What Causes Hunger in a Believer? – Part Two

We are looking at having a hunger for more of God… And we examined:

1> Receive hunger as a gift

2> Ground yourself in the fear of the Lord

3> Read the Bible to develop lasting hunger

4. Express Your Devotion Through Prayer

As you read the Word, your understanding of God grows as does your love and devotion to God, and prayer becomes the way you express that love and devotion.

Prayer looks different in different people’s lives. I pray early in the morning after spending time quietly listening for His voice and reading His Word, the Bible. As I pray I reflect on al the amazing and wonderful things He has done in my life, my family, and in the ministry He has blessed me with. 

I just can’t help but magnify God in worship for all that He’s done and created. Prayer is a discipline of our faith, but when our hearts are devoted to Jesus, it doesn’t feel like a chore. It’s a deep pleasure.

There are so many ways that you can practice prayer. Find ways to pray that help you express your devotion to Jesus and inspire a greater hunger for Him, not based necessarily on what everyone else does, but from your heart of pure devotion to Jesus. 

And remember prayer is basically building a relationship with the Lord God and not just a way to receive what you think you need in your life at this point in time.

5. Let Encounters Fuel Your Hunger

Encounters with God – experiences where you are touched by His presence and His power – are where our theology becomes a reality. When we encounter God, we meet Him in a very special way. When we encounter and experience God (Father’s love, Jesus, Holy Spirit) our faith in Him becomes stronger and we feel more secure and connected to Him. 

Not all encounters with God will be dramatic, but every encounter with God has drawn me into more hunger for Him, as I long to know His heart better and hear what He has to say. But each encounter – big or small – has strengthened my faith.

Thomas told the other disciples that he wouldn’t believe that Jesus had risen from the dead, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side,” (John 20:25b NIV). 

When Thomas eventually met Jesus, Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29 NIV). 

What’s Jesus saying? I believe He is saying that encounters and personal experiences are good but they don’t create faith. However, they strengthen faith. Faith comes to us simply by hearing His voice through His Word and in prayer. Romans 10:17 states: “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word (Rhema) of Christ.” (ESV)

There are many people who are hungry for God that have never experienced God physically like Thomas did, and yet they believe in Him and continue to press in. I believe that they’re more blessed than those who have big encounters with God. 

God is present and good, whether we feel Him or not. Encounter is a beautiful part of our journey of developing hunger for God. It fuels our desire, our passion, and our hunger, but it can’t determine our faith in who God is.

6. Avoid Hunger-Suppressing Fillers

We’re all made with a built in desire for God. We’re made to be hungry for Him. But if we snack and fill up in other areas that satisfy for a short amount of time, that hunger for God will grow dull. These “fillers” look different for different people. For some, fillers are numbing habits, for others perhaps a better salary, bigger success, more possessions, or greater status, even within Christian circles.

The way to figure out if something in your life is a filler is to ask yourself how you’re motivated. 

Love is always self-sacrificing, and the sinful nature is always motivated by selfish gain. Who is the beneficiary of the things you’re pursuing? Is it God, others, or you? The things that will develop hunger for God in you will be motivated by your love for God, they’ll be things you do for others as a result of God’s love for you. These things will result in God being glorified, rather than your personal gain.

7. Pursue a God-Focused Life – Be “Christ-Centered”

God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – must be at the centre of our lives. We must put Him first in our lives…

Then our hearts will be filled with the fear of the Lord, and all our motivations will be for His glory. All our affections will be focused on God, and our behaviours will come into line with that.

Matthew 6:31-33 NET “So then, donʼt worry saying, ʻWhat will we eat?ʼ or ʻWhat will we drink?ʼ or ʻWhat will we wear?ʼ For the unconverted pursue these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But above all pursue his kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Remember our lead verse … 

Matthew 5:6, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (NIV). 

Matthew 22:37 (NET) “Jesus said to him, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’” 

So, keep God and your relationship with Him as the central focus of your daily life. 

