Standing Against Evil

Yesterday, my mom sent me a disturbing text about Target. They have announced their new line of clothing in preparation for June, which is designated as “pride” month. This new line caters to the transgender population, and not just adults. It’s also aimed at children. These are not just cute t-shirts splashed with their perversion of the rainbow and catchy sayings. They’re offering “chest binders and packing underwear” (something I didn’t know existed).
It’s so disappointing. It’s not a secret Target is fully on board with serving and promoting the LGBTQ+ world. I’ve walked by plenty of clothing racks that proclaim their support, even toddler t-shirts. But that’s just it – I just walk on by and ignore it, on my way to the home décor and bed and bath section. I’m not their target market for this particular depravity. I love shopping at Target. They build beautiful stores, and you can shop with your favorite Starbucks in hand (another proud supporter of the gay lifestyle I might add – why do they make the best coffee?).
What is our response to be? In a world that is driven by supply and demand, would my decision to boycott Target, Starbucks, or a thousand other retailers make a difference? Honestly, I don’t know, and full disclosure, I don’t want to stop shopping there. When I purchase a cute basket, replace the candle on my dining table, or buy my favorite brand of mascara, am I supporting something that is offensive to God? It’s a real dilemma.
As I look around at our world, I have to conclude that unless we only shop at small, local businesses owned by people we know, we have no idea what our retail spending supports, or how the profit from our patronage is used. Money is the world’s economy, not God’s, and it can be used for evil or for good. We have to decide, with wisdom from God’s Holy Spirit, where we spend ours.
Did the first-century Christians face decisions like this? Well, apparently there was enough visible presence of the world’s system of evil that Paul felt he should address it. Ephesians 4-6 lays out how Christ-followers should live in an evil world. In chapter 4:1-16, we are to live as part of the body of Christ, united in the Holy Spirit, and help each other stay accountable and grow in our spiritual faith.
Paul then moves to our personal conduct and lifestyles in 4:17-20, emphasizing purity and holiness in our words, actions, and morality, and how we use our time and conduct our daily lives. Paul sets a very high standard – be imitators of God, as beloved children. In other words, do what your Father does. But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you…no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God … do not be partakers with them, for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light; walk as children of Light … do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret (see Ephesians 5:1-12).
Ephesians 5 and 6 also teach us about relationships (husbands and wives, parents and children, employees, and managers). Finally, Paul moves to spiritual warfare – how we are to live in an evil world, where we fight not against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual forces in high places.
Ephesians 6:13 – Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.
Resist is the Greek anthistēmi, “to set against” (anti, “against,” histemi, “to cause to stand”). It means to set oneself against, to oppose, withstand, or resist. Everything is “all” or “the whole.” Stand firm is histēmi. It describes one who continues safe and sound, standing unharmed, ready and prepared. It means to be of a steadfast mind; one who does not hesitate, does not waiver.
The people sitting in Target’s corporate office making the decision on what to offer the public aren’t our enemies. The customers who are confused and deceived about the identity the Creator gave them aren’t our issue. The battle is spiritual. Our enemy is Satan, who seeks to steal, kill, and destroy as he exerts his influence and power over the fallen world that God, for a short time, has allowed him to function in with some measure of freedom.
I don’t know that boycotting will stop Satan’s agenda; perhaps it would make the CEOs think twice but as committed as they are to supporting this particular target market, I’m kind of skeptical. I do know the Word of God, spoken personally to people we know who need Jesus, and proclaimed boldly through whatever platform God gives us can make a difference in individual lives. As individuals, we need to be clothed in the armor of God and set ourselves personally and firmly against the deceptive lies that are so pervasive and stand ready and prepared when we meet with opposition, unwavering on the truth. I also know that prayer can make a difference. After all, this is spiritual warfare.
Don’t forget that little phrase in the middle – having done everything. What does Paul mean? He could and likely does mean “having done all you can to stand against evil, just stand firm on the truth.” But in the context of the whole letter, perhaps he also wants us to look back at what he just laid out for us. Part of “doing everything” to stand against evil is personally pursuing a lifestyle devoted to imitating and pleasing God, avoiding any participation in immoral or ungodly things. Our devotion to God is a testimony that the identity our Creator gave us is the real identity all men seek. I can’t preach to others about their particular brand of sin when I’m unwilling to address my own.
The Bible tells us that the world isn’t going to get any better. As offensive as it is to think about preteens shopping for clothing to change their gender identity, that’s not the worst that’s coming. The spiritual darkness will increase until God removes His church and lets the world disintegrate into pure evil. Our only hope is to speak life to the individuals for which Jesus died.
I encourage you to read Ephesians 6:10-20 this morning. Let’s ask God to give us wisdom on how to resist evil and stand firm on the truth in a world that has gone quite mad. Let’s pay attention to the people around us and speak truth into their lives. They need to hear about the God who loves them deeply and is broken-hearted over the sin that is deceiving them. They need to know there is an answer, that Jesus can heal every hurt and fill every empty place they are trying to fill. Let’s pray for God to change hearts, including, and starting with, our own.

2 thoughts on “Standing Against Evil

  1. Lucille Giesbrecht

    Sheila, I think you should reconsider shopping(which means support any way you slice it) at Target, Starbucks,Whole Foods,buying Kelloggs product and any other known supporter of evil against children and families. You may not think it makes any difference, but it does! Look at Netflix stock tumbling 70%. We have stopped subscribing to it because of the board members. Members that believe in homosexual behavior and say so openly.
    It is imperative you inform yourself of the evil companies (there are many)that support and promote evil lifestyles. And most importantly not buy any of their products or services.
    My husband and I sold our stock in Disney and Starbucks because of this very reason.
    I do really appreciate your devotionals;in this one you are totally off.


    1. Hi Lucille, Thank you for reading and taking time to comment. I haven’t decided whether or not I will continue to shop at Target. I’m sure I could live the rest of my life and never visit a Target again. And I’m not discounting it might send a message if enough of us did boycott them. The reality is no matter where you shop, unless you know the owners personally you are likely supporting causes you’d rather not. I’m pondering what should be my response. But thank you for your perspective. I do value it as your sister in Christ!


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