Don’t be overwhelmed

As we seek to understand the world around us in light of the word of God, we need to also follow the instruction of the word of God concerning the world. There is tremendous evil in the world, and we need to recognize, reject and rebuke it. But we must not allow our thoughts to be overwhelmed by the evil. Rather, we should keep an accurate picture of God as God, sovereign over all, ready to rebuke and restrain wickedness, ready to answer the prayers of the saints.

The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:5b-7 (ESV)

Directing our hearts to him in prayer will produce results as he works on our behalf, but even sooner it will allow peace to keep our hearts safe from the trouble that is in the world. We need this peace if we are to remain balanced and faithful to the word of God. If we do not direct our hearts to God in faith-filled prayer, we risk becoming part of the problem.

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

James 1:19-20 (ESV)

Many people are angry, but few are trusting in God. Because of this they do not leave room for the wrath of God. The carnal reaction to evil is more evil. As children of God we must avoid this response, and that takes faith.

Psalm 37 is a terrific exhortation and comfort whenever we see evil prospering. God does not tell us to pretend that evil is not prospering. Instead he reminds us to trust that he will judge righteously, which means bringing destruction to evil people and rewarding the righteous.

He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.

Psalms 37:6-8 (ESV)

The human mind, being what it is, is susceptible to distorted views of reality. (No kidding!) If we focus our minds on evil, it begins to look like evil is the center f the universe. This is false – God is the center of the universe! In order to avoid such a distorted picture of the world we need to deliberately think of good things.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Philippians 4:8 (ESV)

There is good all around us: discipline and teamwork in sports, beauty in art and music, virtuous self-sacrifice in parenting, judges that don’t take bribes, communities that nurture and support. The list is long, and worth thinking about in detail.

Pray to God against the evil and trust he will fulfill his word. Fill your mind with the good things that you may be perfect as your father in heaven is perfect.

 

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