Overcoming Evil; January 21, 2023


Romans 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

This verse encapsulates the very dense collection of good advice from verse 9 onward. If everyone lived by these principles, this would be a wonderful world indeed! This also seems very timely, as I’m sure it has in every year since it was written, because human nature is still the same. If we all had our heads on straight, we wouldn’t need to be told these things! Considering this verse specifically, sometimes it feels like we are drowning in a sea of filth. I won’t even describe a new “reality tv” program I just read about! Thankfully, the tide seems to be turning a bit, with people burning out over all the lies, particularly as more and more things are being uncovered and brought out into the open. The thing is, those on the side of truth and righteousness have got to remember that it is only by the grace of God that they are any different from those they currently oppose. If we aren’t careful, pride will open us up to the deceptions of the devil and we will be worse than they. (1 Corinthians 10:12) The only way to be obedient to this verse is through grateful humility. We aren’t inherently wiser or better than anyone else. I have always liked the Japanese expression, “Acorns comparing height.” When God is our standard, differences from person to person become meaningless. It is only by opening our hearts to the One who is the source of all good, all wisdom, all righteousness, that we can be any of those things. However, if we do open ourselves up to Him, He will flow through us in ways that will astonish even us!

I am certainly preaching to myself here. I allowed pride to take me to a very dangerous point indeed, but God in His mercy brought me back from the edge. I am very aware of the sea of evil around me, so I’ve got to stay grounded on the Rock, Christ Jesus. Choosing to allow God’s goodness to flow through me has got to be consistent, but I must never take it for granted. I can accomplish nothing good on my own, (John 15:5) but God can do anything at all through me, if I am yielded to Him. I need to remember that in Christ, and only in Christ, I am righteous, and as James said, “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16) That is how I will overcome evil with good.

Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for protecting us through the full day yesterday. Thank You especially for the meeting You orchestrated at lunch yesterday. I pray that our interaction with that couple would draw them into active discipleship indeed, for their blessing and for Your glory. I pray that every activity of today would likewise accomplish Your purposes, overcoming evil with Your good, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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