The summer that I worked at a Christian camp in Idyllwild, I met and befriended an incredibly anointed group of young people who would spend that summer working alongside me. I’ll never forget how we bonded the very first weekend and then spent the next two months experiencing life together. It was a tough goodbye when the summer was over and it was time for everyone to head back home. The Holy Spirit had moved powerfully in and through each individual up on that mountain. It was an amazing experience and it changed my life.
Sadly, it wasn’t long after we all arrived home that I began to see a change in my friends from camp. Many began experimenting with sin, testing boundaries in a curiosity that would ultimately destroy the unity that the group once shared. There was an innocence that was lost and it broke my heart to watch it happen.
In Romans 16:19, Paul writes, “I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil.” The Greek word for “wise” in this verse is sophos, which means someone who is “skilled” or an “expert.” Likewise, the word for “simple” is akeraios, which can be translated “innocent.” Paul is saying that in order for us to guard ourselves against those elements which would deceive and divide us as believers, we should become experts in what is good and innocent concerning evil.
Think about that—innocent concerning evil. Sometimes, Christians are deceived into believing the best way to overcome sin is to be exposed to it. This is a lie from the enemy. As that group from Idyllwild learned, playing with fire only gets you burned. Exposure to sin is not the way to overcome sin; instead, becoming skilled in righteousness based on an abiding relationship with Jesus Christ is the only way to truly be victorious!
I’ve heard that bankers can spot counterfeit money simply by touching it. Something about it just doesn’t “feel” right. The interesting thing is they don’t develop this sensitivity by being exposed to counterfeit money, but by being constantly exposed to real money. The principle is the same spiritually. When we are skilled in righteousness, not only will we be innocent concerning evil, but we will be in a stronger position to recognize and avoid sin.
Jesus said in Matthew 10:16, “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore, be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” May we be a people who refuse to succumb to sin, taking captive every unrighteous curiosity, and seek to be skilled in the way of righteousness!