I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake. I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father. I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.( I John 2:12-14)
The Apostles commends the young men. They have warred a good warfare consistently, and have overcome the wicked One. I think of Daniel and His friends, or of Joseph , they were severely put to the test, and came through the crucible many times, overcoming in their own days.
I cannot help but think of our Saviour in the days of his flesh also, as the prototype of these “young men”, He was also put through a battery of tests and he overcame the Devil himself.
We are given a glimpse of at least one of those battles, in the wilderness.
In the wilderness, everything fades away, the sense of God himself, friends and helpers, encouragement, comfort, the feeling of strength. All of that evaporates, and One is left with nothing, but the Temptation, the tempter, and the Word of God.
The tempter presented a series of propositions, (temptations) all of which called into question spiritual and religious principles; the goodness and sufficiency of God, ‘Would the ends justify the means?’ and even the misuse of scripture as a temptation.
To all of these, Jesus answered “It is written…”. By doing so He was asserting his own submission to Scripture, and appealing to God’s authority over his own thoughts and feelings.
This is what the “Young men” and this is why they are strong and overcome the wicked one, in the face of Temptation.
The scripture Jesus cited, was applicable to his very situation, for He had hidden it in his heart. Humanly speaking, Jesus had trained himself to think that way, to see life that way. He was Jahweh’s disciple and by the Word He overcame the wicked One.
Was he not in the wilderness as the children of Israel had been in the Exodus?
Why would God put his Son in that desperate situation? (That would be the temptation, “If you are the Son of God…?”)
And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live. (Deuteronomy 8:3)
What is the Word of God? Is it not the eternal principles of Right and Truth, the revelation of the Living God? The Word is the only sure weapon by which all temptation can be met and mastered, and which is irresistible to the adversary. The Young men learn this and depend upon it, using it in the conflict , over and over again.
…young men … ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one
The task given to the young men, is to enter into the conflict, and to apply the weaponry of the Spirit of God, the Word of God itself, in the heart, in the mouth, and communicated to those in need of it.
Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. Blessed art thou, O Lord: teach me thy statutes.( Psalm 119:9-12)
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer. ( Psalm 19:14)