…he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
…he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. —1 John 4:4
As a follower of Jesus Christ, God Himself takes up residence in you. You have nothing to fear for the One who is all powerful, all wise, and understands everything, is with you and in you. But let’s look for a moment at what it says before and after this part of the verse that we are memorizing this week.
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. 4 Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 5 They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error. —1 John 4:1-6
There are many spirits in this world and they speak through people, in books and media. They expose us to ideas, thoughts, and beliefs that cause us to think things or even believe things that are not the TRUTH. Just because a spirit speaks to us, should we believe what it says? We are to test the spirits to see first and foremost where this spirit is from. According to this text, there is one test that must be asked to see if the words are from God. That question is, “What does it say about Jesus?” The answer that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is indeed from God.
Should we fear these spirits that bring deception and lies? No! If you have confessed Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead on the third day and that He is seated in the heavenly place at the right hand of God the Father, then you have OVERCOME the spirits of the world and He, the Spirit of the Living God, has taken up residence in you–HE is GREATER than he who is in the world.
Because of Jesus’ work on the cross and in us, we can confidently say that we are from God and we have fellowship with others who are from God.
But this verse is not primarily about us. It is about God. He who is in us is the One who is greater. The focus is not on us but on Him, the truly “Greater One.” There is no substitute for our God. He is the awesome One, there is no one who compares to Him. He is God and there is no other. He is the One that has all power over the one who takes up residence in this world. We have nothing to fear when we remember who God is and that He is in us.
This world is sometimes very confusing. But this world is temporary and we are only passing through it. The One who is in us is the Eternal One and He will win the final battle. So even when people won’t listen to us, someday they will know that what we have said about Jesus is true and He is greater than the one they chose to follow. Our prayer is that they, our friends and our enemies, will come to realize that there are opposing spirits in the world trying to get their attention, but there is One greater who is from God and secures our victory. May they come to know the Greater One that can live in them and is the Spirit of Truth.
1. If He who is in us is truly greater than he that is in this world what do we have to fear?
2. Name some of the great characteristics of our God. Write them down on a piece of paper or a card and post it on your refrigerator, or carry it with you today.
Children Desiring God (CDG) publishes Fighter Verses and offers products to support you in your Bible memorization efforts. CDG also publishes God-centered Sunday School curriculum for children and youth, parenting booklets to equip parents to spiritually shepherd their children, and the Making Him Known series of books for family devotions.