Few weeks pass in my life that I do not grieve because of my struggles, struggles in my extended family, and struggles in God's family. I do not know anyone who has no personal struggles. So many tragedies! So much hurt! So much evil! He or she who dares follow Jesus is deceived if he or she is confident that is the way to escape struggles!

Evil is as real a force in this life as is godliness. In this world, the clash between the forces controlled by evil and the forces controlled by God is quite real. You and I are the battleground. When Paul stressed to the Christians at Ephesus the importance of being prepared for this clash, he reminded them in Ephesians 6:12:

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

American Christians find it extremely difficult to realize that physical existence is not about experiencing an earthly "good life." We question why our dedication to an earthly "good life" has undesirable effects on our children. We wonder why faith in God is not a guaranteed route to an earthly "good life." Then when evil happenings distress our lives, we really are confused. "Isn't that impossible? Doesn't faith in God prevent that?"

James urged Christians not to blame God for evil happenings. Not even the temptation to do evil comes from God. Our struggle with evil originates in us, not in God.

James 1:12-16, Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.

John reminded Christians in 1 John 4:4:

You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. (Thanks for the reminder, John!)

Each of us may be part of the battleground, but each of us decides who wins the battle on our piece of the battleground! When trials come, persevere! On your piece of the battleground, allow God to reign! In your life, allow God to be a bigger influence than evil!

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 2 March 2003

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