The Victorious Christian Life

A Lesson Series for the Earnest Christian

© 2002 by Thomas W. Finley, 2013 Revised Edition

Lesson Eleven: Characteristics of the Overcomer - A Seeking Heart

I believe that looking at some characteristics of an overcomer’s life will help us shape the attitudes of our heart. Let us not be discouraged if we do not feel that all of these traits fit us fully at this time. Yet, where we realize our shortcomings, let us open up to the Lord in prayer about them, sincerely inviting Him to work in our lives in these areas. And, let us come to the throne of grace, that we may receive grace to help us where we fall short.

This list of characteristics may not be complete, but these are the marks of victorious Christians that I sense are crucial. This list comes out of many years of observation, reading (the Bible and biographies) and personal experience. My prayer is that the things we discuss here will touch your heart and inspire you to reach higher.

A Seeking Heart

To my observation the most foundational characteristic is that of a seeking heart. It may well be that this trait overlaps some other traits, which we will mention. That is okay. The objective here is to see that what is at the core of the victorious believer is a heart that relentlessly pursues after God, and the things of God.

The overcomer is never satisfied with the status quo. He or she always wants to know God more deeply, to know His truth more accurately, to know His ways more fully, and to follow Him more exactly. While others may be satisfied with going to church on Sunday and reading the Bible at least a little during the week, the overcomer yearns for more fellowship in His presence, more feeding in His word, more real spiritual fellowship with others, and more fruit and reality in his life. The overcomer longs to see God work more in his life, and in the lives of those around him. Seekers of the Lord are not satisfied with what is taught and ministered in most churches today. They seek to learn more and to go deeper with God.

Let’s be honest. Both according to the Bible and according to our experience, the overcomers are a minority among God’s people. We will see this truth as we look at some passages on seeking the Lord. Only a few of the kings recorded in the historical books of the Old Testament seemed to really please the Lord, for at least part of their lives. Often, the Scripture describes them as seeking the Lord. We shall also see that the remnant that left the idolatry in the northern kingdom of Israel to return to Jerusalem for worship at God’s altar, as well as the remnant that returned from Babylon to rebuild the temple, are both described as those who sought the Lord.

Here are some Biblical examples of those who sought the Lord:

And Asa did good and right in the sight of the Lord his God, for he removed the foreign altars and high places, tore down the sacred pillars, cut down the Asherim, and commanded Judah to seek the Lord God of their fathers and to observe the law and the commandment . . . And the kingdom was undisturbed under him. . . . Now the Spirit of God came on Azariah the son of Oded, and he went out to meet Asa and said unto him, “Listen to me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: the Lord is with you when you are with Him. And if you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you.” . . . And they [Asa and all Judah and Benjamin] entered into the covenant to seek the Lord God of their fathers with all their heart and soul. (2 Chron. 14:2-4, 5b, 15:1-2, 12)

And the Lord was with Jehoshaphat because he followed the example of his father David’s earlier days and did not seek the Baals, but sought the God of his father, followed His commandments, and did not act as Israel did. So the Lord established the kingdom in his control, and all Judah brought tribute to Jehoshaphat, and he had great riches and honor. (2 Chron. 17:3-5)

Jehoshaphat’s example shows us that through seeking the Lord we can realize the truth concerning God’s ways and then walk in that truth. The Lord honored this king’s seeking, which included his desire to pursue God’s will.

“O God, Thou art my God; I shall seek Thee earnestly; my soul thirsts for Thee, my flesh yearns for Thee, in a dry and weary land where there is no water” (Ps. 63:1). This is David’s prayer in a psalm of David.

In another psalm we again see David earnestly seeking God: “When Thou didst say, ‘Seek My face,’ my heart said to Thee, ‘Thy face, O Lord, I shall seek’” (Ps. 27:8). These verses show that an important part of seeking the Lord is seeking His presence. Such seeking is our reaching out to God from the depths of our spirit in order to be in a living spiritual union with Him. Psalm 105 tells us to “Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His face continually” (Ps. 105:4).

