“And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.” Revelation 12:11
My friend and fellow traveler, Mike Wall, asked me to pray as he was preaching on Psalm 23 one August Sunday in Oklahoma. He and Vanda were walking their own path of suffering. Vanda is in treatment for a brain tumor. Mike and I are friends because we were thrust upon each other by pain and loss. Knowing of my loss, he brought up the difficulty he faced. I have prayed for him and Vanda every day. I was compelled. Let’s just say that comforting with the comfort with which you’ve been comforted is real.
So, Mike’s preaching this August Sunday revolved around the unveiling of their faith journey in suffering. Basically, he was transparently testifying to his faith community. He asked me to pray for him because I understand loss. I understand shadowy valleys.
I listened in on Sunday afternoon.
“I didn’t want to preach this passage…I knew I was going to have to be transparent…I would love some company.” Mike Wall
And apparently, therein lies the power. Transparency. With fellow journeyers. With God. He wanted others to wade into transparent waters with him. This is not misery loves company; this is testimony loves company.
In Revelation 12:11, we learn that believers overcome or conquer Satan by the Lamb’s blood, by our stories of redemption, and because we love God and others selflessly. Three important lessons.
We overcome Satan by the blood of Jesus.
Ultimately, the power delivered by the humility of our Savior squashed Satan’s domain. Jesus pulled a power play by shedding his own blood. The purchase price of humanity’s redemption was Jesus’s blood.
“Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.” Hebrews 9:22
No one comes to the Father on his own. The work Jesus did on the cross overwhelmed Satan. A definitive blow was leveled in one conquering act.
We overcome by the blood of the Lamb.
We overcome Satan by our testimonies of changed lives.
Jesus’ blood has to be received as a gift. Once a person confesses sin and repents, they are gifted salvation and a testimony. They have a salvation story. The redemptive act of Jesus’ death is applied to an individual, and a life is changed. As H. Ernest Nichol wrote in 1896, “We’ve a story to tell to the nations…” The shed blood has given us a story to tell, a conquering weapon.
Mike Wall continued that August Sunday as he wove his testimony with Psalm 23. He exclaimed, “We had to depend upon God every single minute.” His faith walk raised as a testimony to “turn their hearts to the right,” as Nichol continues in the hymn. I texted Mike after his message that there was some overcoming and conquering going on in Oklahoma during his message.
We overcome by the word of our testimony.
We overcome Satan because we deny ourselves selflessly.
Redemption by Jesus’ blood and testifying of Christ’s work in our lives lay the foundation for selfless living. We love God and others. We crucify ourselves.
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me…” Galatians 2:20
As a reminder, Mike’s context for his testimony is a wife facing a tumor. It’s time to turn inward, right?
Mike shared an experience while jogging the morning after hearing of his wife’s diagnosis. Stunned and in shock, he jogged past two guys sitting on the back of a truck. When he jogged past them again on his return—as clear as day—God impressed upon him to share his faith with them. After a brief attempt at an argument with God, he stopped and shared his faith. As he jogged away God made known that Mike’s role through Vanda’s illness was to represent Christ. That’s his role in this trial. Later when Vanda was being rolled into the operating room, she told the doctor that she was not afraid. Both Mike and Vanda chose to walk by faith and press into trust. Both of them chose to be good representatives—by loving God and others more than themselves.
We overcome because we do not love our own lives even when faced with death. Selfless.
Thank you, Mike and Vanda. Our world is full of incredible stories of people standing firm in faith during pain, loss, and suffering.
Remember these three lessons from Revelation 12:11: Jesus shed his blood. We share our story. We live selfless lives.
We overcome Satan.
“Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.” 1 Peter 5:9
Note: This week, on February 18, 2022, my family marks the third anniversary of Kim’s death. This truly has been an unwanted journey. And there truly have been lessons of hope. I like to believe Kim would be proud of her husband and children as they have faced loss together.