Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. – Romans 12:21
Not only is doing good the best way to overcome evil, it is the only way. However, oftentimes when faced with evil situations and temptations, retaliating with goodness is the last thing on our minds even as Christians. We tend towards either repaying evil for evil, repaying evil with not-evil, or doing nothing at all.
Now concerning overcoming evil with not-evil here’s a typical example. Say a person is having lustful thoughts and is being tempted to indulge in sexual immorality, and that person-in order to resist temptation-decides to go watch football or even as famously taught, take a shower instead. That person has done nothing. Why? Because the only way to resist satan is through Jesus. Showers and football are good things (of course they are I love football, maybe not showers) but without Jesus these good things are reduced to merely not-evil things. The best they can do is postpone the evil for later. I can assure you that after watching the football or taking that shower such a person will go right back to face the devil he didn’t destroy through Jesus. Such things are not the good spoken of in Romans 12:21, they will only work against the enemy when backed up by the goodness of God.
What then is the good that is spoken of here? It is the kind of good known in the scriptures as Good Works. Good works are the good things you do in the name of Jesus and to the glory of God. They range from prayer, to praise, to evangelism, to bible reading… they are endless. They are the good that can truly overcome evil.
When you are tempted to tell a lie say the truth instead. When tempted to steal, give. Overcome that evil desire by doing good instead. See what Jesus says in Matthew 5:44: bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. Now you see why Jesus and Stephen even prayed for their murderers at the point of death. I have learnt that if you stand and soak in evil long enough without fighting back with good, evil will eventually come out of you too. Hear what God said to Cain in Genesis 4:7: If you do good will you not be accepted? And if you do not do good sin lies at the door. It desires to have you but you must rule over it. Refusal to do good when faced with evil will surely end up in evil!
Trying to overcome evil by doing nothing is like a person who fasts and stays away from food but refuses to pray and seek God’s presence, nothing can come out of such exercise. That person is no doubt starving their flesh but they are also starving the spirit. Just as the only true way to overcome the flesh is to build the spirit, the only true way to overcome evil is by doing good.
Look, darkness cannot be picked up and thrown away, only light [no matter how tiny] overcomes it, and with ease. All you need to overcome evil is a little good. As a matter of fact, darkness is just the absence of light in the first place. In the same way evil exists only when there is lack of good. I urge you today, fight that evil situation with good. Do the exact opposite of what the devil expects and watch what happens.
Do you know there is a great reward awaiting you for every evil you overcome? The word of God says after satan failed in his attempt to tempt Jesus that: the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered unto Him – Matthew 3-11. Know this, wherever there is a devil angels are present too. The moment you reject the gifts and advances of the devil an angel presents you with a gift from God. This I say then, fear not evil and temptation, but relish them. Overcome evil with the goodness of God and watch Him send His messengers to minister to your most pressing needs.
May the God of peace continually bruise the devil under your feet in Jesus’ name. Amen