Strength For Today

A journey of keeping my heart, mind, and body in TODAY

Love Journey: Overcome!!

on March 4, 2014

 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

I love the word overcome!  This word has entered into my world in a whole new way over the past three years.  Prior to that, it wasn’t a word I spent much time marinating my thoughts on.  As it is today,  overcome represents victory to me!

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines overcome as:

1. to defeat (someone or something)

2. to successfully deal with or gain control of (something difficult)

In light of these definitions of overcome, I would like to dig into the final verse of this Romans 12 Love Journey!

 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

This is what I like to call a “wrap-up sentence”.  In the world of education, I teach my students that a “wrap-up sentence” should recapture the essence of what the entire passage was about.  It should summarize the point, usually including some kind of a powerful – and sometimes emotional – statement.  I think that verse 21 of Romans 12 does this quite beautifully.

 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

As Paul (the author of Romans) concludes this section of his teaching, he lets us know the bottom line:  To BE LOVE, I must not allow evil to defeat me!  Rather, I must take ACTION and defeat evil!  How do I do that?  By choosing to exist in LOVE with those around me.  When I choose to act in love, when I choose to BE IN A STATE OF LOVE with those around me, how can evil win?  For good and evil canNOT coexist!  Look what Scripture says about that:

John 1:15   The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

(Notice here, that it doesn’t say darkness shines IN light, but rather that LIGHT shines IN darkness!!)  Light OVERCOMES the darkness!

Isaiah 42:16

And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them.

(Notice here how it is GOD that turns our darkness into light.  It is not by my own willpower that I am capable of loving….only Christ Himself can create the strength needed to be a loving person!)

1 John 1:5

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

(Notice here that GOD IS LIGHT, God is the only perfect GOOD – the ONLY One who has NO DARKNESS.  We are all sinners.  We all have darkness in our hearts.  Only Christ’s Light can redeem us and change the dark places of our hearts into light!)

Lamentations 3:2

He has driven and brought me into darkness without any light

(Notice here that it is possible to be in total darkness – without light.  This is a choice we have every day.  We can exist in darkness (without Christ) OR we can exist in Light (WITH Christ)!)

Isaiah 5:20

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!

(Notice the use of antonyms in this verse good/evil, dark/light, bitter/sweet.  The use of other antonyms in the verse drives home the concept that these ideals are on opposite ends of the spectrum!)

Why all this talk about darkness and light?  Why all the fuss about opposites?  Well, I suppose it is to illustrate a point that I have learned on this walk, a point that I unfortunately learned the hardest way.  I have experienced Lamentations 3:2 firsthand.  I have made the choice in my life to walk separate from God, and have existed in total emotional and spiritual darkness as a result!  Thank the Lord, He is faithful, and just as is stated in Isaiah 42:16, HE turned my darkness into light!  And, as a person who walks in the Light today, I can honestly tell you that it is the most amazing place to exist.

I cannot stress enough that darkness and light, good and evil cannot COEXIST.  You cannot walk in darkness and experience light.  Just like you cannot walk in Light and still be in darkness.  So, if you are not choosing the path of love in your life today, then you are still walking in darkness.  You are still on a path that leads away from God and toward the unthinkable place of eternal isolation, pain, and suffering.  LOVE IS THE DOORWAY OUT.  God has shown me that there was ONLY one way for me to break free from the dark places I used to exist – the ONLY way was for me to intentionally CHOOSE Love.  

Please don’t get me wrong.  You do NOT have to be perfect in order to be intentionally choosing love.  If you understand anything, understand THIS:  JUST BY MAKING THE CHOICE TO BECOME MORE LOVING, I HAVE EXITED THE DARKNESS AND HAVE ENTERED INTO THE LIGHT.  It is a choice to grow in the place you are planted.  For me, it is a choice to BE LOVE in the way I engage with those around me, each day.  It is NOT perfection, it is progress.  And that is all I can ask of myself today: Progress, NOT perfection!

It has been fun taking this journey with you!


How can I choose to love well, today?




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