Conclusion:

So, our prayer should be:

That our hunger for God will increase every day

That God will enable and empower us to stay focused on Him in everything we do

That our fellowship with the Holy Spirit will grow sweeter and deeper and that we can and will experience His presence every day

That through His Word (Bible) and His world we will see the hand of God active in our lives on a daily basis

That our lives will be ever increasingly filled with His joy and contentment

That we may live a life loving and pleasing Him as you walk in His love and give it away to those who do not know Him personally

What Causes Hunger in a Believer? – Part One

Earlier today I spent two hours with some young disciples of Jesus. I’m guessing they were between 18 and 30 and the leader was in his mid fifties. The young people had such a hunger for God. For more of God. They were attentive to everything I was sharing. They asked questions. They “leaned into” the material I was teaching and interacted with it and with me. It was an amazing two hours that blessed me and super-charged me. I felt encouraged and excited. Not drained and depleted as I often do after teaching. 

When people are hungry for more of God it is so exciting to teach. When they are not hungry it is like pushing a dead horse uphill all the way. An effort and very unrewarding for the teacher. For me. 

So afterwards I began thinking about the difference between today’s experience and that which I most often encounter when teaching. And it seems to be that it simply boils down to how hungry people are for more of God. And hunger leads to people being expectant, wanting to receive from God through the teachings. Anticipating meeting God in some way within the teaching.

So, the question I asked myself: How Can A Person Stay Hungry for God?

We read in Matthew 5:6, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (NIV). 

It seems that the greatest blessing comes to those who are hungry and thirsting for Jesus. Disciples who hunger after the bread of life and thirst for living water (to put it in Bible terms).

So how can we develop this hunger for God, and then stay hungry for Him?

1> Receive Hunger as a Gift

Hunger for God isn’t something that we conjure up for ourselves. It’s a gift that we can only receive from Him. A lot of Christians try to coerce themselves into hunger for God, thinking, “I’ve got to have more faith, I’ve got to be more hungry, I’ve got to be more loving.”

In Galatians 2:20 we read, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (NIV). 

In the King James translation, we read “I live by the faith of the Son of God.” 

When we grasp that Christ is alive inside of us, that we are no longer alive in our old ways, then we can understand that all of our ability to live the Christian life comes from Jesus. All our ability to love God comes from Him. Our hunger for God is because of Jesus’ passion for the Father and the Holy Spirit.

So, we need to simply ask for this hunger for more of God to grow within us. It’s a gift and God most certainly wants to give this gift to each and every one of His children.

2. Ground Yourself in the Fear of the Lord

True hunger for God comes from a revelation of the fear of the Lord. When you’re grounded in the fear of the Lord, you want your life to bless Him, for His sake, more than for your own gain. Our hunger is fueled knowing that Jesus is the center of our salvation rather than ourselves. It’s all by Him, through Him and for Him.

In the Old Testament, the Israelites were chosen as a nation to be priests and kings for God’s purposes and His glory. When they understood this, they were on the right track. When, on the other hand, they focused on themselves, whether they were blessed or not, they lost their way and followed other gods. The fear of the Lord was not at the centre of their hearts.

We develop the fear of the Lord by understanding who He is, and who He has made us to be. When you’re grounded in the fear of the Lord, you want God to be glorified in your life. Your entire motivation for your life is to please Him. 

As you live a life worthy of Jesus Christ, a life that glorifies Him in thought, word, and deed then a deep hunger for God overwhelms you.

3. Read the Bible to Develop Lasting Hunger

How do we know that the God we’re relating to is the true and living God? I’m so thankful that He’s given us His Word. It’s by reading and studying His Word that we discover His ways and His character. We can’t learn God’s ways without knowing His Word.

By reading the Bible every day and spending time listening to His voice, we develop a lasting hunger for God. I have read the Bible, cover to cover, every year for the last 45 years. Reading and studying God’s Word has absolutely transformed me. It has caused me to be more in love with Him, and to be increasingly more hungry to know Him.

I urge you to develop a disciplined approach to reading God’s Word. It will create a broad and wide foundation for your spiritual life. Your passion for God will grow, your fear of the Lord will grow and you’ll develop discernment about how He’s leading you to live your life

What Occupies Your Time?

It is mid-morning as I sit in front of my computer screen to write this blog. A blog that was suppose to be written and published yesterday. But, yesterday happened and my writing time simply seemed to vanish. There was a lot to accomplish yesterday and by the time the day was over a number of things simply did not receive any of my time or attention. So, late last night I sat for a few minutes to think through what I had spent my time doing throughout the day and why a blog did not warrant any of my time or attention. Why it seemed not to be a priority when it should have been.

