John writes about children, fathers, and young men (1 John 2). Concerning young men he says, “you have overcome the evil one.” Overcoming an opponent means knowing the opponent’s strategies. In Eden, the serpent used lies. That is basic; sin always comes out of a lie. If Eve, and then Adam had not believed a lie, they could not have fallen.
Not only are we to move past being children who know forgiveness, we are to overcome the evil one and then move into parenting. The big block is becoming convinced that the devil‘s power is nothing compared to God’s power. It is pitiful, though, when someone does not believe in Satan or recognize him. That is delusion indeed. However, it is sad as well when a saint will not rise up in faith and say, “I don’t take it!” when tempted. There is a strange pride that the world and carnal believers take in being too weak to resist the evil one, as if Christ is greater than the devil, but Christ is not greater than the devil in them. Certainly Christ can keep us from giving in to lies and fleshly lusts.
John says, “you are strong.” The protest comes, “We have no strength of our own.” Yes, a branch has no life of its own, which is why John favors the term abiding. He says, “the word of God abides in you.” There is the strength. The Christian merely abides in God, and thus abides in His strength, which manifests as the branch. The branch simply remains in the vine. To be one with Christ means that the vine expresses itself by its branches.
Here is where Satan brings in the lie, inciting believers to say about themselves, “I am sinful flesh” rather than “I am a God-made branch, cleansed, and expressing Christ.” Failure gets perpetuated by lies spoken in first person as if they are merely human thoughts, rather than lies spoken by Satan. Humanly, no one can overcome, but faith overcomes and knows it, not by emotion but by the Spirit-quickened word of faith.