To effectively deal with this topic, we will need to explain the word Abstinence, as
well as what we mean by the ” appearance of evil ”
Abstinence is synonymous with self denial, temperance or sobriety. According to
Merriam Webster Dictionary, it is the practice of not doing or having something that
is wanted or enjoyable. The Bible says in Apostle Paul’s letter to the Christians at Thessalonica:
1 Thessalonians 5:22 KJV
[22] Abstain from all appearance of evil.
What then is an appearance of evil? An appearance of evil therefore is anything
that is tainted with evil. It is anything that is disguised with evil which may not
necessarily present initially as sin but is capable of leading one into sin. It is evil masquerading itself in deception through different forms and kinds.
With these definitions in view, we will move on to deliberate further on the
Before we attempt to discuss why we will need to abstain, let us first of all look at
some examples of the appearance of evil.
1. Joseph and Potiphar’s wife: When Potiphar’s wife cast her eyes on Joseph and desired to sleep with him, he refused saying that he could not do such a wicked
thing against his master and God. Eventually when she caught Joseph by his
garment desiring to lie with him, Joseph fled and got out of that environment.
( Gen. 39: 1-12 ).
That was an appearance of evil. Imagine if Joseph did not flee from the room but
stayed back to resist the woman, that in itself is not a sin but he may have succumbed to the strong persuasion and overtures of the woman which would
have resulted in adultery. Thank God that Joseph obeyed the scriptures and the
voice of the Holy Spirit and abstained from this appearance of evil.
2. David and Uriah’s wife: The scriptures have it on record that King David rather
than go to war, at a time when kings go forth to battle, he sent his men while he
tarried in Jerusalem. As a result, as he strolled on the roof top of his house, his eyes caught the sight of a naked woman by name Bath-Sheba, taking her bath and
who was very beautiful to look upon. ( 2 Sam. 11:1-5 ). Rather than deliberately
avoid looking again, he continued to look and hence conceived lust in his heart,
which led to his sending for the woman and sleeping with her. This case is the
opposite of what we saw in example 1 above. It was not sin when David’s eye first
caught a glimpse of the naked woman as that was accidental. What he should have done was to realise that, that scene was an appearance of evil and abstain
by not looking again. If he had done that, the resulting sin of adultery and killing of
Uriah would not have been committed.
We can go on and on by giving so many real life examples of this nature but time
and space will not permit. You will therefore need to think out the other real life
examples by yourself to learn the lessons therein. A striking example is a brother who visits his fiancée who leaves alone and stays out late into the night with her
alone in the room under the pretext of praying together. That is a bubble waiting to
burst one day, as the likelihood of their committing fornication is very high. Another
example is a pastor who is fond of borrowing money from the church collections
each Sunday to meet family needs with the promise to repay when his allowance is
paid. He may find himself unable to repay when the debt accumulates which will lead him to manipulate the accounts of the church with a view to hide his
Finally, we need to abstain from all appearances of evil, as it can lead to
committing the actual sin. Another reason is for the sake of the gospel, so that the
ministry be not blamed and reproached before unbelievers. ( 2 Cor. 6:3 )
Be blessed as you read, comment, like and share to bless others with this message.

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