“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21 ESV)
Christian life is all about overcoming. In this world, we are surrounded by the effects of sin and except at the foot of the cross, there is escape from the presence of sin. We all face temptation in one way or another, the media applauds sin, and society seems indifferent. We read the news, and there is rarely any good news. These things can make us lose our focus, crush our spirits, make us give up or fall away. No wonder then, that so many Christians lose their way.
Like the psalmist, how often have we wished for the wings of a bird – to fly away from the chaos of this world and hide. But, we have been put in the thick of things, and commanded to overcome evil with good. This may seem very difficult, but there is thankfully, a sure method of achieving this goal. For overcoming evil and doing good are simply habits that we build up, slowly and steadily.
To overcome, we must make daily choices to reject sin and to behave in ways that please God. Someone speaks harshly or says unkind things to us, but we choose to be quiet or reply peacefully. A neighbour spreads slander or a friend betrays a confidence, but we choose to forgive and hold no grudges. We are treated unfairly at the workplace, yet we continue to work responsibly and be respectful to our co-workers. We bless our enemies and do not curse them in our hearts. We deliberately choose to do a good turn to someone who is unfriendly. Worldly circumstances or the actions of our loved ones can cause anxiety and disturb our inner peace, but we stand against the tide of fear and choose to rest under the wings of the Almighty.
Such faithful Christian living doesn’t happen overnight, but requires consistent effort.We should not expect dramatic changes. And we will fail, many, many times. Failures are places of learning, not something to hold us back permanently. So we should get up, shake off the sin by confessing it to God, and begin walking again.
Each time we obey the Spirit of God, and choose to disregard the demands of the flesh, we are making progress in the right direction. Small choices made daily can transform our lifestyle and character. Small gains add up. Little by little, doing right becomes a habit. The flesh is crucified and the new man is nourished. Soon the resurrection power of Jesus Christ which works within us to overcome evil becomes a manifest reality to others. What seemed impossible becomes real.
Father, we thank You for the confidence we have as we try to imitate Jesus. Strengthen us and keep us steadfast, as we learn to overcome evil with good. In Jesus’ name.