For such a little letter, 1 John sure is action-packed.
We’re still in chapter 2 when John says, “You veterans know the One who started it all; and you newcomers–such vitality and strength! God’s word is so steady in you. Your fellowship with God enables you to gain a victory over the Evil One.”
“You veterans” – this language is used of older people, people who are experienced, people who have been around the block and seen a few things in their lifetime. These are the veterans of the faith. Then, there is a group of newcomers. And both bring something to the table. I think of Jack Canfield’s audiobook called Maximum Confidence. He tells a story of an old buck, nearing the end of his life, looking across the ridge at a young buck.
The old buck says to himself, Oh, look at that young buck. To have his strength, his vitality, his energy, his drive again. What I wouldn’t give to have that. He’s got so much to offer. But what would that young buck want with an old buck like me?
But little does the old buck know the young buck is looking right back at him thinking to himself, Oh, look at that old buck. He looks so stately, he’s full of knowledge, has so much experience and confidence and I have so much I could learn from him. What I wouldn’t give to have his wisdom. He’s got so much to offer. But what would that old buck want with a young buck like me?
The magic happens when they are willing to get over themselves and strike up a conversation with the other. When they can appreciate the other and interact with the other and find common ground and mutual respect with one another.
And doesn’t that sum up what John is saying here? Young and old, experienced and new to the faith– both groups have something to offer the other.
Now before I wrap this up, two quick notes to wrap up this little passage in 1 John 2. Have you ever had someone say they see God’s Word living steadily in you? Man, that’s an incredible compliment and means you’re doing some things well. Keep it up! And if you haven’t heard it, work toward it.
And that last bit on living well in God’s strength and God’s Word, living well in Jesus– that is what enables victory. As the old preachers used to say, that fellowship with God gives you “victory over sin, hell, and the Devil.”
I’ve been reading Steven Pressfield lately, and I can’t help but think of beating the Resistance.
Today, I wrote this blog. I beat the Resistance. I overcame the Evil One when I clicked publish. Why? Because writing is my life’s work. It’s my calling and a way I hang out with Jesus. I read the Scriptures and I wrote what I learned and what I think may help others. Old buck to young buck. Or young buck to old buck, depending on your age.
So there you have it. And tomorrow, we’ll do it again. See you there.