(Author’s note: For Part One of this essay go to: https://stevephifer.com/how-to-overcome-evil-part-one/.)
The Good Life
I have a CD somewhere of my musical hero Tony Bennett singing, “The Good Life.” Don’t expect to sing this in a worship service.
O the good life, full of fun seems to be the ideal.
Umm the good life lets you hide all the sadness you feel.
You won’t really fall in love for you can’t take the chance.
So please be honest with yourself. Don’t try to fake romance.
It’s the good life to be free and explore the unknown,
Like the heartaches when you learn you must face them alone.
Please remember I still want you and in case you wonder why,
Well, just wakeup. Kiss the good life goodbye.
This classic love song reveals the emptiness of the longings of the heart without God. Just as the “blessings” of prosperity, romantic connections, and good luck are proven over and over to be the shifting sands that will not support a long and meaningful life, neither will the carnal weapons born in the hearts of people overcome the evil we all must face.
So, for the Believer in Christ, what is this “Good Life?” It should not be confused with material blessings. While we are promised that God will meet our needs if we put “His Kingdom and His Righteousness” first in our lives, Paul also reports that in following Jesus he had learned both “how to be abased and how to abound.” He told us to be content regardless of circumstances, a confidence based in the faithfulness of our Father, not in a scorecard of blessings possessed or denied. How do we assess the spiritual “good life?” By spiritual measures, of course, by doing good. What does that mean? It means finding God’s will for your life and following His Spirit’s lead every day. It means being faithful in big and little things. It means doing the very things Paul outlines for us in the passages we are addressing.
Two Ways Stand before Us
There are two guaranteed prophesies of the end-times:
- One is the Latter-Day Out-Pouring of the Holy Spirit, and, the other is
- “The Great Falling Away.”
These are not conditional promises; they will happen and they will lead the Believer to a sense of the times. We must be aware of them for they present us with the critical choice:
- Will I seek the outpouring? Or,
- Will I participate in apostasy?
Thinking in these terms helps us analyze the issues we face. Here is an example:
The political enemies of the Church seek to make the general population fear those who are following Jesus by accusing us of being political revolutionaries. Christian Nationalism refers to a desire to make the United States of America a “Christian Nation” by law. This is nonsense of course, but it is an accusation and a potential fear promoted by those who really do want to remove the influence of the Judeo-Christian ethic that has given us religious freedom. No true Christ-follower who understands the Bible and American history wants Christian Nationalism. Why? It contains a fundamental contradiction with a powerful Judeo-Christian principle—free will! “Whosoever will may come!” is the repeated, amazing invitation from the Lord. To take away the will of the individual is a violation of the character and plan of God. It is a direct contradiction of both the Gospel of Christ and the ancient covenant with Israel.
So, my liberal friend, do not fall prey to this false fear! True American Christ-followers treasure the constitution! It guarantees the personal freedoms that make this a land of opportunity. As I said in my essay on racial equality, “The Snake in the Garden, Crushing the Head of White Supremacy,” American believers are doubly blest.
The Cross and the Constitution
American citizens of all colors have the promises made in the Constitution which remain in force unless the character of the nation itself is changed, which some intend to do. The snake in the American garden must fear these words and try to confuse them with lesser ideas like Marxism, socialism, and communism which have been thoroughly discredited by history.
American Christ-followers also have an even greater snake killer—the Cross of Jesus Christ. The snake in the American garden operates on deception as he seeks to convince Americans that good can be accomplished by evil means. As a follower of Jesus, I have the wonderful US Constitution and I have an even more powerful document, the Word of God. The victory of Jesus at the Cross is available to me through the power of His name.
How does an individual join forces with the “snake in the Garden?” By becoming a part of the great, prophesied apostasy of the end-times. This means to turn away from the revealed truth of Scripture and embrace the hollow, situational, sensual, relativistic musings of a culture of death that has lost its moorings and is drifting toward destruction. It means to “do evil” instead of “doing good.”
How does an individual participate in the Last-Days Outpouring of the Spirit of God? By coming to know the Truth of God that sets people free to be who God has created them to be and do what He has designed them to do. How do we overcome evil? By living the Holy Spirit empowered life of loving God and loving people and doing the good things God has laid out for each of us to do.
In simpler terms, “to do evil” is to fill our hearts and minds will evil intentions and to fill our days with evil actions. Realize this: these evil things may not be violent or outwardly destructive. They may be simply believing things that are not true. “To do good” is to fill our hearts and minds with the good things of the Lord and to fill our days with deeds and attitudes that bless God and people.
Writing hundreds of years before Christ, the prophet Isaiah described the days in which we live—the Last Days:
For our sins are piled up before God and testify against us. Yes, we know what sinners we are.
- We know we have rebelled and have denied the Lord.
- We have turned our backs on our God.
- We know how unfair and oppressive we have been, carefully planning our deceitful lies.
- Our courts oppose the righteous, and justice is nowhere to be found.
- Truth stumbles in the streets, and
- honesty has been outlawed.
Yes, truth is gone, and anyone who renounces evil is attacked.
When our spiritual eyes are opened to these two realities, we can easily see the right paths to take and the correct passions to pursue. We can live among those who are “doing good” and defeating evil.
I promised at the beginning of this essay that I would conclude with an exposition of the weapons of our warfare and the tools needed for the good work we must do.
Let’s Visit the Arsenal!
First, we must understand that prayer is certainly a weapon of our warfare, but, in a much larger sense, prayer is the battle itself! To understand the weapons found in this arsenal, we must think in terms of symbols, of meaningful metaphors. The material terms used reveal spiritual realities. They are symbols and so much more. The “whole armor of God” is a literary image but these weapons are also spiritual realities. There is a belt of truth that holds the armor together. There is a righteousness that shields the heart and a helmet of redemption that protects the mind. The Word of God actually functions as a sword with two sharp edges to cut away error and cut up our spiritual enemies. There is such a thing as prayer in the Spirit. The Name of Jesus is a powerful confession that causes demons to tremble, break, and flee. The Blood of the Lamb is the power of God at work and the word of our testimony is feared throughout hell.
Be sure to see the irony found in this toolbox. These items look innocent and mild but in them is found the daily victory over evil that can accumulate to a lifetime of victory and an immaculate record of benefit to this world. There are no headlines to be found in these tools, just hard work and dogged consistency. If we think for a moment we can recall the people in our lives who used these tools:
- parents, siblings, and cousins in our family,
- brothers, sisters, elders, and co-workers in the House of God,
- teachers, leaders, and fellow-workers in the community,
- authors whose writings impacted us by delivering truths, perspectives, and challenges to us, and
- countless others whose friendships blessed us.
Now it is our turn to be
- faithful, kind, humble, diligent, joyful, and pure of heart.
- We are up to bat with passion for the Word and work of God and compassion for others.
- We can go to work each day sure of God’s will and His ways, and
- seeking only to serve when we are cast as the leader.
This is the Jesus way. It is not the natural human way, but it is the right way. Through these tools we can “do good.”
Then evil doesn’t have a chance.
© 2022 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved
 Matt 7:24-27 NIV So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
 Matt 6:31-34 NIV So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
 Phil 4:11-13 NKJV Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
 Joel 2:28-32; Acts 2:14-18
 2 Thes 2:1-4
 Mat 16:25; Mk 8:34;Lk 9:24; Rev 22:17
 Eph 2:10 NKJV For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Isa 59:12-15 Holy Bible, New Living Translation ®, copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.