Romans 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
This verse really underscores the importance of the Scriptures and the critical role they play in our lives. Their absence is debilitating while their presence is empowering. By absence, I mean that we have a casual approach to the Scriptures and the role they play in our lives. By ‘presence’ I mean that we embrace the Scriptures; learn them and apply them. They develop the framework through which we view life. They are the basis for us defining what is good and evil.
How do we resist being overcome by evil if we don’t recognize the evil that surrounds us? While much evil is obvious, there is much that is not. Likewise we must learn to recognize good. The problem is twofold: the society around us at times is clueless as to good and evil; and the Church is greatly affected by the fact that our culture has so infiltrated the church. This results in the problem that Isaiah identified in 5:20 where he pronounces a warning:
“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.”
We must recognize that this is going on all around us now and the Scriptures enable us to address it. In Hebrews 5:13-14 we see the reality of this problem and the vital role God’s Word has:
13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
The Lord wants our lives to glorify Him. We are able to do that by living lives that are not overcome by evil, rather we overcome evil with good.