The Nature and Character of the Overcomer

Ricci Johnson-Wilson


(from our 2-16-2024 message)


Last week I spoke on the Refuge Place of the New Breed of Warriors. This week I’d like to address an important element of the New Breed of Warriors… that of The Overcomer.

We don’t see this word used often in Scripture. It’s only listed 28 times in the New Covenant and all but 3 of those are in the writings of the Apostle John.

So, before we pursue the nature and character of the Overcomer, let us first look at the Greek word “Overcomer” and then we’ll go through some Scriptures to learn about these essential characteristics of the Overcomer.

The Greek word for Overcomer is “nikaó” and it comes from the root word “nike” We see it translated as “Overcome” or “Victory”.

níkē  means “conquest; it is a particular expression of victory, resulting from receiving (and obeying) the faith Christ imparts (i.e. His inworked persuasion).

This word “nike” is used in 1 John 5:4-5 (KJV)

For whatever is born of God is victorious over the world; and this is the victory that conquers the world, even our faith. Who is it that is victorious over “nikao” [that conquers] the world but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God [who adheres to, trusts in, and relies on that fact]?”


Faith opens the door to victory.

Nikáō — 3528  (from 3529 /níkē, “victory”) – properly, conquer (overcome); ” ‘to carry off the victory, come off victorious.’ The verb implies a battle” (K. Wuest).

Keep in mind, this is a verb which as Wuest aptly states, implies a battle. It also involves continuous action on our part to be, and remain, an Overcomer.  

There are 5 points we can draw from based on this understanding of Nikao:

  1. We must see the battles through His eyes
  2. Adhere to Him through prayer
  3. Adhere to His Word
  4. Engage in the battle
  5. Trust that He will enable us to Overcome/ give us the victory

With that in mind, let’s review, and add to this, what John is saying in 1 John 2:12-14 (KJV):

I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake. I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known Him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father. I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.

Who is John speaking to?

Three groups

  1. Little children (young believers)
  2. Fathers (mature believers)
  3. Young men (those in between)

What have they overcome?

  1. The wicked one
  2. Spiritual foes
  3. Those who seek to destroy them.
  4. The spirit of the antichrist (1 John 4:1-6)
  5. The world (1 John 5:4-5)


Let’s draw from our Greek definition of Nikao and couple that with what John said to the Church and comprise a list of seven characteristics that we, who are pursuing the life of an Overcomer, can grab hold of and apply to our own lives. We must be willing to:

  1. Receive and obey the truth.
  2. Pursue the next level of maturity.
  3. Recognize that this walk is a continuous battle.
  4. Abide in Him through prayer.
  5. Abide in His Word by walking out our salvation according to the precepts found therein.
  6. Allow Him to eradicate our sinful nature from our soul. (1 John 1:8)
  7. Ensure the Word abides in us so we can draw from this incredible resource.

I’m going to provide a couple examples, but I encourage you, even though we do not see Nikao mentioned often in Scripture, throughout the Word of God, we do see the life of the Overcomer. First and foremost, would be Jesus, our Messiah, the Apostles, and through the writings of the Apostles to the various Churches, we can glean precepts and instructions written to prepare them to be Overcomers.

John, who, of all the Apostles, went the highest in God, wrote about the life of the Overcomer extensively. That should tell us the critical nature of our own pursuit to be an Overcomer.

Last week I spoke about David’s quest to find true refuge in the shadow of the Almighty during King Saul’s murderous pursuit of him. Since he is a key figure in the Old Covenant, and a tremendous example of an Overcomer, for our example here, I’d like to continue in that vein.  

First, a very brief summary of King Saul (David’s adversary) and his fall taken from 1 Samuel chapters 9-16:

Saul encountered the prophet Samuel under a Divine appointment while searching for his donkeys in 1 Samuel 10. He was anointed by God despite his own fears of inadequacy in that encounter. His destiny was to be the first King of Israel. The Bible tells us at this time, Saul was small in his own eyes, and we see this during this first encounter with Samuel. He was timid and even resistant to take on the role of Israel’s King, however, once anointed, as he turned to walk away, the Bible tells us “God gave him another heart.”

God transformed Saul into a vessel He could use to unite the nation of Israel. When Samuel anointed him, the mantle of King came upon him, and he was imbued with a heart to lead. In short, God changed and transformed him into a vessel He would use for the unifying of Israel.

King Saul was called to lead the nation not just as a warrior, but as a father, one who, by example, teaches the people to war, to pray, and to seek the face of God in all that they do. A nation that would hide God’s Word in their hearts and minds, and to keep Him at the forefront of all they did.

