December 1, 2016
“For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.” 1 Peter 3:10-11.
The battle between good and evil has been around since time began. Ever since Satan rebelled against God his goal has been to deceive as many people as possible and turn them against God. It’s up to us individually to choose to do good and eschew evil. When Peter wrote the above words he was quoting from Psalm 34, which David had written during a time of trouble in his life. He could have made the choice to let his troubles guide his actions, but he chose to not allow evil to rule his life. He chose God. “What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good. Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from peaking guile. Depart from evil, and do good, seek peace, and pursue it. The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous and his ears are open unto their cry. The face of the LORD is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.” Psalm 34:12-16. We all face troubles and situations in life that can turn us to bitterness and make us contemplate doing evil. For instance if someone does wrong to you, you may want to get even. That’s a choice that is wrong for anyone to make, especially a Christian. “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21.Doing evil should never be a choice that a Christian makes. If you choose to do evil then you turn against God and will become angry and bitter. Evil never makes a person happy and always is against God’s will.
There is much evil around us and it’s easy to get discouraged. If we keep our hearts turned to God and choose to follow Him we will not be overcome by the wickedness around us. “Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.” Romans 12:9.
All evil and wickedness comes from Satan; he is a liar and deceiver. On the other hand good comes from God and the closer we walk with God the less evil can affect us. I’ve heard many people try to justify why they choose to participate in the wickedness of sin by blaming what other people have done to them. Some have been abused as children and use that to justify promiscuity. Some will say they are alcoholics or drug addicts because of emotional pain caused by others. Some can justify bad attitudes and backbiting because they are just trying to repay what a certain person has done to them. None of this can be justified. We all have a choice in the way we react to life. If you have been walking the path of wickedness, Jesus offers His love and forgiveness to you. Jesus will heal your wounds, whether they are physical or emotional. Come to Him just as you are and let Him forgive you and begin to heal you.
The Bible is clear about what is good and what is evil, so the best way to learn to discern between the two is to study God’s word. Satan is the god of this world and would have us believe that there is no such thing as right and wrong. He convinces people that sin is acceptable and if someone loves you enough to bring your sin into question, well they’re just intolerant. Satan is a liar. The Apostle Peter says that through His power, God has given us everything that pertains to life and godliness. “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, according as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” 2 Peter 1:2-4. If we have knowledge of God we shouldn’t lust after evil. The Bible presents us with lists of evil behavior and one is found in Galatians. We shouldn’t overlook these sins when we study because it’s important to learn what we need to change in our way of life. “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envying, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21. Stop and check the choices you make against this list. When you make the choice to eschew evil, these things will disappear from your lifestyle.
Many times we act out of habit. If we make it a habit to choose to do good things then we will be very aware of when we slip and do something that comes from evil. “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” Luke 6:45. The words we speak are a good indication of our moral character. A person who continually slanders others, uses foul language, and spews anger speaks what is in their heart. What comes out is ugliness and the treasure of their heart is corrupt and evil. On the other hand, a person who has encouraging words for others and speaks with love to all people shows a kindhearted person who probably has made choices based on Biblical truth. It’s easy to slip into sin if we keep company with those who embrace wickedness. A goodhearted person can be easily influenced to embrace evil if friendships are forged with wicked people. “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” 1 Corinthians 15:33. The word “communications” means the companions we choose. So, when you make a choice of friends be sure that they don’t mock God and turn your heart to evil. Make sure you are firmly grounded in God’s truth and be the type of friend who encourages others to eschew evil. Lead by example.
The entertainment we look at and listen to is also a choice. The vast majority of television shows, movies, and music promote evil and make it look good. “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” Isaiah 5:20. Woe to the people who produce such evil entertainment and woe to those who take pleasure in it. Companies pay a lot of money to advertise their products on television because they know that advertising influences those who watch or listen. It’s more than just the commercials that influence our ways. If you watching soap operas, MTV, or some other depraved programming, you are being influenced by the god of this world…Satan. All things that are evil, the entertainment industry would have us think are good; they put darkness for light. Rather than waste your time participating in satanic “entertainment”, read your Bible or go out and do some good deeds in the name of Jesus. Turn from the evil that you are inviting into your life. “Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.” 3 John 1:11. We all have choices as to what we allow into our hearts and minds. Evil can look appealing, but only following God is good.
There has never been anyone as good as Jesus. He is our example for living a good life. One day a young man ran up to Him and asked how to inherit eternal life. “And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God.” Mark 10:17-18. Jesus’ question to him was interesting. Jesus was God incarnate, so He was either trying to make the young man think about what he said and not just throw words around idly, or He was making a point to everyone within earshot. We all need to think about our words. We can say that we believe in Jesus, but do we live our life to reflect Him or do we embrace the wickedness around us? Truly there is no one good except for God. We might be good by human standards, but when it comes to being good by God’s standards we fail. Jesus shed His blood at Calvary in order to make available to us the only way for anyone to be good enough to enter Heaven. We cannot stand before our perfect God by the standards of good based on human thinking. It’s only Christ’s righteousness that makes us able to enter Heaven upon death. He shed His blood for everyone, but that gift of salvation has to be accepted in order for His righteousness to be imparted. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10. Accept His free gift now and begin walking in His ways. Do good works in His name so the wicked world around you can see His light shining through you.
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whtsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8. Do good and eschew evil.
God bless you all,
Ron Graham’s previous commentaries archived at http://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed.