Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? – 1 John 5:5 ESV

When John speaks of overcoming the world, he uses the Greek word, nikaō, which means {to carry off the victory or to come off victorious.’ It comes from the root word, nikē, which simply means “victory.” Of course, we know it as the name of a certain sporting goods manufacturer. John had a certain affinity for the word, using it five different times in his letter and 17 times in the Book of the Revelation. While exiled on the island of Patmos, John received a vision from Jesus Christ Himself, providing him with divine insight into the end times. John was instructed to write about what he heard and saw. Near the end of his book, he recorded these words from Jesus, “‘Behold, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’ And he said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.  The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son’” (Revelation 21:5-7 ESV). Jesus used the same Greek word to refer to those who will come off victorious in the end. But the victory will not be due to anyone’s efforts other than those of Jesus. He is the one who will declare, “It is done!” On the cross, He cried out, ”It is finished!” He work of sacrifice was completed. He had done what His Father had set out for Him to do. He had given His life as a payment for the sins of mankind. But He rose again, because there was still more for Him to do. At this very moment He sits at the right hand of the Father, mediating on our behalf. He is our personal representative before God the Father. It is His very resurrected life that allows us to come into the Father’s presence and enjoy intimate communion with Him. We enjoy the love of the Father because of the love of the Son. In fact, Jesus loves us so much, that He is actively involved in the everyday affairs of our lives. He didn’t just save us, He is out to transform us into His likeness. His goal for us is our ever-increasing holiness. In the Book of the Revelation, John recorded these words of Jesus to the church at Laodicea: Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Revelation 3:19-22 ESV). This was a church that Jesus described as “lukewarm.” They were neither hot or cold in their love for Him. They were contentedly complacent. In fact, Jesus went on to describe their attitude in less-than-flattering terms, “For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:17 ESV). They were blind to their own spiritual reality. Rather than see their need, they mistakenly assumed they were spiritually healthy and whole. But Jesus begged them to zealously repent. He described Himself as standing at the door of their fellowship, knocking and pleading to allow Him into their midst. He was offering to have fellowship with them.

It would seem that the key to our victory, our nikē, is an ongoing, uninterrupted fellowship with Jesus. Our relationship with Him did not end at the cross. He is not only our Savior, He is our Lord and King. He is our brother. He is our mediator and intercessor. It is He, along with the indwelling Holy Spirit, who makes it possible for us to live victorious. We can overcome the world, from its daily temptations to give in to “the desires of the flesh, and the desires of the eyes and pride of life” (1 John 2:16 ESV) to its ongoing hatred for us (1 John 3:13). It is our faith in Jesus as Savior and our soon-and-coming King that gives us the victory we seek. It is our faith in Jesus as the Christ and the Son of God. There is no other means by which we can be saved and there is no other way we can experience victory over this world. Human effort will fail. While Nike’s slogan, Just Do It, may sound reasonable and motivational, it will not work in the spiritual arena. Our faith must not be in ourselves and our own ability to pull off some degree of spiritual stamina. Our faith must reside in and remain in Jesus Christ. It is NOT our faith that makes the difference, but the object on which our faith rests: Jesus. We read these encouraging words from Jesus, spoken to the church at Laodicea. “I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see” (Revelation 3:18 ESV). He was speaking to believers. He was inviting them to come to Him for all that they needed. He was offering Himself as the source for all their spiritual deficiencies. Jesus stands ready to help us. He wants to make us victorious. But we keep our faith solidly placed on Him and nothing and no one else.