1 John 2:14b “…I have written to you young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.”
One of our favorite past times around here is watching an old sitcom, The Andy Griffith Show. After many years of watching, Andy, Aunt Bea, Opie, Floyd, and Otis all seem like old friends. And, of course, everybody’s favorite character is the braggadocios, bumbling, yet lovable, deputy, Barney Fife. He takes his job seriously, though Andy has to bail him out of trouble more times than not.
Regularly there are scenes where Barney draws his gun from his holster, only to misfire his one bullet at the wrong time and the wrong place. The other day as we watched, Barney was teaching a friend of Opie’s the art of removing the gun from the holster so as to be prepared when a crisis comes.
Though Mayberry’s deputy is not very good at executing his own advice, he does have the right idea. As an officer of the law it is important to keep your weapon handy and to be adept at using it. When the bad guy comes around, you will be prepared and ready to defend yourself along with the town citizens.
I couldn’t help thinking of Barney’s advice when I read today’s verse. John has been writing to a church that was being overrun with incorrect teaching. There were false teachers contaminating the truth with lies. John spends much time defending the truth of the gospel, and helping his spiritual children to feel confident in their position in Christ.
He has given the readers tests to help them discern whether or not they truly know God. He then assures them of his personal confidence in their belief. He says, “I write to you children because your sins have been forgiven. I am writing to you fathers because you know Him who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you are strong and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.”
When it comes to overcoming the evil one, it is important to be quick on the draw. We do not use a revolver in a holster to protect ourselves from the attack of this enemy, but the word of God. The way to be alert and prepared to recognize when a false teacher speaks lies is to be very familiar with God’s Word. We must know it. We must have it available. We must be quick to draw it from our memory and use it to defend the truth.
I think Barney needs a little more practice with his gun. But I’m thinking that we could all use some more practice with our weapon. Study God’s word diligently – that way when someone tries to get you to believe lies you will be quick on the draw. The Word of God will abide in you and you will overcome the evil one.