Pursue What is Good

Pursue What is Good

Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.  (15) See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all.  (1 Thes 5:14-15)

Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.  (Ps 34:14)

Learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the oppressor; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow.  (Isa 1:17)

But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.  (1 Tim 6:11)

Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.  (1 Pet 3:11)

These passages from God’s Word remind us that we’re advised to chase, track, or hunt “good.”  What do you think that God means by that?  We understand the concept of chasing or pursuing something, but what exactly does God really mean by saying that we should hunt what is good?

I believe that God is saying that we should seek what is inherently or innately good.  We should seek to do good for other people; and desire what is best for ourselves, our families, and our friends.  The Bible says that we should ALWAYS pursue what is good.  This indicates a level of energy and consistency that most of us do not undertake. 

Connecting with this truth effectively so that we actually exemplify loving one another is an outworking of “loving our neighbor as ourselves.”  (Lev 19:18; Mt 19:19; 22:39; Rom 13:8)  Remember, too, that God blesses our obedience. 

He also blesses us when we look for and are thankful for all of the good that actually exists in our lives on a moment-by-moment, ongoing, and daily basis.  He wants us to see (recognize) the good, to recognize Him in it, and to glorify Him for it. 

I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  (Ps 27:13)

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him!  (Ps 34:8)

In others words, He doesn’t wants us to be fault-finders, criticizers and complainers; but rather, He desires a people filled with love, peace, and a thankful heart!

Overcome Evil with Good, Part 1

Overcome Evil with Good, Part 1

17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”  21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.  (Rom 12:17-21, emphasis added)

The Lord doesn’t want us to use our emotions to get even, to get revenge, or to punish other people!  The Bible says that we must not repay evil for evil. When we allow anger (or any other negative emotion) to rule us, it means we’re not allowing the Holy Spirit to direct us so then we inadvertently become a puppet/servant for some being other than our Savior.

Yes, life is full of hurts.  Someone may have hurt your feelings; another person perhaps lied to you; you’re skipped over for a promotion or a raise on your job; or maybe you’ve even been abused or disrespected.

The Message version of the Bible says it this way:

Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.”  (Rom 12:17-19 MSG, emphases added)  God is the judge over humanity.  Judgment belongs to God—not us. 

Even though a response to these unpleasant things that I mentioned isn’t wrong, did you ever notice that anger doesn’t improve your situation or how you feel?  When we’re so angry over something, we may allow ourselves to say things that we can never take back.  Another evil that anger can create is that instead of lashing out in anger at the person who actually hurt us, we lash out at other people unfairly.  Anger can beget more and more pain.

Do not fret because of evildoers, nor be envious of the workers of iniquity.  For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.  (Ps 37:1-2)  Psalms remind us that God will deal with those who act wickedly or cruelly.  God will vindicate us when we obey His word by forgiving and praying for those who hurt us.

“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute that you may be sons of your Father in heaven . . . “ (Mt 5:44-45a)  Jesus wants us to love our enemies, to do good to those who hate us, and to even pray for those who malevolently use us!  He says, then we are children of our heavenly Father.  God pours out His grace and blessings upon us as we live obediently to Him by overcoming evil with good.

God’s ways are the only way to overcome evil.  (Isa 55:9)

Jesus, Our Hope

Jesus, Our Hope

But You have seen, for You observe trouble and grief, to repay it by Your hand.  The helpless commits [entrusts] himself to You; You are the helper of the fatherless.  (Ps 10:14) 

Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His mercy,
19 to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.
  (Ps 33:18-19, emphasis added)

When the wicked cannot be restrained by the righteous in society, we must trust in God for ultimate justice.  He is our one, True hope. 

God sees everything—the evil and the good.  Nothing escapes His view, and He alone knows the motives in the hearts of human beings.  Therefore, His judgment is based upon knowledge and truth, not suppositions.

In perilous times, the police; government officials; and politicians may be corrupt, evil, or controlled by wicked agendas.  So when we place our HOPE in the Lord Jesus, we are placing it in the One who can never be influenced to do evil, and whose plans for mankind are plans for good and not for evil!  Praise God! 

Here are some Bible verses about hope:

For You are my hope, O Lord God; You are my trust from my youth.  (Ps 71:5)

O Israel, hope in the Lord; for with the Lord there is mercy, and with Him is abundant redemption.  (Ps 130:7)

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord.  (Jer 17:7)

. . . through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  (Rom 5:2)

Hope (and the God of hope) will not disappoint us!  (Rom 5:5)

Light or Darkness

Light or Darkness
  • Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! (Isa 5:20)
  • And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness.  (Gen 1:4)
  • Then I saw that wisdom excels folly as light excels darkness. (Ecc 2:13, emphasis added)

These passages from Scripture (shown above) remind us that God calls the light good, and He wants the life that’s within each one of us to emanate from the Light Who is Jesus Christ within us.  (Jo 1:4; 8:12)  Jesus Christ is the Light and He is good.  We must make the decision about whether we want to obey the Lord, and to allow His light within us to shine!

  • Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness. (Lk 11:35)

Even as Jesus was sent into the world as a light for all of mankind, He wants us now to show forth His light so that more people may receive salvation through Jesus Christ.

  • For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.  (2 Cor 4:6)

So how may we shine the light of salvation into the darkening world around us?  Yes, the Bible gives us answers to that as well!

  • If you extend your soul to the hungry and satisfy the afflicted soul, then your light shall dawn in the darkness, and your darkness shall be as the noonday.   The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and strengthen your bones; You shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.  (Isa 58:10-11)

By doing good works, by sharing the Good News of the gospel with all people, and by living obediently to the Word of God, we shine the Light of Jesus Christ and His salvation into the darkness.