“Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4, ESV)
I have never met a Christian who has ever denied verbally that God is great, that God loves, that God forgives, that God is sovereign, that God provides our needs, and so on. In fact, many Christians would proactively share many of these attributes and characteristics of our God through singing songs, through writing articles, through being a witness, and through many other mediums. Christians declare publicly what they believe. Praise God for these public declarations!
Then comes the heartbreaking news that your son or daughter, or your brother or sister have walked away from the Lord; or the news that your finances are becoming strained and investments are sending you into the red; or the job opportunity falls through for the tenth time; or your health hinders you and you find yourself relying on others; or church attendances are low and apathy has swept through the church!
We find then, in the quietness of our hearts, that we meditatively question the circumstances. By doing this we directly or indirectly deny the attributes of God. “I’ve done it this time, God is not going to forgive me, I think?” (Denial of God’s power to forgive), “Why does everything always go wrong?” (Denial of God’s sovereignty), “How am I going to pay for the bills this month” (Denial of God’s provisions), “Why can’t I get over this temptation?” (Denial of relying on God’s strength and way of escape) and so on… Do these sound familiar?
In my own life, I find that though outwardly I may declare the greatness of God, inwardly I sometimes struggle to actively affirm the reality of God’s attributes and characteristics in my life. These thoughts of doubt, worry, fear, denial etc. are lies! Many times we try to understand life and why everything is going wrong, yet, in our pursuit for understanding we leave a trail of unbelief! Unbelief, the root of all our sin!
The passage above is in the context where John reveals to believers the spirit of falsehood that rules the world. The ministers of falsehood go into the world deceiving the world about reality, in other words God and the truths outlined in His Word. John proceeds to list various ways by which we can test the spirits to see if they are true. The point I want to make is that we often believe the lies of these teachers of falsehood rather than believing the one who is greater than these teachers.
These teachers proclaim that we deserve happiness and no suffering; that we need to pursue riches to be content; that success is summed up in your material possessions; that looking and feeling good are the way to a happy life; that we need to seek control and understanding of our life to feel secure, and so on. These false teachers question continually the goodness of God and therefore make us doubt. Doesn’t this remind you of the Garden of Eden?
John combats this falsehood by stating that “he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” The greatness lies in the knowledge of the person who is within. It is through ‘listening’ to the declarations of scripture about our various circumstances and difficulties that our minds are renewed. For when we entertain thoughts of doubt, denial, fear, worry and so on, we choose to listen to the spirit of falsehood from media and even from our own wicked hearts. But we can be certain that there is one who is greater than this falsehood who is the Spirit of Truth. For by heeding to His Word we find freedom.
I’ve personally found that thinking through scriptures that relate to the person and work of God help free my mind from the bondage of fear, doubt, worry etc. For it is meditating on the truths of God, we are strengthened in who He is and what He is doing.
So my friends what are your doubts, what are your worries, what are your fears, take them to the Lord who can relieve your burden and ‘learn of Him, for His yoke is easy and His burden light’.