16) For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.I John 2:16 (KJV)
The world is a chaotic and discouraging place. Because creation is marred by sin and evil (Rom. 5:12 KJV) it is easy to lose sight of God in the chaos.
Nevertheless, we must not let the world influence us. We must press on through the chaos and remain steadfastly focused on God.
The Duel Danger of Sin
The enemy uses the world to influence us in two ways.
The first, and more obvious way, is through the direct involvement of sin in our lives.
You see, all of the sins of the world naturally appeal to us. (Ps. 51:5 KJV, Eph. 2:3 KJV)
We lust, crave and desire after things that appeal to our flesh, eyes and pride.
The devil knows this all too well. This is why he made the tree in the garden pleasant to look upon. (Gen. 3:6 KJV)
Regardless of its appeal, sin separates us from God and when we engage in sinful activities we can lose sight of Him. Thankfully forgiveness is always available to us.“Merely avoiding specific sins does not make us immune to the world’s influence.”
That being said, many Christians are aware of their inclination to sin.
While this is a good attitude to have, it is dangerous to think that we are only affected and influenced by the world through direct involvement in sin.
Merely avoiding specific sins does not make us immune to the world’s influence.
Therefore, while sin can directly affect us, it also indirectly impacts us.
The indirect influence of the world on our lives is the second way by which the enemy uses the world to influence us.
Just being pilgrims in a sinful world is a enough to make us despair and take our focus off of God.
We’re never passive observers of anything. The devil knows this more than anyone.
Our minds always analyze and interpret what they see. Whether we like it or not, we’re not inclined to neutral opinions or interpretations.
God created us to think and to comprehend his creation. However, because we live in a fallen world, we do not see His original and perfect creation. Instead, everywhere we look we see sin.
As such, we must be mindful about spending too much time staring at the chaos of humanity.
It is one thing to be aware of the problems in the world and to point the world to Christ. By all means we are to be active witnesses in the world.“…we must be mindful about spending too much time staring at the chaos of humanity.”
It is another thing however, to look at the world and to become discouraged and to forget about God
In fact, if all we do is focus on the horrors of the world, we will lose sight of God at best and question Him at worst.
This is how the enemy uses sins of the world to influence us indirectly.
The sorrows and pain of the world discourage us and wear us out to the point that we begin to drift away from God.
We can, for all intents and purposes, become carried away in the world’s chaos.
We must not take our attention off of Jesus. (Heb. 12:1-2 KJV) When we do, we become susceptible and vulnerable to the wiles of the enemy and to the snares of the world.
The devil, in our discouragement, can cause us to question God.
One of the most common questions he uses against us and God is this: “Where is God in the midst of suffering?”
I’ve sadly known many Christians over the years who have left Christianity because of this very issue.
For them, it always started with a disheartened attitude to the world around them.
Whether it was a sudden personal tragedy or just a long and growing anger at the state of affairs in the world, eventually they were led to ask the question “How can a loving God allow evil?”
The truth is that all Christians at some point in their lives will face something that will cause them to question if God is there.“…in order to grow spiritually and to help others do the same we must know how to reconcile human sin with God’s love.’
In fact, in order to grow spiritually and to help others do the same we must know how to reconcile human sin with God’s love.
However, just like all questions, we can ask why God allows suffering in one of two ways.
We can ask it through the lens of genuinely wanting to know why, or through the lens of discouragement and disillusionment.
In the former, we rely on God, and we seek Him, His Word and council from His people. In the latter, we look away from God for answers and let the devil’s lies corrupt our thinking.
Often those that go astray when the world causes them to question God, always have their minds made up from the start.
By the time they ask the question, the devil has already clouded their minds so much that they have already concluded that God can’t be Who He says He is.
Eventually they move from questioning God, to believing that God is the author of sin and that He does not exist.
Is God the Author of Sin?
“The Problem of Evil” as it’s known in theological circles, is a weighty topic.
It is something that all Christians must contend with.
While this short message is not an attempt to answer all the different theological ins and outs of the topic, John gives us a profoundly succinct initial answer to this question that has led so many astray.
Everything in the world that pertains to sin, is not of the Father.
In fact, the post-fall world is a system in opposition to God.
Sin and evil are of the world; the enemy’s world. Is God then the author of sin? The answer is an emphatic no.
Conclusion – A World Without Chaos
In fact, John reminds us in the verse right after this that the world as we know it will pass away.
In so doing he fixes our eyes back where they need to be, on the real world, the world without chaos.
You see, this world with all of its sins is not eternal. However those who do God’s will are. (1 Jn. 2:17 KJV)
Losing sight of God always starts when we lose sight of our eternal home.
As a result we allow the temporary fallen world to easily rob us of our joy and hope.“The chaos around us is only for a season, its not how things were ever meant to be, nor is it how they will always remain.”
While it is not always easy, we must keep our eyes fixed on God, His Word and His kingdom.
We must not let sin affect us directly, or let Satan through the sins in the world, lure us into believing that God does not exist.
Remember, sin is not of the Father. It might be man’s world, but we’re God’s children. The chaos around us is only for a season, its not how things were ever meant to be, nor is it how they will always remain.
May we keep our treasures and hearts then in heaven on the eternal city, the kingdom of God, where we will abide forever. (Matt. 6:20 KJV, 1 Jn. 2:17 KJV)
The next time you find yourself wondering if God exists in the midst of the chaos of the world, consult His Word and keep your eyes transfixed on His kingdom.