Summary: How to Overcome Evil With Good Instead of Being Overcome By Evil – Rom. 12:21 (A message for the week of 911)
How to Overcome Evil With Good Instead of Being Overcome By Evil – Rom. 12:21
75% of Americans said they felt depressed after the incident of 911, 2001. How are you feeling today?
Some events in human history impact us so greatly, that we will forever remember the circumstance surrounding where we were when we heard the news. I’ll never forget sitting in a classroom while in the 5th grade and hearing the reports of JFK’s assassination over the school PA system and watching my teacher Mrs. Evalyn Humke weep. Or watching with a group of missionaries as Christa McAuliffe began her journey to be the first teacher in space, only to have it end so abruptly and tragically. Nor will I ever forget last year as we watched the TV in our dining hall to see smoke billowing up from the North Tower of the World Trade Center and moments later see the second plane crash into the South Tower. Those images are forever embedded in our memories. You probably remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when you first heard the news.
But today, I want to ask and attempt to answer the question that no doubt has puzzled so many since that horrific day. How can we become better rather than bitter as result of the lessons from 911?
Scripture commands us to not be overcome by evil, but to overcome evil with good. We know that our battle is not against flesh and blood but against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Eph. 6:12) How do we do that?
Let us overcome any tendencies to give in to discouragement, frustration or hurt. Let us take the offensive instead of just preceding along like robots who fail to utilize the power of God’s promise, "Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good." (Rom. 12:21)
Overcome: From the Greek word nikao meaning to mightily prevail over, to master, to be victorious. We have a choice in every situation to either be a victor or to be vanquished. Too many believers are failing to experience consistent victory over their anger, fear and self-centered responses to adversity. Jesus wants us to experience His life in all of its abundance, but too many Christians today are allowing themselves to be defeated by the world, the flesh and the devil. Quote: He, who overcomes with the good of patience, forbearance, kindness, and beneficence to those who have wronged you, is better than the mighty. Here are a few guidelines for overcoming evil with good instead of succumbing to power of evil that seeks to defeat us emotionally, mentally, physically, socially and spiritually. Instead of being overcomers, many Christians are merely succumbers.
OVERCOME WITH PRAISE TO GOD that you are already a conqueror through Christ who loves you. (Rom. 8:37) THANK God for making you a conqueror over sin, human desires and evil through the power of Christ who lives within each believer. As the famous old song reminds us, there is victory in Jesus. We just need to appropriate the victory we already enjoy in Christ by being steadfast, unmovable and always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing our labor is not in vain in the Lord. (I Cor. 15:57,58)
Too many Christians fail to appropriate, recognize and utilize the power of Christ to help them do everything God asks them to do. We cannot experience what it is to be an overcomer unless we recognize and thank God for what we already have in our new identity in Christ and in the body of believers WE belong to. Paul wrote, “He has put all things under His feet and appointed Him as head of the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all things in all ways and makes everything complete, and who fills everything everywhere with Himself. (Eph. 1:22,23) Praise God for giving you His overcoming power a member of His body.
OVERSHADOW any opposition with His mighty power. To overshadow something is to let it appear much more prominent or important. Be like Mary who learned how to let the power of God overshadow any negative criticism, misunderstanding, or misconstruing of the facts when she was told, “Nothing is impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37) “Then the angel said to Mary, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you like a shining cloud and so the holy offspring will shall be born of you.” (Luke 1:35)
OVERLOOK another’s fault. To overlook is to fail to notice, to ignore, and to look beyond. Proverbs 19:11 says, “A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.” Learn to be bigger than any problem through the power that Christ gives you. In a day when lawsuits and people are quick to demand their rights Paul tells us that we are not to take vengeance in to our hands, but leave room for God’s wrath. We are to overcome with forgiveness that will break the cycle of retaliation and lead to reconciliation. The alternative is terrible because returning evil for evil hurts us just as much as it hurts an opponent. Forgiving another person frees you of the heavy load of bitterness that defiles many. Choose to be better rather than bitter from every situation.