Arising out of this not unique experience of running out of time before running out of things needing to be accomplished I asked myself, “What occupies my time?” And so I ask you the same question: “What occupies your time?”

May I be so bold as to mention a few observations I have made recently.

1> A number of believers seem to be preoccupied with a number of conspiracy theories that are still going the rounds out there. I am connected to enough social media apps to note how often these conspiracy theories pop up and how emotionally some people’s involvement is.

2> The amount of time and effort that goes into the “latest prophetic words” from some of the leading ministries in the United States… and even some not-so-well known ministries complements of several on-line web sites that major in sharing every prophetic word obviously, at times, without testing them to God’s Word. 

3> The sharing of news items off of some questionable web sites which can very quickly be disproved as simply not true. One recently I read I knew was wrong (the man supposedly involved had been shot dead when I was a teenager) could be disproved in less than 90 seconds simply by a little basic research and some common sense. 

4> Teachings that are supposedly based in Scripture (Scripture is quoted) that are seriously not biblical and certainly not doctrinally sound. But, because they are from either well known ministries or are well presented by a charismatic teacher or preacher people believe what is being taught and share the links with others.

5> People’s pet peeves which they simply won’t let go. And which they seem to take some pleasure in sharing with others. 

And I also note that in many of the on-line posts by believers and followers of Jesus He is seldom mentioned. The topics shared and discussed are many and varied but seldom is Jesus discussed. The focus is so often “us” and not Him, our situations and not the Kingdom’s agenda. And, in fact, seldom do people share what they are learning in their Bible reading and study which might edify others when shared.

So, join me please in examining what occupies your time as a believer. And, then let’s all be honest and real with ourselves and make some needed adjustments.

WHAT IF… 

I had some “what if” thoughts the other day that I wanted to share… 

WHAT IF the church really believed that Jesus was as powerful as Scripture says that He is? 

WHAT IF we were not afraid to BEG GOD for ridiculous things, knowing that He is able? 

WHAT IF we REALLY believed that Acts 2:41-47 was actually the starting point of all that God wants to do through the church and NOT the watermark? 

WHAT IF we really believed that a life dedicated to Christ means that we are completely His…not just on Sunday? 

WHAT IF every church became a cheerleader of other churches and not critics? 

WHAT IF we really believed the church existed to CHANGE the world and not just to “meet my needs!” 

WHAT IF we really believe that teenagers and children are worth the investment and poured resources into them?

WHAT IF we really believed God’s Kingdom should grow through the church instead of being stagnant? 

WHAT IF we were willing to lay aside our personal preferences for the sake of reaching those who are far from God? 

WHAT IF we refused to participate in slandering and tearing down another person? 

WHAT IF we sought to embrace God’s plan for our lives (and churches) instead of trying to get Him to bless ours? 

Those are just some of the things I’ve been wondering… 

A Simple Faith

I read about a very religious father whose son was studying for the ministry. The boy had decided to go to Europe for an advanced degree, and the father worried that his simple faith would be spoiled by sophisticated, unbelieving professors. “Don’t let the take Jonah away from you,” he admonished, figuring the swallowed-by-a-great-fish story might be the first part of the Bible to go. Two years later when the son returned, the father asked, “Do you still have Jonah in your Bible?”

The son laughed. “Jonah! That story isn’t even in your Bible.”

The father replied, “It certainly is! What do you mean?”

Again the son laughed and insisted, “It’s not in your Bible. God ahead, show it to me.”

The old man fumbled through his Bible, looking for the Book of Jonah, but he couldn’t find it. At last he checked the table of contents for the prophet page. When he turned there, he discovered the three pages composing Jonah had ben carefully cut from his Bible.

“I did it before I went away,” said the son. “What’s the difference between my losing the Book of Jonah through studying under non-believers or your losing it through neglect? 

Someone has observed that the worst dust storm in history would happen if all church members who were neglecting their Bibles dusted them off simultaneously. 

