You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
1 John 4:4 (NIV, 1978)
We were recently contacted by a beautiful young lady who will hopefully be applying to Adult & Teen Challenge in the next few days. In her initial phone call, she shared that in her eight years of addiction, she has been in at least 27 programs in her attempt to find freedom. She has been detoxed, cleaned up, dried out, and counseled with no positive, lasting results. How sad it is to look back and reflect on years that have been lost due to the power of the enemy.
What is even sadder is when we consider that her story may not be that much different than yours our mine. We may not struggle with addiction and our families have not had to face the cost and embarrassment as perhaps hers has. But how many conflicts, spiritual or otherwise, have we also needlessly lost because we did not apply the words John wrote to his followers in the first century?
In John’s time, false teaching was already present that possessed a certain grain of truth, but in the end, denied that Jesus was God in the flesh. New believers were being taken in by this heresy and were turning away from the community of faith. John’s purpose was to remind followers of the supernatural power that the Holy Spirit has placed within every child of God to overcome them. “Them” who? We will answer that question incorrectly every time if we rely upon our own wisdom to guide us.
The anemic condition of today’s church is largely due to no longer teaching believers that the supernatural presence of God that lives within them enables them to not only recognize the presence of evil (them), but also gives Christians the power to flee from it (them). The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit is not confined to the teaching of certain denominations but is part of the salvation experience of every child of God. He remains the “still, small voice” who unmasks our enemies and their motives that will lead us astray. His power within us allows us to live with His peace and victory until our earthly battle is over.