Are You Living Like an Overcomer?

Program Resources

Learn more about the Adorned Small Group Kit.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Please provide us with studies for our small group!

That’s what Revive Our Hearts hears a lot. Women appreciate the teaching here on the program, and they ask for tools they can share with other women.

I’m excited to tell you one way that need is being met—through the brand new Adorned Small Group Kit. At the recent Revive '17 conference, we heard fourteen short but powerful messages from various speakers unpacking Paul's instructions in Titus 2 about older women discipling and mentoring younger women. Those were captured on video.

Now you have the opportunity to watch the DVDs with your small group, to read the corresponding chapters in the Adorned book, and to go through the discussion questions in a study guide that's part of this kit. Robyn McKelvy was one of the speakers at this conference and she shares her heart about how she believes God will use this study.

Robyn McKelvy: I think wherever two or three are gathered, then God's in the midst of them. If they are gathered to want to know more about God, He's right there. So to be able to study a book written by an imperfect person, but that God will use because His Word is all through that book, and His Word won't return void . . . To be able to talk about it with other believers, other godly women . . . You're going to get a nugget from this woman and a nugget from that woman and a nugget or two from all the ladies in that group. 

I'm telling you, I was blown away by the word "adorned." I think about women coming together and being in a small group and seeing this beautiful thing . . . you're looking for beauty in every chapter. Adorned is going to do great things on behalf of the Father.

Nancy: To get more information on this brand-new Adorned Small Group Kit, visit ReviveOurHearts.com, or call 1–800–569–5959. 

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together, for November 14, 2017.

As women we are called to follow the example of Jesus day by day, conquering through suffering. Nancy has been explaining this out of the book of Revelation. If you've missed the program over the last few days, I hope you'll visit ReviveOurHearts.com and read the transcript, or listen.

Some women in our audience are thinking through what it means to embrace life as an overcomer.

AndreaThe part where you talked about how Christ as that slain lamb was standing and He had to go through death and He had to be—well, He wasn’t totally overcome, but we sometimes have to be willing to have it even look like we are overcome in order to be an overcomer.

In my situation in life right now there are so many situations where I feel like I have taken a step down, where I’ve taken a step away from where I want to be, and I feel like in a way I’m being overcome. But this is exactly what God’s called me to. So to keep taking that step down and embrace it even in ways where I feel like I’m being overcome, that is the path to victory for me even though it feels like death at times.

Woman 1: I believe that when we become small, then that’s when the Lord lifts us up, and He gives us the grace that we need. It’s very difficult for us as women to get to that place because so many things are going on in our lives. I know that’s how the Lord taught me that I had to become nothing and then He became everything.

Nancy: That brings to mind that verse in the Old Testament where Jesus says, or it’s said prophetically of Jesus, “I am a worm and no man” (Psalm 22:6 NKJV). Now you think about the Son of God—God Himself—who steps down from heaven, lays aside His glory, takes on humanity, but at least man is a noble creature, the highest of God’s creation. That’s a huge step, an infinite step already; but then in a sense He becomes a worm. Talk about stepping down.

You know the difference between a worm and a snake. What does a snake do when it’s attacked? It strikes back. What does a worm do when it’s attacked? Smoosh. And what did Jesus do? He took the low place, washed the feet of the servants of the Master.

I was reading a devotional yesterday or today about Jesus not opening His mouth to speak a word of self-defense when He was being tried. Not defending Himself. Like a lamb led to the slaughter is silent, so He opened not His mouth (see Isa. 53:7). He takes the low place, and He looks conquered. He appears to be the lowest of the low. This is not the way up, but the way up is down.

So as Jesus is willing to be spat upon and attacked and maligned and misunderstood and brutalized and tortured and killed and separated from His Father, He actually is on the path to the highest place in the universe because He was willing to make Himself of no reputation, to take upon Him the form of a bondservant—a slave, a menial slave—God has highly exalted Him. He has overcome. He has conquered. He has given Him a name that is above every name. Things in heaven and earth and under the earth (see Phil. 2:7–11).

