Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21
The use of the word “overcome” is interesting in the verse above because it speaks to the intent of evil to overwhelm and weaken us and at the same time reminds us that bad, immoral, dishonorable, and malicious things in our lives can be defeated by the good.
Where is the good found? Throughout this chapter the good has been contrasted with evil:
- Instead of conforming to what opposes God, we are challenged to renew our minds with the good, the true, the pure, the noble (Romans 12:2, Philippians 4:8)
- While our tendency is to think too highly of ourselves, we are challenged to take an honest look at our strengths and weaknesses. (Romans 12: 3
- Serving others by giving our best, conquers our selfish tendencies to look out for ourselves. (Romans 12:4-8)
- Authentic love for others expressed through action, differentiates our lives from the hypocrisy of insincerity. (Romans 12: 9-13)
- Loving our unlovable enemies demonstrates our trust in God and avoids the bitterness and lack of forgiveness that will destroy us (Romans 12: 14-20).
The word for transformation Paul addresses in Romans 12 is based on the Greek word, metamorphoo. Looks kind of familiar, doesn’t it?
This transformation is not unlike the metamorphosis of a caterpillar to a butterfly. We are involved in the process by renewing our minds and responding to God’s truth, but something unexplainable is happening (to us) along the way as we are being changed from the inside out. So, we are to simply be actively engaged in the change God is working in our lives daily.