In the initial battles he faced, he was incredibly courageous. Why? Because was walking under the Mantle of Kingship. The Spirit of the Lord would come upon him, and he would be clear, decisive, and continue to unify the nation in preparation for the battles they would face. Wisdom, straight from the throne of God, was imparted to him and then relayed to the people.  He was favored, anointed, and mantled for the role of King.

To be honest, at this time, he was an Overcomer. However, the pressures of the position of King, however, led to Saul’s unravelling. He stepped into fear, pride, and rebellion to God.

Fear is the opposite of faith. Unrepentant pride always leads to a fall. Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft.

We saw pride, rebellion to the Word of God, and even covetousness rise when he was instructed by the Lord to go and utterly destroy the Amalekites (1 Sam 15). This was building in Saul, it wasn’t sudden or an impulsive act of disobedience, it was many subtle acts that built up to this precise moment. We read of this pivotal event in King Saul’s because this act of disobedience that had the potential to utterly destroy the nation of Israel.

King Saul was instructed to fulfill the Word of the Lord and destroy the Amalekites due to their treatment of the Israelites when they came out of Egypt. This was a directive given centuries before and to be clear, prophecy instruction was about to be fulfilled (Ex. 17:8, Deut. 25:17-19). Instead, King Saul disobeyed and destroyed almost everything. Rebellion to the Word of the Lord had set in, and in his rebellion, he kept Agag the king alive along with the best of their livestock. The Scribes teach us that Haman would come from this King’s opportunity to procreate before Samuel put him to death. Remember, were it not for Mordecai – a descendant of Saul’s lineage—and Esther—Haman would have been successful in his effort to kill every Jewish soul living in the Medo-Persian provinces. Saul’s pride and rebellion nearly led to the genocide of the entire nation of Israel.

What are the consequences of King Saul moving from an overcomer in God to a rebellious leader of the nation?

  1. He could not hear from God when he was headed into battle (I Sam 14:37)
  2. Then, he rebelled against God when God told him to complete destroy the Amalekites (1 Sam 15:9)
  3. Then God rejected him as king (1 Sam 15:11)
  4. Then, God stripped him of his mantle and placed it on another. (1 Sam 15:28)
  5. He pursued his enemy rather than God’s enemy. We see this throughout King Saul’s pursuit of David. (1 Sam 17-1 Sam 31)
  6. Finally, the Lord lifted His protection from Saul’s life altogether (1 Sam 31:1-6)

His ability to effectively lead Israel diminished, and he made impulsive, rash decisions on behalf of the kingdom and ultimately, it cost him his life. The same thing happens to us when we do not actually engage in the battle to be an overcomer.

Saul’s downfall in the Spirit was quick, yet it took time for it to play out in the natural. He could not lead a nation without the mantle to do so. The nation declined into chaos and self-destruction. (We see this happening in several nations today, including our own) The enemy, seeing the weakness in the individual, will work to capture the world around that person. In this case it was a King so the ramifications of his disobedience were felt throughout the kingdom. We witness this in 1 Sam 17 as fear ultimately overtook King Saul to the point that the Philistines rose up against them and sent Goliath in keeping the entire nation in fear for 40 days. 

Why? He was no longer walking in the characteristics of an Overcomer.  Based on this, what do we see as the Characteristics of one who does not overcome?

  1. They do not hear from God.
  2. They are rebellious to His commands.
  3. They are stripped of the mantle.
  4. They pursue our own battles.
  5. They are rejected by God.
  6. They move forward without protection.

Contrast this with the Overcomer who:

  1. Receives and obey the truth.
  2. Pursues the next level of maturity.
  3. Recognizes that this walk is a continuous battle.
  4. Abides in Him through prayer.
  5. Abides in His Word by walking out our salvation according to the precepts found therein.
  6. Allows Him to eradicate our sinful nature from our soul. (1 John 1:8)
  7. Ensure the Word abides in us so we can draw from this incredible resource.

Now let’s look at David, the one who would enter on the scene just a lad, certainly not 10 like he’s depicted in paintings of this event, but at the time, he was not old enough to be in the military. He was likely around 17. David, at 17, would conquer King Saul’s greatest fear, Goliath.

David trusted in, relied on, and put his faith in God and God’s timing for his life. He was anointed to be King before he even turned 18, but he waited for God’s timing and His refining to be complete before he stepped into the role of King. Saul wore the crown, but David wore the mantle. Time and time again God delivered King Saul into David’s hands to show King Saul that it was God who ruled and reigned and the enemy he was hunting was not flesh and blood, but the enemy of his soul.

David understood what Psalms 91 meant, and how to actively live in that place as he spent more than a dozen years on the run, living in caves and hiding in the wilderness as Saul sought to take his life.

