Psalm 27:1-2 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall.
Anyone who follows Christ has and enemy. The enemy seeks to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10) and he’ll do it by whatever means necessary. This can be a scary thought. A powerful enemy who hates us because we belong to God, just waiting to bring us down.
But we don’t have any reason to fear evil because it’s already been conquered. God has defeated evil with the work of Christ and Satan has no power over us. Yes, he’ll still try to defeat us. Yes, he’ll still prowl around like a lion, seeking whom he can devour (1 Peter 5:8). But the point is, he can’t win. He can’t get us because we’re in Christ. Jesus’ victory over evil is our victory over evil. Because He won, we win.
Some Christians still live in fear of the dark spiritual forces that are at work in the world. One reason for this is their focus on the evil that exists rather than on the Almighty God who beat it. When we keep our eyes on Him, who is there to fear?
Psalm 91:9-10 Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place— the Most High, who is my refuge— no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent.
God’s people can be assured that our Lord will provide us with protection from evil. There is literally no reason to be fearful if you belong to God in Christ Jesus. Nothing in this world, or in any world, can stand against Him (Romans 8:37-39). No evil can come near us if we’re under His protection.
The Lord will provide His angels to guard us (Psalm 91:11), at His discretion. Nothing can befall us with His knowledge. No plague, no tribulation, no struggle gets by Him without His knowledge.
Our God is mighty and able to protect us from all things. He is our strength and our shield. It’s no wonder the words “Fear not” appear so many times in His Word. If we make Him our dwelling place, we’re safe in His shadow.
———- What are you afraid of?
Romans 12:9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.
What are the marks of a true Christian? We may sometimes wonder how to answer that question, but fortunately for us, the Apostle Paul already did in his letter to the Romans. Paul lays out a criteria for the true Christian. It’s not another set of rules to follow, and it’s not all-inclusive, but it’s worth taking a look at.
It’s no surprise that this outline of a true Christian starts with love. A Christian without love is ineffective and doesn’t present a very good witness. Paul commends his friends in Rome to be genuine in their love, to hate what is evil, and to hold on to what is good. This is good advice, but sadly not what many of us think of when we define the Christian life.
Let love be genuine. In the American church especially there is a tendency to put on a show that isn’t genuine when it comes to love and acceptance. We want people to believe that we care about them even when we don’t. But that’s not Christian love. That’s hypocrisy. Let your love be genuine. Work at it. If you’re struggling with showing someone love, focus on their good points and act out of that.
Hate what is evil. Again, to pick on the American church, we have become very much a part of the culture around us, even in our churches. We embrace the world’s things, even when they contradict the way of God. The only think we’re told to hate as a command is evil and sin. Instead we often love what is evil and hate what is good. That has to change.
Hold on to what is good. Keep focused on the things of God. Love the things that fit His character, follow after the things that please Him. This is the beginning of effective Christian living that presents a witness for Christ that others will want to know more about.