The World tends to boil Christianity down to ‘morality’ at the end of the day, something we as Christians tend to fall into as well. But we must understand that our religion is about more than simply ‘doing good.’ Our lives are also about resisting evil, for evil attempts separate us from God. We resist evil through the Holy Spirit, as God strengthens us to live holy lives. But can we be ‘holy’? That’s the word that scares most folks. People tend to write it off as being uppity or snooty. But to be holy is the point, as Matthew 5.48 says, “Therefore be holy, as your heavenly Father is holy.” And that’s not the only place that is found.
Being holy means that we do good, yes, but that we resist evil and temptation as well. Most folks can pull off the ‘good’. But it’s the resisting evil that is so tough. An early Church theologian, Apollinaris of Laodicea said,
However, it is not enough merely to do good; one must resist evil as well. For it is the rejection of evil which represents true progress toward the good. ???Pauline Commentary from the Greek Church
People fail to resist evil because of their failure to fully depend on God. Is it hard to depend and rely on God? YES! Doing things God’s way feels backwards, upside-down, and odd. But this is because we have a skewed perspective to start with. Sin has weakened our true abilities. We battle ourselves every second of every day, rather than being one with ourselves. It’s an inward battle, one that most of the World looking on doesn’t see. But we can win the inward battle. Our progress CAN be tracked, like in exercise when we go back to the scales and notice the weight drop and the pant-size shrink. So it is when we try and try and TRY AGAIN in our Spiritual walk, leaning on God and relying on His Spirit. But we have to ACTUALLY lean. We must pray, read the scriptures, sacrifice those things that are distracting. If we do that, we can watch evil shrink like the pesky love-handles we all wish were gone.
Be blessed this week. I hope you find a place of worship tomorrow. Offer yourselves as “living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God” (Romans 12.1), and let Him help you resist evil as you do good.
Rev. Whit R. Martin
Pastor, New Liberty United Methodist Church
Devotional Blog ??? devoblog.posterous.com