Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. – 1 John 4:4
In 1954 a movie entitled Them! was released to screaming theater goers all across America. The plot of the film revolved around the growing anxiety over the environmental impacts of nuclear testing in the deserts of the Southwestern United States. Surely frightening at the time the science-fiction horror movie used giant animatronic ants as the titular “Them!” These giant insects were taking over the desert and moving into heavily populated areas threatening human existence with their equally giant colonies and a complete disregard for their impact onehuman life.
Though by today’s standards this film is hardly frightening to any hardened movie buff, it was scary to me as a child even on the TV screen. The giant ants made this horrible noise when attacking, and of course the only way to defeat them was by infiltrating the dark recesses of their subterranean network of caves. The ants would lung from the shadows for the heroes catching them in their enormous mandibles pinching of their life. Only with fire and resolute courage were the protagonists able to win.
Bible believing Christians who balance the grace of God with a commitment to obey God’s Word live in a world that often disagrees with them. For the better part of two centuries, most Americans could depend upon a basic understanding of biblical principles in their fellow citizens due to the fact that prayer common place and a majority of families knew something about regular church worship. Christianity was not a dirty word. However, being a disciple of Christ is becoming more akin to the first days of the Church day by day.
It is important to remember that persecution was expected by Jesus and His Apostles. In fact, the apostles counted it an honor to be persecuted in the name of Jesus Christ when they stood for the truth. We are therefore encouraged by the Apostle John, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” (1 John 4:1-4).
No matter the speaker, anyone of “them” who claims to speak for God must be compared to the absolute truth of God’s holy word. Without this standard, Christianity is just a club without purpose and direction. Therefore, “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ” (Colossians 2:8). Philosophies change and traditions shift, but God is the same, and His word endures forever.
When we hold to the Truth, we may be called names and ridiculed. We may be disregarded and disdained, but none of this changes the truth. The days may very well come again where Christians are imprisoned or worse, but this is no different than what the early Christians experience to whom John was writing. We overcome not because our ideas are communicated the loudest. Neither do we overcome because we are the most numerous. We will ultimately overcome, “because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” Have courage and take the Light of God’s word with you into the dark and watch out for Them!