Do Good

Turn from evil and do good;
    seek peace and pursue it. Psalm 34:14

Doing good seems to be a byword in this culture. For instance, “do-gooder” is often used to mock a person. Turning from evil and doing good seem to go hand in hand but not always. Just because you’ve turned from evil or sin doesn’t man you’re “doing good. Conversely, just because you’re doing good doesn’t mean you’re not sinning. Confused yet?

I think both actions require a conscious effort. Now, often because you’ve been doing something long enough, you no longer have to think about whether it’s good or not. You just do it. It’s who you are.

So then what is this good we are to do? The sky’s the limit.
It could be:

  • encouraging someone
  • working in a soup kitchen
  • going the extra mile with a child
  • supporting a missionary
  • visiting a shut-in
  • taking meals to a family who just lost a loved one
  • sending someone flowers
  • praying for those people in the accident you just passed on the road

Again, you name it; the sky’s the limit.

Most reading this do not need to ask what doing good is; you’re already doing it, and in many different ways. For you, this is merely a reminder that you’re still on the right road even though there are potholes along the way. Sometimes that road is boring and monotonous. You may even wonder if it’s leading somewhere. Keep chugging away; keep doing what you’re doing. You will be blessed for it. Keep focused on the goal, “to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14

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A Long Drop

Turn from evil and do good;
    seek peace and pursue it. Psalm 34:14

Turning from evil is simple right? It should be, shouldn’t it? First, we should probably define ‘evil’ because chances are good none of us consider ourselves evil. The liar says he’s not as bad as the thief. The thief admits his faults but certainly isn’t as bad as the neighborhood pervert. And the pervert couldn’t possibly be as bad as the murderer. It’s all relative. Oh sure, there’s no denying that we’re sinners, but evil? No way. Well it then becomes a finger pointing game like the illustration above.

So then, is it fair to say ‘turn from sin? That’s a little harder isn’t it? Evil is really really bad, but sin seems to have degrees.

I think what the Bible is telling us is that the objective or goal is to live a life free of sin. Doable? Perhaps. Probable? Maybe not. And yet, we should certainly avoid it, eschew it, despise it, and run far from it when we possibly we can.

I’ve used the illustration before in this space:

Back in the 1800s several men were being interviewed for a coach driving position for the Queen. The Queen’s sole question to each man was “how close can you get your horses and carriage to the edge of the cliff without going over?” One by one the answers were one inch to several inches. Finally a man looked at the Queen and said, “Ma’am, if you’re in the carriage, I will be as far away from that cliff as is possible.”

We should be trying to keep that kind of distance to sin (and evil) in our lives. You’ll be tempted to peek over the edge, but it’s a long drop down and you don’t want to go there.

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Believer’s Tasks

Turn from evil and do good;
    seek peace and pursue it. Psalm 34:14

This verse sums up what the Believer is tasked with after being saved. Sure there’s prayer, Bible study, fellowship, and soul winning, but if we only practiced these three things, we would certainly be better off, and the world would certainly benefit. These do not add at all to the finished work of Christ because that is impossible to do. Instead they provide general guidelines for the Christian.

We’ll explore all three over the coming days because of their importance.

Memorize this verse today. You probably already have.

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Garbage In, Garbage Out

Whoever of you loves life
    and desires to see many good days,
keep your tongue from evil
    and your lips from telling lies. Psalm 34:12-13

This is very sound advice that no one can dispute. If it’s so sound and wise, though, why do we need to be reminded of it? Because it’s difficult. Like it or not, we take on some of the influences of our culture: the language, the attitudes, and thought processes. The change is subtle day to day, but very evident after you leave the country and return weeks or months later. What you would never watch on television even two years ago is now blaring across your screen now.

But these verses talk about the tongue. The Bible teaches us that “the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them” Matthew 15:18. Our goal, then, is to be careful what goes into our hearts so that what comes out is good and wholesome.

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Learning to Fear the Lord

Come, my children, listen to me;
    I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Psalm 34:11

Often, as this verse tells us, the fear of the Lord is not a natural thing for us to do. We learn what it is to fear the Lord by being obedient to what we know and learn. As we study Scriptures, we learn that fear.

It’s not the kind of “I’ll zap you if you don’t obey” fear that those outside the faith would have us believe. Instead

  • it’s the “I’ve got lots of things to teach you if you’ll listen and learn” obedience.
  • It’s knowing that we can come into the Holy of Holies any day of the week, any hour of the day.
  • It’s the very common realization that we are completely and utterly dependent on God for life and sustenance.

I’ve only scratched the surface but it all starts with being willing to learn what it means to fear the Lord.

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