I am writing to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name. I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, dear children, because you know the Father. I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one. (1 John 2.12-14 NIV)
We need to be mature to transform our generation
As an agent of transformation, I need to be transformed so I can affect my generation. The greatest desire of every parent is to see his child grow physically, mentally, emotionally, and psychologically—the parent is proud to see the signs of maturity in the child. As parents, we are proud to share that moment with others by saying, “That is my boy!” or “That is my girl.”
God is preparing a competent army for his work
God is not preparing an incompetent army that is unable to transform the nations because, in the nations, there are principalities, powers, and forces contrary to us. Hence, God wants us to develop so that he can be proud to say, “This is my boy.” As God boasted about Job, he wants to boast about us but that can only happen when we are mature. God wants us to grow so we can become agents of change and transformation that he can use wherever we find ourselves.
When we don’t grow, we remind God of the unfortunate incident in the Garden of Eden
It is pathetic when we don’t grow and remain babies. When Rwanda went to war, they were about 90% Christian but, because of one small guinea fowl, there was war in the whole country. We as people God has mandated to go and possess the nations must grow. When we don’t grow, we remind God of the painful occurrence in the creation story.
In Genesis 1.26-28, God created man not as a child. How old was Adam when God created him? God created Adam with all the qualities of maturity and that is why he entrusted the entire garden to him. As a parent you wouldn’t give your precious jewels to a four-year-old child.
Adam had the ability to name all the animals. God had confidence in him but he woefully disappointed God and acted like a little child, resulting in all the negative consequences we now see. After God has fed us and given us the Holy Spirit, he teaches us everyday. I pray that at the end of this ministration you will decide to grow if you haven’t already so we can possess the nations, as God wants us to.
Paul called Jesus the second Adam. God was not looking at Jesus like a child because he did not do much when he was a child. After the incident when he was 12 years old and reasoned with the scribes and doctors of the law, we didn’t hear of him again till he was 30, during his baptism. When Jesus was being baptized, the heavens were opened and God decided to showcase his son to the world as one ready to possess it for him. Adam lost it but Jesus came to redeem it. In Luke 2.52, we are told that Jesus grew in wisdom, stature, and in favor with God and man. God was so proud to present his son to the world.
The salvation stage
The first stage of development is the salvation stage. 3 John 2.12 says our sins are forgiven for his name’s sake. The decision that brought the fall was childish. I remember many years ago a minister did something awful. When the case was brought to the apostle, he rose to his feet and asked, “Why did you act like a child?”
God did not conceal anything from Adam and Eve. Everything was bare and transparent before them but the devil deceived them and they fell for it. They knew God had created them in his own image but the devil was smart and acted on their minds.
In Genesis 3, the devil said, “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” They were already kings and princes and all authority on earth had been given to them but they acted like children. Therefore, when we are coming to God again, we come by salvation, by which God forgives our sins and receives us as children. However, the ultimate goal of salvation is to know the Father. God doesn’t want us to continue to behave like children. Sometimes people become worried about things they shouldn’t be worried about.
God wants us to grow beyond the basic level to understand the principles of the Bible. The word “know” means to have absolute knowledge of the father in heaven. Paul struggled all his life to know him. That will give us the maturity God wants us to attain. When we know the Father, we can count on his love and provision, care, protection, and holiness.
The overcoming stage
1 John 2.13b says, “I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one.” Verse 14c says, “I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one.”
After the first stage of childhood (salvation), God wants us to launch into the overcoming stage. In that stage, God speaks to us as youth. This stage needs a lot of spiritual energy because you need to be strong to overcome the world. It involves a lot of spiritual exercises like fasting. In our time we fasted a lot. The entire church had one day, the Witness Movement had one, and the women had theirs too. This was continuous—fasting everywhere. These days there is so much to eat so people find it difficult to fast.
God is expecting the youth of today to fast and pray to get the spiritual energy to confront the world. We pray that the church will be a fasting church because, in the days of the apostles, it says as they were fasting and praying, the Holy Spirit spoke. (Acts 13)
As a Christian, sometimes you must tell the stomach enough is enough; this week is not for you.
We need to meditate on the word of God and memorize scriptures. When Jesus was tempted he didn’t say, “Wait for me to go for my iPad.” Everything was in him. Today, everything is cooked for us but memorization of scriptures is important for our spiritual growth.
As youth we must go out with all strength to evangelize. When you refuse to evangelize then don’t even think of signs and wonders. The signs follow you when you have gone out there to preach to people. The Spirit that God gives without measure will come upon you.
The youth have strength, which depends on the word of God, which is God himself. If you want to see God and learn about him it is about his word. When we get to the second stage of our development, there are many experiences we have. David had his desert experience but he was sustained by the word of God. Psalm 119.11 says by keeping the word of God in our hearts we will be strengthened not to sin against God.
Jesus had a desert experience in Matthew 4.1. After fasting forty days and nights the Spirit took him to the desert to the tested. Even though he was the word of God he had his desert experience. And he overcame the devil because there was sufficient spiritual energy in him. That is why God calls the spiritual youth overcomers.
As children we cannot overcome the world. It is at the youthful stage that we have the power to overcome the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life.
The intimate stage
1 John 2.13a says, “I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning.”
At this stage, God requires an intimate relationship with his people. When God encountered Moses, Moses wanted to know God so he could walk with him. He asked God, “What is your name” and God told him to tell the people that he, I am that I am, had sent him.
When God revealed himself to Daniel in Daniel 7.9, he called himself the ancient of days.
When I married my wife, I realized she was very quiet and didn’t talk much whereas I was loud and noisy. I wondered how I didn’t notice that before we married. I was the presiding elder while she was a member in the church. With time, I noticed that I had induced her to like talking while she had also transmitted her calmness to me.
In that intimacy you can grow and know God better. Then you can be mature and possess the nations. When you know him, nothing shakes your foundation. Job said, “I know my redeemer liveth.” (Job 19.25) It is not head knowledge but heart knowledge. That his why Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego said they knew their God could save them but even if he didn’t they were not going to bow to the kings statue. We can only possess the nations when we get to that stage of maturity.
The greatest desire of the disciples was to know the Father. In John 14.8 Philip asked Jesus to show them the Father. Enoch walked with God and he was no more for God took him.
Brethren, we have been asked to possess the nations. Which stage of development are you? Are you still a child who is terrified by any little thing? Are you growing to maturity? God bless you.
1 John 2.12-14