Getting Rid of Evil

1 Peter 2:1
Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.

Chapter one of the book of First Peter tells us that our goal is to love each other deeply because we have God’s love. Chapter two continues that thought with step two which is to get rid of the evil that destroys relationships. We aren’t loving each other when we slip into hypocrisy and deceit.

Showing respect for others, submitting to the proper authority, and doing good deeds are ways we love our neighbors. This love is ammunition for demolishing the evil.

How do you rid yourself of darkness? Turn on the light.

How do you rid yourself of evil? Use love. Use God’s love. But to use it, you have to have it. So go to God and receive the life that turns away death and the light that turns away darkness. Go to God and receive his love.

Nine Verses

Ephesians 4:14
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.

In Ephesians 4:8-16, I have found words of hope and clear direction that have often been overlooked. We know that there are apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers in our enormous Christian family. But do we read past that verse to find the people the others were put here for?

Let’s look at the verses. Verse 8 tells us that God has given gifts to men. Verses 9 and 10 tell us about the one who gave the gifts. Verse 11 tells us what the gifts are. Verse 12 and 13 tell us why he gave the gifts. Verse 14 tells us what happens when we reach the goal achieved by using the gifts. Verse 15 tells us we will grow up by speaking the truth in love. Verse 16 tells us we’re supposed to work together.

Those nine verses tell us that each one of us has been given the gift of a job that is so special and so necessary that there are people being directed by God to help each of us prepare for that job. If we each do our job to the best of our ability, we will mature in the process. Then we will no longer be deceived by the “good ideas” that get thrown at us all the time. If we each do our jobs and mature until we reach unity in the faith, we will be stable so we’re not blown about by every wind of teaching.

Can you imagine what would happen if everyone actually did this?

I believe we will do this. But each of us has to do those works of service that we were created to do.

If you are doing your God-given works of service, good for you. I’m proud of you. Keep it up. If we all keep it up, we will reach a unity in the faith that we have only dreamed of so far.

God has a plan. Let’s stick with it.

Flattering Lips

Psalm 12:1-2
Help, LORD, for the godly are no more; the faithful have vanished from among men. Everyone lies to his neighbor; their flattering lips speak with deception.

Have you ever felt like you were the only one trying to do what was right?

I know children often complain about getting into trouble for something they’ve done because it seems as though their siblings never get into trouble. Does a mother forego justice to keep the peace?

No. Parents must teach their children to do what is right even when you really are the only one doing it.

Psalm 12 shows us that this feeling has been around a long time. When we think everyone is lying, God reminds us that His words are flawless. We can lift up the words of the Lord and remain in His protection.

Deceitful Gain

Genesis 27:35
But he said, “Your brother came deceitfully and took your blessing.”

When you think of the story of Jacob and Esau, the word “deceit” comes to mind. Although he was helped by his mother, Jacob was the one who deceived his father into giving him his brother’s blessing.

Jacob received the blessing, but did he walk in honor? No. He had to run away to protect himself from Esau who was consoling himself with the thought of killing him.

Many people are able to get what they want – one way or another – like Jacob. Anyone can stoop to being a deceitful scammer, but I don’t think it feels as good as getting what you’ve earned and walking in honor.

Why flee when you can live free?

It’s hard to forgive those who take things by deception. The good news, however, is that Esau was able to forgive Jacob. Genesis 33:4 tells us that the brothers saw each other again after years of separation – and Esau didn’t kill him as Jacob had feared.