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Good vs. Evil

12 Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. 13 Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. 14 Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace. (Romans 6:12-14 NLT)

Something always exerts control - it is the nature of how things work. The "control" or force of gravity exerts the pull that keeps us from flying away from the surface of the earth into the oblivion of outer space. Oxygen controls the ability for human life to continue to exist on this planet, for without the availability of oxygen we'd all die. Weaker are consumed by stronger, simply because they can have a greater "control" over the outcome of the chase. If control is the issue, then we ask the next big question - what control governs or exerts the biggest force of restraining or directing influence over our lives? 

The answer to this could be as varied as there are human beings walking the surface of this earth right now, but in general there are probably just a couple of "forces" governing our lives - truly directing us one way or another. These are often referred to as the forces of good and evil. In old movies, it was depicted by some dark force against a lighter one - the cowboy bandit with the dark hat and clothes against the one with the lighter hat and clothes. As the dark force of evil would plot against the lighter one of good, even the music would play on in some mysterious way, building until there was a crescendo of furious noise as the two would clash upon the screen. As the "force of good" made gains, the music would change to depict that all was well once again.

We don't live in a world where evil always dresses in dark colors, though. At times it isn't as easy to see what is working against us and there isn't any ominously building music to warn of impending doom! We find ourselves smack-dab in the middle of darkness sometimes without realizing we entered that place - all because evil has a manipulative way of cleverly disguising itself! The forces still exist - good and evil - but the ever changing "mask" of evil may not always make it plain to us which force is pulling for control in our lives. There are some simple things we can recognize though - every controlling influence of evil is "demanding" - it wants what it doesn't have or what it isn't about to stop pursuing.

God's goodness is a powerful "force", as well, but it is not a "forceful" thing - it is gentle, patient, and loving. It pulls, but it doesn't manipulate. It guides, but it doesn't force its way into our lives. God's goodness isn't going to demand, but it beckons. We can often tell the difference in the force which is in control in our lives by the characteristics of that force's "pull". God's grace pulls us toward peace - not chaos. It persuades us with truth, not lies. It moves upon us in order to move into us as a welcomed guest, not as a demanding and manipulative one. We might do well to consider the "force" at work in our lives in terms of the influence it is exerting - for God's influence is first of all kind, gentle, and restorative. Evil's influence demands its own way, takes away rather than restores or builds up, and takes what it wants instead of waiting to be invited in. Just sayin!

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