1 Thessalonians 5:22
Abstain from all appearance of evil.
Do you know what evil looks like?
Do you know the things that fall into the category of evil? If not, here is a list, it is not all-encompassing. However, it is a pretty good one:
Galatians 5:19-21 The behavior of the self-life is obvious: Sexual immorality, lustful thoughts, pornography, 20 chasing after things instead of God, manipulating others, hatred of those who get in your way, senseless arguments, resentment when others are favored, temper tantrums, angry quarrels, only thinking of yourself, being in love with your own opinions, 21 being envious of the blessings of others, murder, uncontrolled addictions, wild parties, and all other similar behavior. Haven’t I already warned you that those who use their “freedom” for these things will not inherit the kingdom realm of God! (The Passion Translation TPT)
The thing is, you have to be on the lookout because sometimes evil is not as obvious as you might think. Evil does not always look the way we think “evil” should look.
Proverbs 14:12-13 There’s a way of life that looks harmless enough; look again—it leads straight to hell. Sure, those people appear to be having a good time, but all that laughter will end in heartbreak. (The Message MSG)
The movie “Needful Things” tells the story of a shop that opened in a small, picture-perfect town. The proprietor always seemed to have an item in stock that was perfectly suited to any customer who came through his doors. The thing is, the item was not just a want. Somehow it was a “need”. It was something the customer believed he or she could not live without. They would do anything to get the item they “needed.” The prices were negotiable, because money was not the only currency used. The proprietor would choose someone the customer would have to play a “trick” on and/or allow the customer to trade favors. The proprietor somehow knew about the long-standing desires, private grudges, arguments, and feuds between the various townspeople. The pranks were his means of forcing them to escalate until the whole town was eventually caught up in madness and violence.
The movie was extreme in its delivery, but the Lord was and is still speaking. Do you understand the difference between a need and a want? What is a need? A need is something that is necessary for the survival, urgency, life or death outcome. Emergency should come to mind.
Acts 17:27-28 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ (New International Version NIV)
What is a want? A want is something that you wish for and/or desire. The desire can be really intense and you may even feel you will die if you don’t get it. However, will you die if you don’t get it? The answer is no.
James 4:2-3 You want your own way, and fight for it deep inside yourselves. You lust for what you don’t have and are willing to kill to get it. You want what isn’t yours and will risk violence to get your hands on it. 2-3 You wouldn’t think of just asking God for it, would you? And why not? Because you know you’d be asking for what you have no right to. You’re spoiled children, each wanting your own way.
When you don’t know the difference between what you want and what you need, you are a target for the adversary. The devil always pays up front; he just holds back the consequences until you are all-in. Your relationship with the Father gives you the edge you need to resist the devil and he will flee.
Psalm 37:4-5 Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass. (New King James Version NKJV)
Keep these concepts in mind. First, you have to delight yourself in the Lord. Make Him your joy, your delight, and your true pleasure. Then He is free to give you the desires of your heart. He will tell you what to desire. You don’t have the wisdom to know. This is where you confuse what you want with what you need. However, He knows. Finally, don’t meddle in the situation. Don’t try to help God work it out. He will bring it to pass.
James 4:7 So submit to [the authority of] God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him] and he will flee from you. (Amplified Bible AMP)
Make sure you don’t miss the appearance of evil.
Please agree with me as I pray:
Father, first thank You for being my God, my covering, my keeper, and my deliverer. I repent for all the times in my life when I chose what I thought something was a good thing, when really it wasn’t. I know every one of those times; I made the choice without acknowledging You first. I will no longer give You a quick prayer. I will inquire of You. I will sit at Your feet and wait for Your leading. I have to suffer the fall-out for my actions and own my part in it. There are consequences when I don’t seek You. There are consequences when I don’t acknowledge You in all my choices. Sometimes I am confident about the decision I am about to make and I get through it untarnished. A good deal of the time, I don’t. I am getting rid of the times when I take risks by using my intelligence and gut instincts; I will use spiritual discernment. What I hear will not sway me; whether it is the enemy whispering, any other person speaking, or my thoughts someone. I want to be led by the Spirit…
Ask the Lord what He wants to say to you about today’s devotional and journal His response as described here.