4 “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
2020, probably will have a negative connotation attached to it for a long time. This year has been filled with all different types of trials from the pandemic, racial tension and many other difficulties. This will be one to remember! Our fighter verse this week is a verse that we have needed throughout this entire year.
At the beginning of chapter four, John has been talking about “testing the spirits” or, in other words, discerning between truth and error. In verse two, John clarifies the confession for the true believer: “every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God.” This is our good news confession as believers that the incarnate Son of God has come to save us from our sins. Any confession that goes against who Jesus is, is anti-Gospel.
So in verse four, John is encouraging believers to have confidence that God who is in us is greater than the enemy, as we continue to hold to this confession and share it with the world. Our faith can be tried through many tumultuous circumstances, yet through all of it God is Sovereign and greater than any trial that we face. God also helps His church hold fast to this confession of Christ, as He helps the church keep its identity in the message of the Gospel.
Nik Ripken of the International Mission Board has studied why certain believers thrive in persecuted contexts, while others have more difficulty. Two key factors arose from those who thrived under persecution. One, they had memorized scripture that they could recite when their copy of God’s word had been taken away. Two, they had a song that they sang while they were being persecuted. While we do not live in a context where the levels of persecution are high, we can be encouraged by our brothers and sisters around the world who use Scripture memorization to help encourage them through persecution. As we memorize, I John 4:4 we can specifically be encouraged that He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world. May our time in scripture memorization encourage us to continue to hold fast to the message of the Gospel as God helps us to persevere onward.