Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good – Romans 12:21
What a powerful, concise exhortation this is! In just a few words, Paul sums up the mission of Christian living.
First, be not overcome of evil! There are a thousand different ways in which Satan seeks to tear down our Christian testimony. It may be a temptation to sexual sin, or a tendency toward despair, or a disposition toward anger, or a longing for personal advancement or recognition.
But for all the temptations that may come our way, the remedy is the same, simple command: do not allow evil to overcome you. Stand fast in the Lord and in the power of his strength. Do not give in; do not be puffed up; do not allow your pride or lust or pain to overwhelm you.
And, second, overcome evil with good. The Christian’s posture is not a defensive one. We are to be overcomers, not merely survivors. Not only are we not to give up in fighting sin, we are to counteract the sin in the world by our good lives and conduct. We are to overcome evil.
How can we do that? Not by fighting fire with fire, but rather by overcoming evil with good. There is no other way to successfully battle evil in the world. The goodness of our Savior must be reflected in the good words and works of his people. The more his goodness is displayed, the more sin loses its strength and subtlety.
Don’t be overcome by sin; rather, overcome sin with the goodness of God.