12th May 2012

The Only Sensible Response – Cling To What Is Good

“Abhor what is evil.  Cling to what is good.”
Romans 12:9 (NKJV)

If Paul  had only said ‘abhor what is evil’, we may have thought he was talking about a frame of mind, but because he then says ‘cling to what is good’, we see that he is talking about action not just thought.

How often we try without success, or with only limited success, to put evil (sin) out of our lives.  It seems that it is a very difficult task.  That is because we are only doing half of the job.  It is truly difficult to stop doing something that has become a habit, a way of life, a characteristic.  It is much more effective if we can replace the habit with something else.  For every bad habit, there is a good habit to replace it.

Notice how Paul addresses this process in his letter to the Ephesians:  “that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in righteousness and true holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22-24)

The apostle then gives us examples of what he means.  Beginning with verse 25 he contrasts wrong behaviour with right behaviour, instead of lying, we are to speak the truth; instead of stealing, we are to give to those who need, etc.

The struggle with evil in our lives is to be won by the replacement of the evil with good.  It is as if human nature, like all of nature, abhors a vacuum.  To simply try and remove something from our nature leaves a void that seeks to be filled, and if we don’t fill that void with good we are likely to slip back into the evil habits that we are trying to eliminate.

The scriptures of the New Testament are full of instructions of how to live godly lives, and they also show us what is not godly.  Jesus, who is the grace of God, reveals these things to us.  Notice how Paul shares this wonderful truth with Titus:  “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.  It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” (Titus 2:11-14 NIV)

Prayer
Father in heaven, we struggle with our weaknesses and failings, and often try to simply put them away.  Please open our eyes to see the right actions that should replace the wrong and to make them the habits of our life.
Amen

Study by David Stirk 

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