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Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21

Colleague Ron Boyd-MacMillan shares part two of his experience in China:

The Chinese house church pastor put it this way, “Confront the defining evil in your area or your society–that will bring persecution. For us, the evil is obvious; for you, it may be more subtle.” You won’t necessarily be persecuted if you speak out against evil. You won’t necessarily be persecuted if you write an article about the evil. You won’t necessarily be persecuted if you organize a prayer meeting to pray against it. But you will be persecuted if you become a threat to the evil.

One pastor went back to his church in an inner city area of London. He asked the question, what’s the defining evil of this area? He became convicted that the youth gangs were the defining evil in the area, especially as they were going on killing sprees and starting to become drug pushers.

He began prayer meetings, and outreaches to the gangs. He even became a chaplain to a particularly violent gang. After a while, he saw fruit, but he also got a visit from a local gun runner,

“Leave the kids alone, or else” he said, “You’re bad for business.”

One night, six months later, a bullet came through the window as the church baptized five converted gang leaders. The reaction of the pastor could have come from the mouth of the Chinese house church leader. He said, “It was a beautiful bullet…because now we knew we were making a difference.”

That pastor had joined the persecuted church, and led his congregation into a greater awareness of the worldwide persecuted church. They wanted to know about their brothers and sisters in Eritrea, China, North Korea and Iran not just because the Christians there needed their prayers and their money, but because they were one in the same battle. Christians in the West need the insights and prayers of suffering Christians around the world to fight their own battles better.

The other pastor returned to his church in a very upscale, business district. After praying with his elders, they came up with the defining evil or idol of the area, which they called “The Lie—get rich; be free.” This was the besetting idol, they felt, and began to model a downsizing lifestyle in the community that reversed consumerist expectations.

The pastor confesses, “I’m facing almost weekly votes of confidence from my elders because they don’t think I am teaching people enough about how to be successful.” But he also says, “I feel so much better, because I’m not such a hypocrite in the pulpit anymore.”

RESPONSE: Today I will respond to the defining evil around me and overcome it with good.

PRAYER: Lord, I need Your power and strength to effectively overcome the evil I experience. Help me stand strong in my opposition to the evil one.

Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.

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