David was an overcomer. I’d like to provide specific indicators of the nature and characteristic of an Overcomer as we see depicted in David’s life for us to glean from and encourage you to read these passages and ask God to open up the eyes of your understanding to receive His revelation of these passages in this hour of great difficulty in our nation. Why? Because as an intercessor, your impact is greater than you can imagine.

David demonstrated the nature and character of an Overcomer again and again. As an overcomer, David:

  1. understood the value of hiding himself in his Rock of Escape (1 Sam 24:28)
  2. saw God as his Refuge, his Savior, his Deliverer, and his Righteous Judge throughout this horrific trial. (Ps 7:1,11)
  3. was willing to lay himself bare before God in this moment of unbelievable physical danger and vulnerability. (Ps 7:1-5)
  4. chose to avail his heart and mind to the Lord for full examination and was willing to submit his life into his enemy’s hand should God determine that to be warranted (Ps 7:1-5)
  5. restrained himself (and his men) when given the chance to vindicate himself or get revenge on King Saul (1 Sam 26)
  6. worshipped God in the midst of his affliction (Ps 63:1-8)

I want to add something here; the Overcomer knows God.

David, who would pen at least 75 of the 150 Psalms would write of God that He is:

  1. One Who hears 34:4-6
  2. One Who sees Ps 34:15
  3. One Who defends Ps 35:1-3
  4. Our Righteous Judge Ps 7:11

One may think that they would never experience this type of thing here, in America, in 2024 that would warrant this type of extensive inner preparation… what kind of battles apart from those we pray through, would you face?

Well, there’s a man running for the Congressional District 19 in Texas. Ryan Zink. He was there on January 6th.  At the time, his father was running for office.  He was there to support President Trump and call for Free and Fair Elections. His campaign office hired Ryan Zink to capture video footage of the event. Ryan was not a political guy, but he took the job. While there, he witnessed a couple people who actually engaged in crimes. They were breaking windows and trying to climb in the building. Ryan was asked by Capital Hill Police to take photos/videos of what he was seeing. He did, assuming they’d be used in a criminal investigation. (There weren’t many, only a few.)

He went home, held onto the footage, but was never contacted about releasing them to the authorities. Nearly a month later, at 4 AM, the DOJ took a battering ram to his front door, shattering it and then arrested him and ransacked his home. Ryan was held in rancid conditions. His food and water were often poisoned or contaminated, and he was unable to even contact family or a lawyer for quite some time after his arrest.

Listening to his story, I was shocked and found myself having to frequently remind myself that this was occurring here, in America. Ryan really was treated like a prisoner of war.

During this time however, Ryan learned to lean in, rely on, and trust in God. Over and over during those first several weeks he begged for a Bible. He knew God was his only hope, and His Word would be a strength to him in his darkest hour. His parents, his girlfriend, are among the few who actually stood by him. I won’t go into all the details of his story, but he’s running for office, believing God is calling him to help bring this country back to Him.

I will add however, that Psalm 7, 34, 35 kept Ryan moving forward in his darkest hour. How? Because he’d hidden them in his heart before the crisis. We can all learn something from this young man’s story.

Finally, I want to specifically address this journey we are on in the Spiritual Realm. Why? We often look at this in the temporal realm, and that’s understandable. But Saul fell because he focused on the temporal and let go of his spiritual pursuit.

Mom shared Thursday night about her pursuit, and it began with the call from the Father to allow Him to eradicate her sinful nature and ultimately come into union with Him. Our greatest strength is found in Him.

I John 1:5-10 speaks to the lifetime battle we have to avail ourselves to the eradication of the sinful nature by the Lord. 

“5 This then is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: but if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and His Word is not in us.”

Friends, John is writing to the Church, to little children, young men, and fathers. They are walking in various degrees of their salvation, but each, until it’s eradicated, has a sinful nature that limits our walk with Him to a certain degree. We need to come under the Shadow of the Almighty in this hour, this will protect us from falling when persecution hits. Mom is teaching on union Thursdays and Sundays to help equip us for the days ahead. I encourage you to listen to these timely messages to learn what this means on a deeper level.

We must allow God to eradicate our sinful nature. It’s here that we become the Overcomer, it’s here that we come to know our Lord and Savior, it’s here that we learn not only what the nature and character of an Overcomer really looks like, but how to walk it out in the natural.

I want to encourage you, take time to meditate on all of the passages I’ve shared, be honest with yourself, now that you know more about the nature and character of an Overcomer, do you exhibit these characteristics?

If you were in the situations David or Ryan were in, would you behave the same way or would you go the way of King Saul? 

Are you living the life of an Overcomer?

Blessings & love,

Ricci Johnson-Wilson