What is spiritual victory?

“Those who conquer will inherit these things, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.”

Revelation 21:7

Dear members and friends,

Many people who consider themselves to be educated and intelligent these days might feel that rejecting Christianity is a rational thing to do. In a way, they are right to think in such a way considering all the hardship, suffering, and confusion the Christian Institution has caused for nearly 2,000 years. It always saddens my heart whenever I read the history of Christianity as a religious institution, because from the beginning it departed from the teachings of Jesus, the one they claimed to worship as their Messiah. Jesus never taught to have hierarchy, classism, division, or even claim authority over other humans. So where did the hierarchy, classism, division, and human authoritarianism come from? Of course, they arose from the greedy hearts of humans who saw an opportunity to satisfy their desires through the justification of a religious institution, meaning in the name of God they claimed to have the right to rule over others and exploit them. 

In Revelation 21, we find an interesting prophetic message, “Those who conquer will inherit these things, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.” The Greek word for “conquer” is nikao, whose root is the famous Greek word nike, meaning “victory” or “means to success.” Since Nike also is the name of goddess of victory, the normal understanding of the word nikao has often been related to victory in battle or war. Consequently, the classical Christian understanding of this victory was about the battle against the forces of hell or the army of Satan somewhat literally. However, the Greek word nikao could also be translated as “to subdue” or “to prevail.” What should we subdue? And over what should we prevail? According to the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus emphasized, “For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.” (15:19) Consequently, our real spiritual battle happens within our hearts, and not outside of us. Thus, what we should subdue and prevail over is neither other humans nor forces of hell, but the selfish desires arising from our own heart. 

My brothers and sisters, let us take a moment of deep meditation this week. Let us see clearly what is within our own hearts. With the inspiration and guidance of our Creator, we may be able to free ourselves from the bond of our own selfishness. 

Blessings, Rev. Junchol Lee