“So I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes” (Dan. 9:3). This word is Daniel’s testimony. Daniel’s example shows us that there are some occasions in our lives when we need to seek the Lord with special prayers, and even fasting. The sackcloth and ashes signify a deep penitence, or an occasion of special solemnity.

For the Levites left their pasture lands and their property and came to Judah and Jerusalem, for Jeroboam and his sons had excluded them from serving as priests to the Lord. And he set up priests of his own for the high places, for the satyrs, and for the calves which he had made. And those from all the tribes of Israel who set their hearts to seek the Lord God of Israel, followed them to Jerusalem to sacrifice to the Lord God of their fathers. (2 Chron. 11:14-16)

The passage above speaks of the remnant of faithful Jews who left the idolatry in the northern kingdom under Jeroboam in order to worship at God’s altar in Jerusalem. They overcame the degraded situation by leaving their lands behind in order to follow God’s way of worship. Their seeking resulted in some radical action. Importantly, this passage shows us that we can set our hearts to seek the Lord. We believers should not be passive. This is most important - we can initiate our seeking of the Lord.

“And the sons of Israel who returned from exile and all those who had separated themselves from the impurity of the nations of the land to join them, to seek the Lord God of Israel, ate the Passover.” (Ezra 6:21)

The quote from Ezra above describes another very important remnant among God’s people. Because of their disobedience, the Jews in Judah were captured and led into captivity in Babylon, starting about 604 B. C. This captivity was prophesied to last seventy years (Jer. 25:11-12).

When the seventy years were up, Cyrus, king of Persia, decreed that the Jews could return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple (Ezra 1:1-3). However, only a remnant of the Jews returned to Jerusalem under the leadership of Ezra and others. Most of the Jews stayed in Babylon because they had accumulated lands and possessions and did not want to leave them. It was only a minority of God’s people, who really desired to seek the Lord, who returned to God’s chosen city to rebuild His temple. These were the overcomers of their day, who were obedient in carrying out God’s plan with the temple.

The reward of the seekers

God has a special reward for the real seekers after Him. In Psalm 24 below, note the victorious life, and the reward, of the seeker.

Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands, and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him, who seek Your face. Selah. (Ps. 24: 3-6, NKJV).

A striking New Testament verse concerning the reward for the seeker is Hebrews 11:6: “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Heb. 11:6, KJV).

Perhaps the most stirring verse of all the promises for the seeker is that he will find God Himself. “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jer. 29:13). If you look at the context of this verse you will discover that God was speaking to the Jews who were taken captive into Babylon. He was promising them that when the seventy years of captivity were up, He would bring back to Jerusalem those who sought Him with all of their hearts. As we saw in the passage from Ezra, this return from captivity became a reality for the real seekers after the Lord.

God is looking for victorious Christians. He longs to see His children walk in victory. But, He knows that it takes a seeking heart. There may be plenty of failures when the seeker after God first begins his journey. It takes a while to learn some of the secrets of the victorious life, and to have them realized in our experience. But, as we continue to genuinely seek after God Himself, and the things of God, victory becomes ours in increasing measure.

It is encouraging that in both of the remnant cases cited that the people of God were in a negative situation. Yet, it was from there that they began to seek the Lord and come out. You may feel that you have been in some kind of captivity, or land of idolatry, away from God and His purpose for your life. Be encouraged. From wherever we are, we can always repent and have a fresh start. God is ever so patient, always waiting for us to respond. Let us set our hearts to seek the Lord! If we sincerely and diligently seek Him, we will surely find Him and His plan for our lives. This will include a life of victory. He will also surely reward our seeking after Him.

Seekers of Christ Seekers of Christ Seekers of Christ Seekers of Christ Seekers of Christ

And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart" (Jer. 29:13, NASB)