This week we’re going to take a look at seven principles found in Romans 12 that describe the marks of a true Christian. The intent of studying this passage is not to condemn or lead you to comparison. Instead, let Paul’s teaching fill you with a deep, transformative longing to wholeheartedly pursue the life God intends for you. Ask God to help you see yourself as he sees you, to see the grace he’s placed upon your life by the blood of Jesus so that you might walk more fully in the power and anointing of the Spirit. Open your heart to God, and let him do a mighty work in you. He is near to you, ready to mold and shape you into a disciple filled with and fueled by his incredible love. May you discover God’s grace and perspective this week as you examine your life in light of this powerful passage of Scripture.
The world is filled with the destruction that sin and separation from God has caused. All around us are signs of the enemy’s hand working tirelessly to keep God’s children from the abundant life our Father longs to give. Even when looking at the state of the church, you see lives still impacted by either their own sin or the sin of others. Reflect for a minute on your own life. What are your struggles? What are the struggles you see in the lives of other believers around you? What about the world around you?
The last command God gives us in the Romans 12 passage we’ve been studying this week says, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21). The idea of overcoming the world is a consistent concept throughout the entire New Testament. Scripture is clear that through the death of Christ we’ve been given the power and authority to overcome the work of the enemy in our own lives and lead others to freedom. Revelation 12:11 says, “And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.” Conquering the enemy is our destiny as God’s people. In Matthew 10:6-8 Jesus says, “But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay.”
God gives us an important piece of his battle plan for the war against evil in Romans 12: we are to triumph over our enemy with good as our weapon. God doesn’t fight evil with evil; he fights evil with love. It’s the love of God that will lead you to victory over the enemy in your own life, and it’s God’s love that will be the weapon you use to lead other people to victory as well. God’s goodness will draw you out of pursuing the world and lead you to victory as Revelation 12:11 says, “They loved not their own lives even unto death.” And it is God’s goodness that anoints you to “heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers” and “cast out demons” as Matthew 10 says. The goodness of God will always be more powerful than the enemy. His love will always triumph over the power of sin.
So, how can you “overcome evil with good” in your own life? James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” Because of the authority of your heavenly Father, when you put up a fight with the enemy, you will win. He will flee from you. That’s God’s promise to you. You have victory over the enemy in Christ because “he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). Greater is the Spirit who lives inside of you than the enemy who wages war against you. Finally, Galatians 5:1 says, “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”
Christ has set you free from bondage to the world. But you are free to choose who you submit yourself to. Experiencing consistent victory requires you to submit yourself to God and not to the world. You have to wake up and choose to live every day for God. You have to choose being successful in God’s eyes instead of society’s. You have to choose to live your life in light of eternity. But God promises if you will simply make that choice, he will lead you to victory over sin and its destructive effects and anoint you to help others do the same. In choosing God, you will discover the incredible life he has in store for those “who love God” and “are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). Choose God today, and overcome evil with the goodness of restored relationship with your heavenly Father.
1. Meditate on God’s promise to you of victory over the enemy.
“And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.” Revelation 12:11
“Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4
2. Reflect on the areas of your life in which you need to overcome your enemy. Where do you struggle with sin? Where do you need victory today?
3. Now renew your mind to the truth of God’s word while focusing on that area. Use God’s truth as the sword to defeat the lies of your enemy.
“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2
Overcoming sin is a daily battle. But it is a battle that’s already won. Experiencing the victory available to you will happen as you spend time with God every day meditating on his word and experiencing his goodness. Choose to place spending time with him above every other priority, and you will walk in victory over your enemy.
Extended Reading: Romans 12