I’m a professional. And if you’re a Christian, you’re a professional too whether you feel like one or not.
I’m a physician. In my work as a physician I write prescriptions, deliver babies, perform surgeries, and give directions to other members of the healthcare team. I’m expected to provide consistent high-quality care to my patients using the best information and skills available to me. Those expectations are the same regardless of how I feel on any given day. I can’t get away with performing a surgery less skillfully simply because I’m tired, upset about a nasty email, or anxious to get to a birthday party for one of my grandchildren.
I don’t write prescriptions, perform surgery, or give medical orders in order to be a doctor. In fact, if I tried to do those things without the appropriate training, experience, and credentials I’d be hauled off to jail! My behavior flows out of who I have become. I really don’t have much choice in the matter. I’m either a doctor, or I’m not.
As a doctor I don’t TRY to do things; there are some things I simply DO because I AM a doctor.
Do I do those things perfectly every time? Absolutely not. But I’m responsible for giving it my absolute best every single time. I’m also responsible for taking care of myself well enough so that I can do my best, and for continuing to learn so that I remain at the forefront of my profession.
You are a professional too. If you’re a believer, if you’ve accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior and have chosen to be a part of God’s kingdom, you are a professional. You may not feel like one much of the time, but you are one. You don’t get a free pass on days when you just don’t feel like it. You probably don’t do it “right” all the time, but you’re either a Christian or you’re not. This is what you signed up for when you said yes to Jesus.
It’s just like marriage, or pregnancy. You’re either pregnant or you’re not. You’re either married or you’re not. You can’t be a little bit pregnant or a little bit married. And you can’t be a little bit Christian either.
What You Do as a Professional
So what does it mean to be a Christian? Just as doctors write prescriptions, do surgery, and give medical orders, Christians just do certain things. Some Christians are more experienced than others in some of these things, and some specialize in some areas more than others, but there are some things Christians just do:
- Leave the old life of sin behind (Rom. 6:1–4).
- Grow to increasingly become more like Jesus (Rom. 8:29; 2 Cor. 3:18).
- Overcome Satan and the kingdom of darkness (Rev. 12:11).
- Walk in a new life of victory in Christ (Rom. 8:4; Eph. 5:8).
- Look forward to the final expression of the kingdom of God when He makes all things new (Heb. 12:1–2; Rev. 21:1).
Among the things you do simply because you ARE a Christian is to stand as an overcomer against the kingdom of darkness.
Christians don’t do these things perfectly all the time. I sure don’t, and neither will you. Remember that doing these things does not make you a Christian; you do them because you are one. You do them because of who you are and who you are becoming.
This is an awesome privilege. Spiritual warfare is not about mustering up enough courage to stand up against the devil or frantically flinging around any spiritual weapon you can find to defeat an attack. Jesus simply was, and being who He was both stirred up the opposition and demonstrated His victory.
You, too, simply are a believer. All the warfare—and most importantly the victory—flows from that.
Standing Firm as a Believer
You don’t have to go out and do anything specific to prove you’re an overcomer. When you became a believer, an overcomer was part of what you became (Rev. 12:11). In Christ you are a new creation; you share in His new resurrection life (2 Cor. 5:17). You share in His victory over evil. You simply come to realize that, and take your stand.
You don’t go out and fight the devil in order to become an overcomer any more than I write a prescription in order to become a doctor; you overcome the devil because you ARE an overcomer.
I hope this truth burns into your soul like a permanent brand on cowhide. All the stuff you do as a Christian, especially the strategies of spiritual warfare, will become empty and ineffective if you simply try to employ them as techniques. If, on the other hand, you use them out of a deep conviction of who you are in Christ, of your new victorious nature as a believer, they will flow naturally and powerfully out of you as part of that river of living water Jesus promised (John 7:38).
In spiritual warfare this means you must first place your time and energy into being. Your Bible reading, your church attendance, your daily prayer, your connection with other believers, your speaking truth, your pleading the blood of Jesus—it’s not directed outward so much as it is taking your stand and reinforcing your stand as part of God’s kingdom. The outward techniques and strategies can look different over time and in different circumstances, but your stand as a believer never changes. When you invest in being a believer in this way you are engaging in spiritual warfare.
Standing Firm when Trouble Comes
This also means that you don’t accept defeat. Whenever your mind wants to focus on your problems, you simply bring it back to standing in Christ’s victory. Whenever something happens that feels like defeat—an illness, a financial setback, an overwhelming negative emotion, a sin—you refuse to allow that to define who you are. Instead, look at the circumstances honestly and then turn your attention back to your leader, Jesus, in whose victory you stand.
Your definition of victory won’t be the same as what the world would describe as victory. You’re not lording it over other people; you’re serving them. It’s possible that you may continue to experience emotional, physical, material, or relational challenges; it’s the cross fire we get from living in this sinful world until Jesus returns. But none of these things move you (Acts 20:24). You simply stand where you are as an overcomer, confident in the eventual outcome of victory.
Standing as an overcomer is not passive. You’re on a mission here, and that will involve spiritual disciplines. But that will all come from the inside, from a heart that is being transformed as a result of spending time in God’s presence. Your spiritual behaviors come from who you are on the inside.
Seeing yourself as a professional will change how you approach the Christian life. It has nothing to do with not being perfect, but it has everything to do with taking your stand on God’s side and remaining there regardless of anything else that happens.
Your Turn: What does imagining yourself as a professional mean for your life as a believer? How would it change your feelings or behavior? Leave a comment below.
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You can Overcome as a Believer!
There’s a lot more about this in my book Overcoming Fear and Anxiety through Spiritual Warfare.
And you can get a FREE CHAPTER right here.