Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Abstain from Evil

1 Thessalonians 5:22

Abstain from every form of evil. (NKJV)

20140530-104833-38913743.jpgWhat are we willing to do to avoid or abstain from evil – from sin? We live in a society – and a religious environment – that is chasing fast after society – where there are no absolutes – or at least very few. Nothing is wrong or sinful it seems – except disagreeing with the social norms.

One of my new favorite sayings is this – the further the world moves away from God the more Christians should stand out. Unfortunately it doesn’t always seem to go that way. At times we see the church – the religious community – moving away from God as fast as society.

Here is today’s passage in partial context. 1 Thessalonians 5:12-24 – 12 Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. 13 Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. 14 And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not treat prophecies with contempt 21 but test them all; hold on to what is good, 22 reject every kind of evil. 23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.

In NKJV our passage reads – abstain from every form of evil. In NIV it reads – reject every kind of evil. In KJV it reads – abstain from every appearance of evil. Some strong words – abstain from every form of evil – even the appearance of evil – reject every kind of evil.  Are they words we are ready to hear today?

What are we willing to do to avoid evil – avoid sin? A little quoted text – words from Jesus Himself – tells us what we should be willing to do to avoid sin – evil. Matthew 5:29–30 – (NIV) 29 If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell. So I ask the questions again – what are we willing to do to avoid evil – sin?

It seems to me that the societal norm – one that has gotten a head of steam from my youth till today (and beyond I’m sure) – is if it feels good – do it! Whatever feels good – whatever feels normative to you – whatever desire or feeling seems right – try it – do it – you will be OK. Don’t worry what the Bible says about it – we all read and interpret the Scriptures differently (I heard that somewhere recently as a reason the Bible couldn’t be used in a discussion).

We are a product of our environment – so if we surround ourselves with the world – the social norm will be our measuring stick rather that the Word of God. Think about it!

Jesus calls us to deny ourselves – to follow His example rather than the example of the world. Luke 9:23–26 (NIV) – 23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. 25 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? 26 Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

So – what are we willing to do to remove sin – to avoid evil – in our lives? How far is far enough?

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

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June 4, 2014 - Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , ,

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