How to Be an Overcomer

By: Rev. Sam Harris; ©2001
Three times in Revelation 3 we find the phrase “he who overcomes.” But how do we practically learn to overcome? Rev. Sam Harris gives some helpful suggestions.

How To Be An Overcomer


I have been working my way through the Book of Revelation and am currently in Chapter 3. Three times in this chapter, vs. 5, 12, 21, is the phrase “he who overcomes.” The promise after this phrase is a very positive one from God! I want to be an “over­comer” but I feel like an “under achiever.” Can you give me some helpful suggestions?


The context of this phrase comes in Christ’s words, through John, to the church at Sardis— the dead church; Philadelphia—a humble church with no word of reproof; and the church at Laodicea—the lukewarm church. The Greek word for “overcome” is nikao which means “to subdue, conquer, overcome, prevail, or get the victory.” Hopefully, that’s the desire of every growing Christian. Peter writes in I Peter 5:8 & 9a: “Our adversary, the devil prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him….” This is a good question, as we do not want to be devoured by Satan, the roaring lion.

Let me offer some helpful suggestions realizing that this is a moment by moment, daily process.

  1. We must be consistent in our prayer life and daily reading of God’s Word. Take the time to carefully read Psalm 119 as to the importance of God’s Word in our daily lives. James 5:16 reminds us that: “the effective prayer of a righteous man (and woman) can accomplish much.” Paul writes in I Thessalonians 5:17 that we are to “pray without ceas­ing.” I am firmly convinced that all victories, and being an overcomer, begin with confes­sion, repentance, and prayer.
  2. It’s important to claim the promises of God. Again, the words of Peter (II Peter 1:4), “For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature….” The promises are given for our salvation as we see in being “partakers of His divine nature.” The promises are given for our instruction and learning. Through them, we can find God’s will and guidance for our lives. As I go to work each morning, I ask the Lord to give me an opportunity to encourage or minister to someone in need, and He always does! Each day, I claim the whole armor of God and His protection around my family. I pray that He will help us to keep our eyes focused on Him every moment of the day. These are but a few of the promises that God’s Word offers to us for our daily living.
  3. Being an overcomer is teaching me to be patient. This is a lifetime process and an area where I struggle the most! We read in James 1:4: “Let endurance (patience) have its perfect result that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” Most of us lack patience, and God allows troubles and trials to come so that our patience will increase. We learn patience by waiting on the Lord. It takes time for an oak tree to grow—and that’s the way patience works in my life!
  4. Part of being overcomer is a desire to praise Him. Several passages come to mind; “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord” (Ps. 150:6). David was on the run and hiding in a cave when he wrote these words: “I will praise Thee at all times; His praise shall continually be on my mouth.” God desires our praise for everything. Again, reading the words of Paul in I Thessalonians 5:17: “In everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I have been working in the ICU waiting room of our local hospital and it’s amazing to me how many people still praise the Lord in spite of difficult circumstances. Their trust truly is in Jesus as the Great Physician!
  5. Finally, seek to be active doing His will. We are actively doing His will when we wit­ness to the lost and seek to bring them to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. We are actively doing His will when we faithfully serve Him with our time, talent, and gifts. We can be overcomers by actively seeking and walking in His will.

Hope this is helpful to you. Being an overcomer is a daily process. Remember: “Our adversary, the devil prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him….”

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