"How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Thy word. . . . Thy word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against Thee" (Ps. 119:9, 11).
Scripture is the source of spiritual victory.
Many Christians struggle with spiritual defeat or recurring sins because they haven't learned to apply biblical principles to specific situations. Perhaps they don't know God's will because they haven't matured in the Word. Or maybe they know what He expects of them but disregard His counsel. In either case, the result is the same.
Jesus Himself repelled Satan's attacks by quoting specific portions of Scripture that applied to specific temptations (Matt. 4:1-11). He knew the Word, believed it, and refused to compromise its principles. In so doing He set a pattern for us to follow.
Using metaphorical language, the apostle John emphasized the priority of the Word when he described three levels of spiritual maturity: children, young men, and fathers. In 1 John 2:13 he says, "I have written to you, children, because you know the Father." Spiritual children aren't yet mature in their faith, but they know who their Heavenly Father is. They know they belong to God.
John continues: "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" (v. 14). Spiritual young men are healthy, vibrant, and aggressive because the Word abides in them—it has found a home in their hearts. They're victorious over the evil one because their doctrine is sound and they've cultivated spiritual wisdom and discernment (Phil. 1:9). They recognize Satan's lies and reject them.
First John 2:14 says, "I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning." Spiritual fathers have a deep, mature relationship with God that comes from prolonged time in prayer and the Word.
Which of those terms best describes you: spiritual child, young man, or father? What specific things can you do today to move toward a more mature and victorious Christian life?
Suggestions for Prayer
Ask God to help you love Him more deeply and know His Word more completely. Therein is the key to spiritual victory.
For Further Study
Memorize Psalm 119:11. Recite it often as a reminder of the priority of hiding God's Word in your heart.
From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.