So it’s the exact opposite of the progression we would think leads to overcoming and greatness is the way down. We’re always scrapping to get on top of the pile, to defend ourselves, to overcome our accusers or the opposition.

This writer I was reading on Jesus being silent said it is so basic to our human nature to defend ourselves, especially if we think we’re right. But here’s Jesus. He knows He’s right and as the old spiritual says, "never said a mumblin' word." He takes the low place, but in doing it He overcomes. He conquers. The pathway of humility is the way to greatness.

We want to overcome without any pain or process. We want to overcome now, and we want it to be pain-free, right? That’s the way you want to lose weight. That’s the way you want to have a happy marriage. That’s the way you want to be a godly person. Put your Bible under the pillow and osmosis kicks in, and you wake up and you’re spiritually mature and godly.

It doesn’t happen that way. Anything that has great value or worth comes through a process that involves a hard place. You don’t give birth without labor, travail. There’s a birth canal involved here. There’s pressure. There’s labor involved. I’m now talking about something I really don’t know a lot about.

But it’s true of spiritual maturity. It’s true of overcoming. The very concept of overcoming implies that there’s a struggle. That it’s not easy and that it doesn’t happen just waving a magic wand. Now, God could do that. He could have done that. He could save us and then just wave a Bible over us and voila! We wake up, and we’re spiritual.

Any thoughts about why the battle is important? Why the process is important? Why it’s better for us that it doesn’t just happen in an instant? Do you ever think about things like that?

Woman 2: I think it was through the trials that I went through in my life that I learned the greatest lessons about God’s faithfulness, that God is sovereign. I saw God’s sovereign hand in those trials. I was married to a pastor for twenty-seven years, so most of my ministry was involved in the church. Even around the death of my husband, it was very much in front of the news media for two-and-a-half weeks before he passed away.

Then they covered his last words when he did pass away because he had an accident. He was the pastor that was cleaning the ice off the church when the ice fell on him. I did not know if I could survive. I really didn’t know. I told my friends if I don’t make it, don’t blame God. It’s me. I’m the one that’s weak.

But God in His sovereignty brought amazing encouragement to my heart, and I got in God’s Word. I began devouring it because my husband’s faith was strong, and I had always hung onto that. Now I had to find out who God was for myself. It was the greatest comfort. There are a lot of books on grieving that could help me get through but nothing compared to God’s Word. That’s where I got healing for my soul.

I got down on my knees. I did not know who I was anymore. I had lost my identity. I lost the church immediately. I didn’t have a job. I was unemployed. But I got on my knees and said, “Lord, what do you have for me?” I did that for months on end. God heard the cries of my heart.

I didn’t have a lot of gifts either. I said, “Lord, I’m a hard one. I have been out of the work place for years. What is it You have for me?” It was like Abraham. He told me to sell my house and move to the Grand Rapids area. In the meantime, two-and-a-half years after my husband’s death, I was in a car accident with my daughter and she received a severe brain injury. She was critically injured, in a coma for three weeks.

So again it was casting myself upon the Lord. But I saw God’s sovereign hand. I had more opportunities to share Christ. Talk about overcoming, I was hanging on for dear life! God helped me overcome. I have found out that there is no problem so great that God is not greater to help us overcome. I love that word overcome.

Now God has opened up the door for me to be a chaplain, coming alongside others. My cry was, “Lord, use my pain and suffering whatever way You can in the lives of others.” Now I find myself in emergency wards standing alongside people. People going through death.

Only God could have helped me learn the computer. I didn’t know how to use a computer. So that was major. I said, “Lord, this will be a miracle.” The Lord did the miracle, and now I am serving Him in that capacity. He still has good things down that road. He has filled my cup that was so empty. He filled it, and I have joy in my heart.

So I love sharing Christ, and I just want to encourage everybody no problem is so great that our God is not greater.