Sometimes I Deceive Myself

https://rhm.podbean.com/e/sometimes-i-deceive-myself/

 

Sometimes I Deceive Myself

Slogan: Deception Infection

I don’t watch a lot of television but I do watch on You Tube parts of American Idol

I am careful, since it does sound kind of … idolatrous

If you were to watch the first few shows of the season — when the judges travel around the country for auditions

You soon become aware of how easily people are self-deceived

You watch people trying out for a spot on the show when competition starts in ernest

It is seriously difficult to comprehend how many horrifically bad singers truly believe they deserve to be the next vocal superstar! Read more

Preach To Yourself!

Sometimes we have no one to encourage us at the break of day, so we have to speak to ourselves, saying something like: “This is the day the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24). Try saying that aloud with enthusiasm upon rising each day. It will make a difference to the way your day unfolds because you are looking at your day in a positive light.

Outside of praying, your most important words are the ones you say to yourself. These words are most often silent but significant. Pop psychologists call this positive self-talk, but I’m going to skip the trends and go straight to Scripture. Did Paul, the apostle who wrote over 1/3 of the New Testament, ever talk to himself?

He said he strove to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV). He said, “For in my inner being I delight in God’s law” (Romans 7:22 NIV). He said, “I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day” (2 Timothy 1:12). And, he also was the one who said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

One of my mentors long ago preached a sermon on how to handle negative thoughts, and I still remember the outline (and can actually locate my notes): Don’t curse them; Don’t nurse them; Don’t rehearse them; Disperse them. That’s still a good formula! Push out your negative thoughts — worry, anxiety, fear, pessimism — by filling your mind with God’s Word, the Scriptures, especially His promises. And then preach those promises to yourself. 

A medical doctor who is also a world-class athlete was asked how he accomplished all that he did even when approaching the age of 60 (including running triathlons). He said, “I’ve learned to talk to myself instead of listening to myself. If I listen to myself, I hear all the reasons why I should give up. I hear that I’m too tired, too old, too weak to make it. But if I talk to myself, I can give myself the encouragement and words I need to hear to keep running and finish the race.”

In Psalm 42 the psalmist said to himself, “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God” (verse 11).

We don’t know the author of Psalm 42, but it might have been King David, because he knew how to preach to himself when needed. As a younger man, a series of disastrous problems had befallen David in a town called Ziklag. His family and the families of his men had been kidnapped, and even his own men we’re turning on him and talking about stoning him to death. 

What did David do? He preached to himself. He “strengthened himself in the Lord his God” (1 Samuel 30:6). And in that strength he rose up to tackle his problems with a positive spirit that came from his belief in God’s watchful care of his life. 

Jeremiah did the same. After watching his city go up in flames and his nation go down in defeat, he said in Lamentations 3:21-23: “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

This is what we must do. If we listen to the negative tapes looping around in our thoughts, we’ll sink into the pessimism of the devil. How could I have been so stupid? What’s wrong with me? Everything is falling apart. This is a disaster. Why is this happening to me? 

Stop the tape! Here’s a better one: I know in Whom I believe, and I am persuaded He is able to keep what I have entrusted to Him. Why are you cast down? Hope in God. I’ll soon be praising Him again, for He is the health of my countenance. I’m going to recall something and keep it in mind — the Lord is merciful, and His compassions won’t fail me. They are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

We are constantly processing thoughts. Depending on how active your mind is, you may produce more than 45,000 thoughts a day. Whew! It might be compared to a flock of birds flying in and out of your mind.

To complicate our minds more, not all these are conscious thoughts, and sometimes they pass so fleetingly we barely notice them. However, every time you have a thought, it triggers an electrochemical reaction in your body … Each thought sets of a biological process — about 400 billion at once. Because of that thought, chemicals surge through the body, producing electromagnetic waves. These set off emotions, which affect how we behave. Science simply confirms what Scripture has been saying all along: we are shaped, in large part, by our thoughts. 

So, you should be careful what you think and what “preach to yourself.” As Ephesians 4:29 NLT advises: “Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” This, of course, includes the words that only you hear as you speak to yourself. 

A Side Order of Stupidity

I have been preaching the Gospel for almost 50 years and with every year that moves by (and they are going quicker these days), I am more and more convinced that too many of us, me included, fail to focus on the main meal and get sidetracked on a side order of stupidity. I believe the main course of the meal is the love of God and that I need to be focused on that instead of the many “side orders” that come along regularly and systematically like waves on the shore of the sea. 

