OVERCOMING EVIL (2)
How do we overcome the evil that is within us at times? When we are wronged by another what does our Father expect us to do? Turn the other cheek says Matt 5:38-42 and be kind to the one who has wronged you. Do not seek revenge says Proverbs 20:22 but pursue peace, as much as it is within your power Roman 12:18. Roman 12:21 goes on to say that we need to overcome evil with good. How do we do that? Romans 12:17-21 gives us a process of what to do, and the important message is to allow our Father to deal with the matter. Can we submit to the living God, in our distress, in our sense of being wronged, can we pour out our hearts to Him and trust that He will do what is best for all parties? Exodus 23:4-5 gives us an example of what to do when we see our ‘enemy’ in trouble. The most important message here is what do we do with the evil intent that can be within us. Do we give into it, or do we wrestle with it, before our Father, seeking His help in overcoming evil.
If the human heart is desperately wicked and full of deceit, how do we overcome the sin that lies so close to us? Of course we are covered by Christ and in Him we are cleansed. He dwells within us, if we let Him in. However our Father also expects us to break sinful habits and develop new and spiritual ways. Eph 4:22-24 reminds us that we have a “former way of life” and our Fathers expectation is that we “put it off” and “renew our minds” in spiritual ways. Phil 3:13-14 asks us not to dwell on past failures but to “press on toward the goal”, not giving up and not to be mastered by any sin 1 Cor. 6:12. Our Father requires us to work out our salvation and says that He will work in us to bring about His purpose Phil 2:12-13. 2 Cor 9:8 states that God is able to make us abound in every good work. So if He is able to do these things for us and in us, then surely our part is to let Him in, to invite Him to work through us, to help us overcome those things that separate us from Him. In a practical sense Phil 4:6-7 instructs us to have no anxiety but in all things to let our requests be made known to our Heavenly Father. It then goes on to tell us what to do to help maintain a pure heart so as not to slip back into sinful ways Phil 4:8. Do we in humility need to ask for our Father to help us to no longer serve sin? Romans 6:11-22.
Are we at peace in our inmost being or do we fret and worry and become agitated when things aren’t as we wish? In our spiritual walk our Father gives us markers along the way to help us understand how we are doing. One of those markers is our ability to be at peace, despite what is happening around us and to us. Our beloved Saviour seemed to remain at peace, all the time, although the tempter tried to unsettle him on several occasions. Peace comes, scripture tells us, when we are in Christ John 14:27. The Psalmist was confident in his trust in the Lord and found rest, despite the trouble he was facing Ps. 48. Peace and rest are a direct result of being controlled by the Spirit Roman 8:6 and asking our Father to enlarge this capacity within us. Put another way, peace and rest are fruits of the spirit as Gal. 5:22-23 tells us and is an indication of our relationship with our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Phil. 4:6-7 gives us a process of how to go about obtaining peace, when we feel unsettled. If, however, our internal state is one of constant tension and peace eludes us, Isa 57:21 has a very difficult message, but we then know where to go and what to do to obtain peace. To submit before the Almighty is the way to peace and rest and if our minds are fix on Him we will find perfect peace