"Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." Romans 12:21
I have a coaching client who jokes with me about how he loves to "destroy evil." His worldview, shaped of course by the Bible, is often caught up with the ideas of spiritual warfare and how the church is called to overcome evil in the name of Jesus. This desire to destroy evil is good and, indeed, a sign of the Spirit's work in his life.
But, how does one actually achieve victory over the forces of darkness?
Well, first off, there is prayer. When we pray "thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven" we are calling on the Lord of Heaven's Armies to break through the darkness with his marvelous, heavenly light. Our prayers in accordance with God's will is one way we partner with God in the destruction of evil.
There is also the armor of God as described in Ephesians, chapter six. One of the pieces of spiritual armor is the "sword of the Spirit, the word of God." So, when we speak the word of God and we argue with lies according to the word of God, this too is an act of spiritual warfare. I was told as a young boy that "the pen is mightier than the sword." This is true in the natural, but also in the supernatural. There is nothing more powerful than God's Word enlivened by His Spirit.
In addition, as the verse at the top of this article indicates, we also overcome (i.e. destroy) evil with "good." In other words, the "good works" that "God prepared for us in advance" (Eph 2:10) that "we should walk in" are missles of holy war against the darkness. This should not be hard to comprehend since the works of God's Son, Jesus Christ, in his life, death, resurrection and ascension dealt the mortal wound to all of the world's evil; we join with his mission as we continue to walk as he walked and love and he loved. Jesus performed good works to overthrow the Enemy; we do the same.
But, how does this connect with our unique mission?
If God has prepared good works for us to walk in and good works are what overcome evil, then knowing and walking in the specific good works you are designed for actually destroys evil in this world. To maximize our ability to overcome evil in our world is directly connected to our ability to confidently live out of our unique mission. On the flip side, if we do not know how we are wired and therefore do not know what to do with our lives, we are not doing our part in overcoming evil.
Now, this might make a direct connection to your work, but it also may be indirect. If you are designed and called by God to work for the CIA, FBI, a military branch or local law enforcement, yet you forego that call to work at State Farm Insurance, this is an obvious abdication of your responsibility to overcome evil with good. This is a direct connection we all understand.
However, anytime we neglect God's unique mission for our lives and opt for another path, we are lessening our ability to overcome evil with good. For example, if you are designed to be a homemaker, but are pressured by the world to go into sales, then your ability to overcome evil with good is limited. Why? Because in neglecting your call, you are neglecting your good works. "Good" works done in disobedience to God's plan for your life are not good at all; they are sin.
A perfect example of this is King Saul of the Old Testament. When Saul did a "good work" of sacrificing animals won in wartime to the LORD, but did so without God's permission or the oversight of the LORD's prophet Samuel, he was fiercely rebuked and disciplined.
"'You have done a foolish thing,' Samuel said. 'You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. But now your kingdom will not endure; the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed his ruler of his people, because you have not kept the LORD's command.'" (1 Samuel 13:13-14)
So, how can we learn from Saul's mistake?
We each have a unique way we are wired to display the glory of God's image in the world. We do this when we align our time, energy and resources to live out the unique mission he has given to us. If we do not know who we are and what we are called to do, it is imperative that we find out. For the overcoming of evil in the world and for the reward of God's promises, we must fight to live in step with His plan--year-by-year, job-by-job, day-by-day, decision-by-decision.
Do you know how God has wired you and what you need to do about it?
Do you want to overcome evil with the good works God has prepared in advance for you?
Let me know. I can help. Find out more at michaelswindell.com.