I have seriously grown less interested in the side issues (orders), the niceties, and the doctrinal trivia. This world desperately needs for us to keep the main thing the main thing. So, I have determined that my central message must be God’s astonishing love. It is a message that is always new, never old, never dusty or musty.

In many ways I am inspired by John, the last living apostle or the original twelve. His great topic, needless to say, was love (see the daily blogs for the past ten days). He featured love in his Gospel, and love dominated his first epistle. They say that as he got older, he reached the point where he preached nothing else. Occasionally, some impatient member of the audience would interrupt him: “Brother John, you’ve already preached that one. Tell us something new!”

“Very well,” the beloved disciple would say with a smile. “A new commandment I give to you — that you love one another.”

John was not senile. He simply understood more deeply than the rest of us that there is one item of news that never stops being new; the life-changing love of God. 

God’s love should flow from us in practical and real ways. In every relationship we have — with God, self, friends, neighbours, and enemies — Christians have a foundational, non-negotiable responsibility spelled l-o-v-e. There is no person in the world — including God Himself — whom God does not expect us to love.

And that is why I can say that God’s love changes everything. Think of it: What is life except relationships? And what are relationships without love? If we lack the ability to love, we lack the ability to truly live. Or, at least, to live the “more abundant” life God wants us to enjoy (John 10:10b). 

So, let me note a few relational benefits of being loved by God:

1> Because God loves us, we can love Him

“In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins … We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:10, 19).

2> Because God loves us, we can love ourselves

“You shall love your neighbour as yourself” (Matthew 19:19).

3> Because God loves us, we can love one another

“Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:11).

4> Because God loves us, we can love our neighbour

“And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39).

5> Because God loves us, we can love our enemies

“You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust … You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:43-45, 48).

So, let’s stop looking at all the somewhat stupid and pointless things that occupy our time and emotions and let’s go back to the main thing – that God loves us and then learn, as disciples of Jesus, to walk in love and give it away.

Answer Questions – Ask Questions

Too often as the church we are answering questions instead of asking questions. Worse than that – we are answering questions no one is asking. We are that far out of touch with the society in which we live and work. And the church has fewer answers than it realizes, or it would demonstrate more impact. But I get ahead of myself.

The book of Acts is the story of Jesus working powerfully through frail and broken humanity to aggressively expand His Church. But Acts wasn’t written to show us how to do church. It was written to show us how to advance the Church in an unreached world. Talk about reaching the unreached! Nobody has had the challenge that the early church did. As the world’s first Christians, they were the only Christian in the world. All the vast unconverted pagan empires lay before that small pack of Jewish men and women that Jesus commissioned. If anybody should be counted experts at reaching the unreached, it was they. Because to them, everybody they came into contact with was unreached. 

But they took Acts 1:8 (see note) seriously, and lived that verse out to fulfillment. If we want to witness Kingdom expansion like the apostles did, it’s not enough to know what they did. We need to do what they did. Two thousand years later, we flatter ourselves over and above our first-century counterparts, imagining we have the advantage of superior knowledge. But knowledge does not get people saved. Nor does it expand the Kingdom. We know a lot about a lot of things and we certainly know how to make profound statements about current issues. However, now is not the time in Church history to wax lyrical. Ours is a day for living out, not sounding smart. Besides, the Church has fewer answers than it realizes, or it would demonstrate more impact than it has. We should be asking the right questions instead of providing wrong answers to questions no one is actually asking. 

As a rabbi, Jesus’s method of teaching involved asking searching questions. In the gospels, Jesus asks 307 questions but only answered two. Why? Because Jesus knew that when we start asking questions, we begin to experience breakthroughs and gain deeper insight into our situation. 

During the day of the Judges (Old Testament), bandits and enemies had the Israelites’ backs to the ropes, beating their self-dependency out of them. There are eerie parallels between the days when “everyone did what was right in their own eyes” (Judges 21:25) and our gimmicks, antics, and over-confidence today. Gideon may have been a coward, hiding in the bottom of a winepress against the onslaught of what was befalling his culture, but he turned the tide when he started asking the right questions.

“If the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?” (Judges 6:13).

