Here's an urgent and practical question: How should we relate to evil? We can't stick our heads in the sand. How should we think and feel and act about Satanic evil—the untimely death of a child, terrorism, corrupt governments, or a volatile economy? The evil you confront in your own lives? Here is my summary answer. Eight things to do with evil. Four things never to do.
1. Expect evil. “Do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you” (1 Peter 4:12).
2. Endure evil. “Love bears all thing, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:7; cf. Mark 13:13).
3. Give thanks for the refining effect of evil that comes against you. “Give thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20; cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:18; Romans 5:3-5).
4. Hate evil. “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good” (Romans 12:9)
5. Pray for escape from evil. “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:13).
6. Expose evil. “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them” (Ephesians 5:11).
7. Overcome evil with good. “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21).
8. Resist evil. “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
But, on the other hand:
1. Never despair that this evil world is out of God’s control. “[He] works all things according to the counsel of his will” (Ephesians 1:11).
2. Never give in to the sense that because of random evil life is absurd and meaningless. “How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! . . . For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever” (Romans 11:33, 36).
3. Never yield to the thought that God sins, or is ever unjust or unrighteous in the way he governs the universe. “The Lord is righteous in all his ways.” (Psalm 145:17).
4. Never doubt that God is totally for you in Christ. If you trust him with your life, you are in Christ. Never doubt that all the evil that befalls you—even if it takes your life—is God’s loving, purifying, saving, fatherly discipline. It is not an expression of his punishment in wrath. That fell on Jesus Christ our substitute. “The Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives” (Hebrews 12:6).
When we renounce the designs of the Devil and trust the power and wisdom and goodness of God through Christ, we fulfill God’s purpose in letting Satan live. We glorify the infinitely superior worth of Jesus.
By John Piper. ©2013 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org. Used by permission.