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Abstain from all Appearance of Evil

Scriptures Expounded - Posted on Wednesday, December 31, 2014
by Temi Peter
Abstain from all Appearance of Evil

“Abstain from all appearance of evil.”
1 Thessalonians 5:22
What does it mean to abstain from all appearance of evil? For a Christian, it means to stay away from anything that raises suspicion about your Christian faith or makes you vulnerable. The Bible says in Philippians 2:12 that we should work out our salvation with fear and trembling. This means we have a responsibility to make sure that we do all we can to stand fast and strong in the faith. Anything that appears like evil will most likely lead to evil. Doing what looks evil but is not evil may not be bad or sinful at the onset but if care is not taken, you may find yourself deep in sin. Every Christian is supposed to have their guards raised at all times to fend off sin and sinful thoughts. However, by not abstaining from all appearance of evil, what a Christian does is that he/she deliberately lets down their defenses consciously or unconsciously thereby leaving them vulnerable to the flesh and sin. Galatians 5:1 urges us to stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ had made us free. By refusing to abstain from all appearance of evil, one is beginning to relax and stand ‘slow’. Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:23 that though all things were lawful to him, not all things were expedient. To abstain from all appearance of evil can also mean that we Christians should as much as possible mind only those things which are expedient. Abstaining from all appearance of evil requires a sincere conscious effort.
First, you must identify your areas of weakness. We all have our different areas of strength and weakness.
Second, based on your weaknesses, you have to decide what seemingly harmless scenarios, situations and events can make you susceptible to sin and evil in the short or long run and avoid them altogether.
Third, always imagine the worst that could happen if you decide not to abstain from that appearance of evil rather than trying to convince yourself with words like “there is nothing there”, “I can control myself” etc.
Fourth, always think about what people will say. We may say well, it doesn’t matter what people say. But there is a saying that the voice of the people is the voice of God. In the same vein, our Lord Jesus Christ gave regard to what people will say in Luke 14:28-30 when He talked about counting the cost of building a house before embarking on the project. If what people said didn’t matter, He would not have made the reference. We must know that the opinion people have of us is most likely what we shall be known for. You will not always be around to answer for or defend yourself when your matter is being discussed or inquiries are made about you. A Christian must always be seen to be right in the eyes of all men, in his own eyes and in the eyes his Maker.
Fifth, always imagine if you will like the rapture to meet you in that situation or scenario. If you won’t want the LORD to come back and meet you in that state, then you have every reason to shun it. If it doesn’t feel right, it is not right.
A Christian should not be found saying or doing something or seen anywhere that will raise questions about the authenticity of his faith. We Christians must leave no doubt whatsoever in the mind of the world that we truly belong to Christ. A Christian should never be controversial but rather should be straight, plain and discreet. Finally, we should be firm in saying ‘no’ whenever a demand or request is made of us to do anything which though looks harmless may eventually lead us to sin and take decisions that affect our faith. In addition, we should learn to make decisions devoid of emotions. Attaching emotions to decision-making may not augur well for our spiritual well-being as it may lead to harmful compromise.
To shed more light on the subject matter, I hereby itemise some appearances of evil:
1. Having worldly friends.
2 Corinthians 6:14 is clear on this.
2. Being alone with the opposite sex in a secluded place.
3. Listening to worldly music.
4. Engaging in worldly conversations.
5. Going to a bar for any reason whatsoever.
6. Going to a brothel for any reason whatsoever.
7. Going to parties, clubs and events that do not glorify God in the short or long run. Christian festivities, weddings, naming ceremonies, birthdays, matriculations, convocations, thanksgivings for breakthroughs, funerals of aged deceased etc are all occasions where we can celebrate in moderation and then give thanks and glory to God. However, political events (some of them), worldly concerts, night club parties, worldly album launch, worldly movie premieres may not give us the opportunity to glorify God at all.
8. Blowing your own trumpet.
9. Accepting the praise of men or allowing men to praise you or turn you into a ‘god’.
The above are just a few of the many possible scenarios that can be referred to as appearance of evil.
May God help us abstain from all appearance of evil and evil itself and finish this Christian race strong and well. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Posted by:
Temi Peter


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