I love memory verses like this one from Paul's closing in 1 Thessalonians 5:22. It's short and to the point. "abstain from every form of evil." It's the second half of a thought that starts out with "hold fast to that which is good;" which I am a big proponent of as well, and we will get to that in a second.
Often people get wrapped up in the thought of the gray areas of life, the line of questioning that brings people to ponder, "What is evil really? Isn't it a concept that we have made up for ourselves?" or, "Really, in this scenario, from this point of view, this questionable action is acceptable." Some Christians I have met have actually fallen for this line of thinking and have become handcuffed in their faith, unable to live in a maximal righteous manner. They instead, unwittingly, have decided to live from situation to situation, trying to figure out what minimal standard they can get away with and still call themselves good. This makes me truly saddened. In this age where we focus on a loving God and of "faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love," (1 Corinthians 13:13), we have forgotten an important concept. Along with being called to love, we are also called to hate.
Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good (Romans 12:9)! Along with 1 Thess 5:21-22 and other places in the Bible, we begin to learn that we ARE created in such a way as to be able to distinguish between good and evil. Let's not allow ourselves the opportunity to become flabby minded; unwilling to choose a side between the two, all because some speaker somewhere provided a scenario of some Christian caught between the two choices of some serious ethical dilema that fell far outside the scope of everyday life.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:22, the word I find the most intriguing is- form. "abstain from every form of evil." This word also has a footnote that it could also be "apperance" which elaborates the idea even more fully for me. Like I noted in my last blog, I can get a little fixated on time. In Ephesians 5:15-16 we learn that if you are wise, you will use your time appropriately. And I want to be counted among the wise. It's easy to fill up our days with doing stuff. Are we going to choose the types of things that leave no doubt in people's minds that we are Christian? Will our actions drive people to the gospel and ultimately the glory of the Lord?
As Christians, we should be choosing to spend our time on things that are obviously good, and not on things that are questionably evil.
Ephesians 5:15-16 Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.
Romans 12:9 Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good
1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.
Serving through love and laughter is a great way to live.