Terry R. Baughman
“I write to you, young men, Because you have overcome the wicked one.… I have written to you, young men, Because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, And you have overcome the wicked one.” (1 John 2:13–14).
Each segment of society has their strengths. Children give us joy for life, faith for salvation, and hope for the future. Youth are endowed with energy and strength to accomplish great tasks. Elders are blessed with the wisdom of years and provide instruction and direction for others to follow.
The Apostle John focused on the strength of youth in these passages. He wrote to the young and outlined three qualities evidenced in them:
1. You are strong. The young are physically stronger than any other age demographic. Young men are primarily the ones who enlist in our military and become the soldiers who fight our wars. When there is a job that requires labor and strength the young are recruited and employed. The same attributes have merit in spiritual pursuits, “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might,” (Ephesians 6:10).
2. The Word of God is in you. Recognize that physical strength is not sufficient for spiritual battles, but through the power of the Spirit and the Word of God. There is no victory that will be denied to those who war in the Spirit. Paul noted that, “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). He wrote in another letter, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:3). Our youth can take dominion in spiritual conflict and be victorious through the power of the Word of God that is resident in them.
3. You have overcome evil. It is time for the youth to arise and take dominion over the spirits of this age. It is time to take the battles out of the living room and into real life, out of the digital fantasy of video games into the reality of spiritual conflict. Youth can fight this battle. They have the strength to overcome the evil of “this present world” and the blatant evil of this generation. They have the power of God resident in them and the faith to overcome the wicked one.
In every stage of life we can develop in our relationship with God. John wrote to the children, to the young, and to the elders. He commended them for their devotion, their dominion, and their faith. He left us a pattern to follow (1 John 2:12-14):
—Be “children of God” in devotion, believing in God for salvation, “Your sins are forgiven.”
—Be victorious “youth” in dominion, “You have overcome the wicked one.”
—Be “fathers” or elders in wisdom and faith, “You have known Him who is from the beginning.”
John did not write to condemn, but to commend the believers. As an elder statesman in the primitive church he writes with conviction and courage to encourage all those who follow Christ.
“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day” (Ephesians 6:13).