“Where are all His wonders that our ancestors told us about?” (Judges 6:13)

I have a sneaking suspicion God’s been waiting quite a while for us to ask the right questions. But the important questions don’t sell books or make the writer or preacher popular. The right questions are seldom popular. Asking them often guarantees that you won’t be asked back to speak again. I don’t have the corner market on the right questions, but some of them might sound like:

      • Why does the Church seem to be losing when we’re on the winning team?
      • Why does the average Christian seem bored when Jesus is suppose to provide life more abundant?
      • Why do most of the stories we hear about God working powerfully, like He did in Acts, tend to come from those working in unreached areas of the world?
      • Has the dynamic faith we read about in Acts been tamed into an impotent ghost of its former self?
      • Have we replaced the power of the Holy Spirit with automation, processes, systems, money, and crowds?
      • Why have we stripped outreach of risk and faith, and opted for security instead of dependence upon God?
      • What’s the way back to becoming the dynamic force that Jesus unleashed on the world two thousand years ago? 
      • Does the Church even know it has lost its way, or is it like the Laodiceans, blind, poor, and wretched without realizing it? (Revelation 3:14-22)

So, I think it is time to ask questions and not continue to answer questions no one is even asking. Just a thought. 

Note: Acts 1:8 reads, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Hyper-conquerors

God’s love is so amazing. It is constant and unfailing. And, amazingly, it is also triumphant. Not only will it endure all circumstance, it will overcome all circumstances: “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37). We are not merely conquerors; we are more than conquerors. What can this mean?

The Greek word for “conquer” is hypernikao, a compound word made up of ‘hyper’ (“more, above, beyond”) and niko (“to conquer or prevail”). The term is a unique one, occurring nowhere in the Bible but this particular verse. It has no single-word counterpart in English, so we must cobble together two or three words to get the sense of what it means. Scholars have tried such phrases as “overwhelmingly conquerors” and “beyond conquering,” but my favourite by far is “more than conquerors.” Many of the more recent translations contain that familiar phrase. 

But let’s try another one: “hyper-conquerors.” If has a modern ring to it and suggests the idea of a new league of superheroes — “The Hyper-Conquerors”! I think I like it. Let’s try it out on what Paul is telling us:

    • In the midst of all these things that try to bring us down (tribulation, distress, persecution, you name it), we are hyper-conquerors.
    • When facing any problems that life can dish out — you are a hyper-conqueror.
    • In struggling with that problem you’re worrying about this very day, which is ____________ (fill in the blank), you are a hyper-conqueror.

The very term lifts our spirits and seems to infuse us with a ray of hope. But there’s more to being a hyper-conqueror than just emotional hype. If we were merely conquerors, we would have nothing to complain about. We would neutralize the forces that opposed us. We would prevail. But as more than conquerors, whatever comes against us actually ends up working in our favour. Every difficulty that challenges us finally serves to prove the love of God, from which nothing can separate us. When those evils lie in chaotic rubble, God’s love stands high and unfazed like an immoveable monolith.

How does this work in real life? Here’s a story that gives us the answer.

During his reign of terror, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini turned his war machine on Ethiopia and expelled all the Christian missionary there. Christians everywhere began praying immediately. The answer came in two waves: first, in the protection of the expelled missionaries; and second, in reopening the doors of Ethiopia to the Gospel after the military pride of Italy lay broken in the dust and Mussolini was executed by his own countrymen. 

But during the missionaries’ absence, the Word of God multiplied in Ethiopia, and the returning missionaries found a larger, stronger church than the one they left. One group, the United Presbyterian Mission, had only sixty believers when the missionaries were expelled. On their return, the sixty had grown to thirty churches with a membership of sixteen hundred! These believers were more than conquerors.

With God’s love holding us when evils attack, we don’t merely prevail; we turn every dramatic event to our advantage. We feed on adversity and grow stronger. The greater the problem, the more we gain wisdom, spiritual power, and maturity. That’s what it means to be a hyper-conqueror. 

Nothing is meaningless in the world of the believer. Everything has a purpose; and in a world ruled by a loving God, the purpose is always to use every encounter to shape us into the perfect image of our Lord. Every difficulty will be turned to our favour and help us to become “perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:4). Or, in Paul’s words, to become more than conquerors.