1 John 2:14
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.
Our culture has had a problem with messages about self-image for a long time. We have been told, directly or subtly, that we don’t look good enough, we aren’t smart enough, we aren’t tough enough. To prove the point, we are shown celebrities with perfect hair, models with perfect figures and professional athletes with perfect muscles. In comparison, the rest of us are sadly imperfect, out of shape, boring and unsophisticated. Young people may be particularly vulnerable to the damage caused by unrealistic portrayals of human perfection, but if we are honest, all of us take these lies to heart.
God’s word tells a different story about who you are. No, you are not perfect. You are sinful and broken in many ways, just as every other person is. But you are also loved by God and saved from your sin through the gracious gift of Jesus Christ. You are filled with the living presence of God’s Spirit, making your body a temple in which God chooses to dwell, despite its physical imperfections. And, as John writes in the culmination of his poem, “you are strong.” Your strength isn’t measured by the size of your biceps or by how much you can lift. Instead, you have been given an unconquerable power by the presence of God and through the wisdom of his living word so that you can overcome even the forces of hell. The power alive and at work in you is the same power that created this world, enabled Jesus to cast out demons, and raised our Lord from the dead. Your strength grows from knowing God, listening to his word and believing his truth instead of the world’s lies. In Christ, you are strong.
What then will you do with your strength? With it, you can extinguish fear and anxiety. With it, you can feel good about who you are in Christ. With it, you can stand up for others in their moments of need. With it, you can share the love and message of Jesus. God has made you strong, and He invites you to put that strength to work building his Kingdom and loving your neighbors.
Thank You, mighty God, for making me strong through Your power and love. Shape me into the person You want me to be, and help me to rejoice in the good You accomplish through me. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Pastor Mike Mirakian