is in Christ Jesus, but that is only if Jesus has victory over us. We go through trials and suffering in the Christian life so that we can be conquered in surrendering to Christ. Only then can we be, “more than conquerors through Him that loved us.” The word of God says, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? …………. No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (Rom 8:35, 37 – NIV). As we seek victory over all our battles of life today, including this rampaging virus, remember that Christ needs to first and foremost take over our life and only then shall our “Victory in Jesus” become certain. May we all be victorious in Jesus name. – Pastor Simbo Odunaiya