Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Good Advice-Avoiding Evil by Martin Wiles

Series: Good Advice

Centralia, Pennsylvania, a borough located in Columbia County, Pennsylvania, is a ghost town by association.

In 1981, Centralia boasted a population of one thousand, but by 2010 only ten survivors remained. All property was claimed under eminent domain in 1992 and the town buildings condemned.  The Postal Service revoked the town’s zip code in 2002, and the governor ordered formal evictions in 2009. Why this sad story? A 50-year-old fire beneath the town makes it dangerous to live there-a fire that has now extended to nearby Byrnesville causing its inhabitants to leave as well.

Centralia died because of its association with underground coal mines, and Byrnesville followed suit because of its close proximity. Guilty-or rather abandoned, by association. Perhaps this is why Paul warns us to avoid the very appearance of evil. Stay away from every kind of evil (I Thessalonians 5:22 NLT). There have been periods in my life when I was known by who I associated with. And they weren’t the type of friends who enhanced my reputation. Companionship says a lot about our values and principles.

Focusing on obeying God helps us avoid evil. Instead of seeing how close we can get to sin without indulging, we’ll concentrate on staying as far away as possible. Obedience makes sin look less appealing which in turn motivates us to stay away from enticing circumstances. God won’t permit temptation to overwhelm us, but he expects us to scurry from situations that touch our weak spots and entice us to sin. Avoiding evil goes a step farther. Obedience encourages us to evade questionable activities. Some things may not be wrong but are unwise and can tarnish our delicate reputations. Let God give you the wisdom to avoid every appearance of evil.

Prayer: Loving Heavenly Father, we admit we’re easily tempted by things better left alone. Focus our attention on loving and obeying You so we’ll not be attracted to what harms our spiritual journey.