The slow, subtle
on all that is evil
–by Derek Bair*
I blogged about this poem before (see Encroachment), but lately I have been thinking again about encroachment. Usually we think of encroachment like an invasive species, growing and expanding and choking off life. I get so tired of the continual encroachment of evil, don’t you? But I have been thinking again on how the Kingdom of God encroaches on evil. Like yeast in dough, like a seed planted, not always visible.
He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough.” Matthew 13:33 (NIV)
While evil grows very loudly and in-your-face, the Kingdom of God grows silently and mostly unseen. It grows within the hearts and minds of people. Though sometimes not visible, God is always working. And I have a job to do in this work of God. To resist evil – both in myself and in the world – to persevere through hopelessness and the overwhelming flood of the enemy, to keep on believing, to keep doing good.
We push back against wrong and injustice, knowing that we fight with that gentle, unceasing love that never fails. Mix into the world around us the leaven of the Kingdom by loving one person at a time, by planting the seeds, by speaking the truth and life of the Good News. But also, by letting God work the Kingdom, like kneading dough, into our own hearts and minds, letting it change us. Resisting evil outside but yielding to the transforming by the Spirit inside.
I just thought as I was writing this that yeast transforms an inedible glob of dough into a beautiful, nutritious, fragrant loaf of bread. Jesus is the Bread for the life of the world (John 6:33), and as we are changed to be more and more like him, we become like that lovely, fragrant bread right from the oven.
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. 2 Corinthians 2:14
Lord knead the leaven of your Kingdom in us, that we might be transformed to be like You, into edible, life-giving bread. Help us to persevere with faith in the unseen, but unstoppable and ultimately victorious encroachment of the Kingdom of God. Give us grace to wait for it. Work for it. Hope. Resist. With the gentle love never ceasing.
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Ephesians 6:13
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2
And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:8
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome (conquer, prevail, be victorious over) evil with good. Romans 12:21
Image, Kneading bread dough by Michael Richardson https://flic.kr/p/4dknSM
*Poem by Derek Bair, copyright 2019 all rights reserved