Truth for Today

Overcoming Evil with Good

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
~ Romans 12:21

Returning good for evil is one of the most difficult obligations a Christian has. Yet from Old Testament times, that has been God’s command to the godly person: “If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; for so you will heap coals of fire on his head, and the Lord will reward you” (Prov. 25:21–22). 

The expression “heap coals of fire on his head” referred to an ancient Egyptian custom. A person wanting to show public contrition would carry on his head a pan of burning coals to symbolize the burning pain of his shame and guilt. When you love an enemy enough to truly endeavor to meet his needs, you hope to shame him for his hatred toward you. 

To avoid being overcome by the evil done to you, you must first not allow it to overwhelm you. Second, you must not allow your own evil responses to overpower you. In either instance, the evil itself must be overcome by what is good.

Truth for Today

Peaceful Relationships

Live peaceably with all men.

~ Romans 12:18

By definition, a peaceful relationship cannot be one-sided. You must do your part to make sure that your side of a relationship is right. Your inner desire, with God’s help, should be to live in peace with everyone, even the most sinful, hard-to-get-along-with people.

Short of compromising the Word of God, you ought to extend yourself to great lengths to build peaceful bridges to those who persecute you and hate you. If you set aside any grudge or bitterness and from the heart completely forgive your enemies, you can honestly seek reconciliation with them.

Truth for Today

Respecting What Is Right

Respect what is right in the sight of all men.

~ Romans 12:17 [NASB]

If you sincerely respect others, including your enemies, you will be predisposed to do the right thing concerning them. Such respect helps you to discipline and prepare yourself ahead of time to respond in all situations in a manner pleasing to God.

Behaving in a way that respects what is right and demonstrates graciousness and forgiveness toward others, even your enemies, should be a positive testimony to them. It will also “adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things” (Titus 2:10).

Truth for Today

No Such Thing as Payback

Repay no one evil for evil.
~ Romans 12:17

Some people believe the Old Testament law of “eye for eye, tooth for tooth” (Exod. 21:24) permits personal revenge. But that’s not what it refers to. It was actually saying that the severity of legal punishment should not exceed the severity of an offense. In other words, if someone put out another person’s eye, he could not be penalized by anything involving more than the forfeiture of his own eye. 

The authority to avenge civil and criminal injustices belongs by divine mandate only to governments. God forbids us from exacting personal vengeance. The apostle Peter summarized the principle this way: “Finally, all of you be of one mind . . . not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you May inherit a blessing” (1 Pet. 3:8–9).

Truth for Today

Humility Should Rule

Do not be conceited.

~ Romans 12:16 [NIV]

Conceited, self-serving Christians are a serious contradiction. If we would follow Christ we must be submissive to God’s will as contained in His Word. Any confidence you have in yourself, your own wisdom, or your natural talents must be subordinated to the Lord’s commands. 

In no way should you be conceited, or in any respect consider yourself better than fellow believers. Instead, God wants you to accept and embrace every member of the body of Christ: “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Phil. 2:4).

Truth for Today

Having a Heart for The Lowly

Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.
~ Romans 12:16 [NIV]

There is no aristocracy in the church, no place for an ecclesiastical elite that deserves all the attention. But the Bible doesn’t say you should never associate with wealthy or influential people. It’s simply that you should sense more of an obligation to serve the lowly people because they are the more needy. 

The Lord Jesus fittingly illustrated this truth, “‘When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just’” (Luke 14:12–14).

It’s not wrong to invite friends and relatives to your home for a meal. But it is wrong to do so with selfish motives, with the notion of being rewarded, and with no regard for those who can’t repay you.

Truth for Today

The Enthusiastic Attitude Fervent in spirit.

~ Romans 12:11

One of humanity’s most chronic shortcomings is the lack of individual enthusiasm. Often our failures to achieve what we ought result directly from apathy and lack of commitment. But that should not be true if you’re a Christian.

Enthusiasm requires Spirit-assisted resolve and persistence, not just human-guided good intentions. Henry Martyn, the tireless missionary to India, conducted his ministry with scriptural enthusiasm and fervency. It was his desire to “burn out for God.” And the apostle Paul admonishes us to “not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (Gal. 6:9).

Truth for Today

Be a Mimic

Be imitators of God as dear children.
~ Ephesians 5:1

Imitating God May be easy to discuss, but it is difficult to do. You cannot do it in your own strength. But Jesus gave us the starting point for imitating God in the Sermon on the Mount. We need to mourn over our sin with a broken and contrite spirit. When we are overwhelmed by our sinfulness, we will hunger and thirst for righteousness. So there is a paradox: we are to be like God, yet we must know we cannot be like Him on our own.

Once we are aware of the paradox, then we know there must be some other power to make imitating God a possibility. The apostle Paul prayed that God would strengthen us “with might through His Spirit in the inner man” (Eph. 3:16). The Holy Spirit provides the strength “that you May be filled with all the fullness of God” (v. 19). We can be like God (in terms of His character), but we can’t do it on our own ~ that is the Spirit’s work.”

Truth for Today


That I May know Him and the power of His resurrection.


Jesus Christ’s resurrection most graphically demonstrated the extent of His power. That’s the kind of power the apostle Paul wanted to experience because He realized he was helpless to overcome sin on his own.

The resurrection power of Christ deals with sin at our salvation. We experience His resurrection might at salvation. We were buried with Christ in His death, and we rose with Him to “walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4).

But to defeat sin daily, we need His resurrection power to be our resource. We need His strength to serve Him faithfully, to conquer temptation, to overcome trials, and to witness boldly. Only as we build our relationship with Christ and tap into His might will we have victory over sin in this life.

Truth for Today


How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

~ HEBREWS 9 : 14

Our safety in Christ results from “the answer of a good conscience toward God” (1 Pet. 3:21). The Greek word for “answer” refers to a pledge, in this case agreeing to meet certain conditions required by God before being placed into the ark of safety (Christ).

Unregenerate men and women have consciences that condemn them. One who appeals to God for a good conscience is sick of his sin and desires to be delivered from the load of guilt he bears. He has a crushing and intimidating fear of coming judgment and knows only God can deliver him. He desires the cleansing that comes through the blood of Christ (cf. Heb. 10:22). So he repents of his sin and pleads for forgiveness. 

When Christ suffered on the cross, hell threw all its fury at Him, and wicked men vented their hatred on Him. Yet through that suffering, He served as an ark of safety for the redeemed of all ages. And because He triumphantly provided salvation through His suffering, we are safe in Him.