Woman 3: Just like you were saying, recently I, two days ago, was very overwhelmed with the circumstances in our country—economically, socially, financially. I was getting very discouraged. So I sat down that afternoon with the Word and I said, “O God, what can I do? Evil is being called good. Good is being called evil. What can I do?”

The devotional I picked up at the time was from Deuteronomy 8:3. It says at the end, “Man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD” (NKJV). I started doing a little word search on “the word” and it led to “the word revives,” “the word restores” and such.

I ended up doing a little light reading in Ezekiel that said the word of the Lord spoke to Ezekiel. Chapter after chapter after chapter. I ended up in Chapter 33 where the word of the Lord came to Ezekiel and seven times in that one chapter He said, “Warn them.”

Now I’m doing a study on “the word” and God spoke to Ezekiel and said, “Warn them.” The translation and word for me two days ago was, warn them with the Word. Warn the wicked. Warn the righteous. There was a consequence if you did not warn them. Read it in Ezekiel 33. In the first eleven verses it mentions warn them seven times.

So I’m armed and I’m going the next day traveling. I was waiting for my next destination yesterday praying, “Lord, where should I sit? Who should I talk to?” I was waiting for a connection. This lady sat down by me and no kidding, she opens The Da Vinci Code. "Oh, Lord, surely you don’t mean warn her with the Word."

So we chatted about having children and where are you going and things like that. Then I said, “Do you like that book?” I mean the Lord’s prompting me to initiate this and warn her about the truth. She said, “Well, I’m very spiritual and I seek all these roads” and all this nonsense. I said, “Well, that sounds good, but when I want to go to the truth, I go to the Bible because that’s God’s Word to us. If I want to know Him, He wrote that letter to us.”

She said, “He did?”

“Yes, God’s Word, the Bible is God’s Word to us. He tells us what He likes, what He doesn’t like. How much He loves us.” She was all over the love thing. I said, “Yes, but we can’t love except God loved us. We love because He loved us.”

The Lord just—I am not an intellectual, trust me. He just kept giving me things to say in a very loving, gentle way. I don’t know this woman, but I want her to know God’s Word is true. I had about thirty minutes. Finally, her connector came before mine.

In the end, I said, “Just think about it.” I said, “Do you have a Bible?”

“Well, yes, I have a Bible and many other spiritual books.”

I said, “No, that’s the true word of God. Read it. Look in here. Look here.” I gave her some places to go and she looked so bewildered. I said, “Just think about it. If you really want to know God, He’s told us what He’s like and who He is through the Bible. Read your Bible, not that.”

I thought that was so exciting because when I sat down two days ago, I was so discouraged. What can I do? What can I do? I’m a nobody in a little town, in a little state. What can I do? He said, “Warn them. Warn them with the Word.” So that’s exciting.

Nancy: "He overcame them by the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death." You’re not going to get engaged in conversations like that if you cherish your own life. Not that that’s probably going to be a situation where you’re going to physically lose your life, though today it’s a weird world. But you have to just come to the place where your own life, your own reputation, what people think about you, whether they respect you or not; you take it to the cross, and you let it go. That’s how Christians overcome.

Leslie: That’s Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, talking with a group of women about the letters Jesus wrote to a group of churches. We read those letters in the first chapters of Revelation. We’ll get back to that conversation.

First, do you realize you could be part of a discussion like this—a discussion with other women over God’s Word? Earlier this year, Nancy wrote a book called Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together. Now you can read that book with a small group and go through discussion questions and study questions together. And each week you’ll watch a video with teaching from Nancy, or from her friends like Dannah Gresh, Betsy Gómez, and Robyn McKelvy.

To get more details on using the Adorned Small Group Kit for your group, visit ReviveOurHearts.com, or call 1–800–569–5959. Ok, let’s get back to our audience who have been listened to Nancy teach on the letters to churches in Revelation.

Karen: Our society teaches us that we are good and that we should tolerate each other’s beliefs and ideas, and, "I appreciate you for this, and you should appreciate me." So we all do that, and we all think each other is just fine. Yet as you taught us the message to the church at Laodicea is: No, you are wicked, and you are in desperate need of a Savior.

