“Do not be overcome evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21
This verse summarizes everything just mentioned by the Apostle Paul. It is the umbrella under which the previous commands land. Paul began this important section of Scripture by challenging the believers in Rome to present themselves as living sacrifices (12:1). He then gave a list of commandments that–when applied–allow Christians to guard against evil and, in fact, overcome it on a daily basis.
Consider again the list:
- Do not be conformed to this world (12:2).
- Renew your mind (12:2).
- Do not think too highly of yourself (12:3).
- Use your spiritual gifts appropriately (12:4-8).
- Love with purity (12:9).
- Hate what is evil (12:9).
- Cling to what is good (12:9).
- Be devoted to one another in brotherly love (12:10).
- Give preference to each other in honor (12:10).
- Avoid spiritual laziness (12:11).
- Rejoice in hope (12:12).
- Be patient in trials (12:12).
- Devote yourself to prayer (12:12).
- Contribute to the needs of the saints (12:13).
- Practice hospitality (12:13).
- Bless those who persecute you (12:14).
- Rejoice with those who rejoice (12:15).
- Weep with those who weep (12:15).
- Guard yourself from pride (12:16).
- Leave vengeance in God’s hands (12:17).
- Live at peace with everyone (12:18).
WOW! That is quite a list! Are you discouraged? Surely you do not believe you are obeying these commands perfectly? No one does. That’s why we desperately need Jesus. He lived out the commands of God without fail. Now–as we trust in His finished work–we are free to strive for consistency in our lives as it pertains to practical righteousness. Thus, a study of the list is beneficial. It helps us to evaluate whether or not we are truly living the sacrifice. The exhortation Paul gave to the first century believers is Rome is ours as well. We are to offer ourselves each and every day to such an extent that God is glorified and people are blessed.
So–browse the list one more time. You are weak in more than one of the areas listed. I am weak in several as well. With God’s help, what are we going to do about it? After confession and prayer for assistance, what first step can we take?
What first step can we take today?