Monday, July 20, 2009

Wise Unto Good, Simple Concerning Evil

In our services at the convalescent center, we read the Scriptures for five minutes without commentary or explanation. Having already read through the New Testament once, we are on our second trip through and are in the book of Romans, chapter 12. When I read the portion of Scripture this morning, I realized the 16th chapter of Romans was coming up. I vividly remember reading this chapter last time because it contains several difficult names whose pronunciations threw me for a loop the last time I read them in the service.

An MP3 CD player (Philips Expanium)Image via Wikipedia

Knowing this, I set about practicing Romans 16 in advance. I plugged in Alexander Scourby from my mp3 player and read the Scripture from my Bible and practiced the chapter over and over. As I did, one verse kept striking me:

"For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil. "(Romans 16:19)

The part that I was struck with was "I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil."

Decades ago, my husband worked at a local bank. He was very concerned about learning how to discern counterfeit bills. He asked his manager when he would be trained to spot these bills. He was given stacks and stacks of real bills to count and was told, "Count these real bills. As you learn the sight and feel of the real thing, a fake bill will stand out."

"Wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil." It seems in this day and time, we try so hard to be wise to all the things that are evil, and by doing so we end up being simple to that which is good because we have exhausted all our time and energy on the other. It reminds me of Eve in the garden. She spent time listening to what Satan had to say about the Lord, she didn't go to the Lord to see what He had to say about the matter, and she found herself deceived.

"Wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil." Someone who is wise is usually one who has a great deal of experience. Paul says he wishes we would have a great deal of experience unto that which is good, that we would have experience in those things which will lead to good; prayer, the Scriptures, and following the Lord.

"Wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil." Simple concerning evil. Simple here means "innocent". . . innocent concerning evil. How wonderful to be described as innocent concerning evil. Our culture does not allow for very many people to reach adulthood being "innocent concerning evil". We see evil plastered on billboards, television screens, magazine covers and movie screens. No matter how careful you are trying to be innocent, evil will find you even if you aren't looking for it.

I remember once, our oldest daughter was about eight, and we were sitting on the couch watching a very innocent television show. Out of the blue she asked me, "Momma, what is rape?" You can imagine my shock and surprise. How do you answer that question to your child? Where did she even hear that word? "Simple concerning evil," this is the prayer we should have for all our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

May like the Romans, the Lord be able to say of all of us:

"For your obedience is come abroad unto all men."
Romans 16:19

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