I wrote down your question as a prayer: "Lord, is my assessment of myself in line with Your assessment of me?" I don’t think we hear enough about sin.

I’ll just tell you a quick story. We felt called to home school, which is something I never thought we would ever do. I never thought I would ever do it. I didn’t think I was capable nor did I really want to. But I realized that when I obeyed God and said I would do it, I discovered I was a very wicked woman. A lot of anger and things were coming out in me that I never even knew was there. God revealed that deceitful, desperately wicked heart inside of me.

I remember one time I was reading Scripture. I’m not going to say where it was because I’ll probably get it wrong. But it’s in the New Testament and the passage was, “The wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:20 NKJV). My eyes were a little blurry. I honestly believed that it said, “The wrath of mom does not produce the righteousness of God.” I had to re-read it. Well, I guess I am human. I’ve never forgotten that.

The Lord has had to teach me to overcome anger toward my own children. It’s been many, many years, and that thing will rear its head now and then on bad days. But it is something that we need to realize about ourselves and our human nature that I think our culture and our society just overlooks. We don’t realize how desperately in need of a Savior that we really are.

Nancy: When God exposes that stuff in our hearts, that’s what makes us candidates for the gospel. That’s what makes the gospel precious to us. If you don’t have any sin, if there aren’t areas of your life you can’t conquer, if there aren’t things that conquer you, then why would you go to Christ? Why would you need a Savior?

So the bad news is really the good news that points us to Christ. That’s why we need to be reminding ourselves that the gospel is not just what gets us saved. The gospel is what I need to preach to myself every day of my life because it’s what keeps me saved. It’s what keeps me growing. It’s what sanctifies me. It’s what takes the Word and makes it real in my life.

The wrath of mom will not produce the righteousness of God. If you’d like to know where that is, I believe it’s James 1. If you would like to go look that up, it’s there. Not the mom part. Mom's included.

God uses circumstances. I remember hearing a mom kind of similar to what you just said, Karen. A mom who had as I recall one child and then within a year or eighteen months she had twins. So she had three children age two and under, something like that. She said I was never an angry person until I had these kids.

But I said to her . . . I don’t know if I said it in exactly these words. It’s been a lot of years. But I remember saying something like, “You were always an angry person. You just didn’t know that you were and God loved you enough to, in threesome, use something—those children—to bring that anger to the surface so that you would have to face it.”

That woman could have gone on all her life without ever realizing what was really inside of there. So God used those circumstances, those three little children, to bring out that flesh that was in there.

So thank God for those children or that singleness or that boss or that health issue—whatever it is that exposes who you really are apart from Christ. You’ll never overcome without getting to Christ, and you won’t get to Christ until you see how desperately you need Him. As long as you think you’re doing okay—rich, prospered, need nothing—you’re not getting to Christ.

When you see yourself as the wretched one, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked . . . I think, moms, they have so much grace. They are amazing. I’m not a mom, but I really so admire what I see God doing in so many moms’ hearts as they let God use their children to get them to the cross. That’s hard, but it’s good.

Leslie: Jesus is the greatest conqueror the world has ever known. But His way of conquering looks backward to the world’s eyes. A group of women have been talking with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth about what it means to embrace the way of our suffering, conquering Christ. He provides incredible hope to women in every situation.

At Revive Our Hearts, we want to pass on that hope to women as well. And we can’t do it without listeners who make it possible.

Your support allows us to keep this program coming to you each weekday. When you support the ministry this week, we want to send you the brand new Revive Our Hearts wall calendar for 2018. The calendar’s theme is “The Truth That Sets us Free.” Each month you’ll see a new quote and piece of artwork that will remind you of the value of the truth and our freedom in Christ.

Ask for The Truth That Sets Us Free Wall Calendar when you donate any amount. Our number is 1–800–569–5959, or you can give online and request the calendar. The address is ReviveOurHearts.com.

Have you ever had a mystery guest in your church? Nancy will talk about that tomorrow. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants to support you and your church. It’s an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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