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Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Problem with the World

I’m continually amazed with the Bible. The living, breathing Word of God. All of these letters and stories and prophesies, written thousands of years ago, addressing communities in the Middle East. How could this collection of writings possibly have something to do with us?

Oh, but it does. And amazingly so.

In fact, Ephesians discusses the problem with the world. All the troubles and evil in the world today- from murder to infidelity to dishonesty to pollution to divorce- it all comes down to one thing.


The problem is always sin.
I tell you, it looks like Fall around here, yet. Everything all browns and tans and yellows. Come on sunshine! We want to see some green!

 “So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.” – Ephesians 4:17-19

{Simply replace the word “Gentiles” with “the rest of the world” or “unbelievers,” and suddenly, Paul is sitting our living rooms, arm draped over our couches, drinking some pop. I feel like Paul would be the type of person to drink a pop if you offered him one.}

Sin corrupts our lives, our thinking, our motives. It colors our relationships.

The first trouble with sin is that we don’t typically see it.  I know I don’t. Paul says that we’re “darkened in our understanding”- we can’t see what’s right in front of us. The gossip that infiltrates every conversation with my mom? Sin! Right there! But it’s a pattern of behavior. It’s a habit! We can’t typically see our own sin, or we choose not to see it. Of course, when it comes to the sins of our husband, or our co-worker… oh, those ones are so much more obvious. But that’s another conversation all together.

I know many people who have hard hearts, who have lost sensitivity. I’m sure you do, too. And I’m sure that there are many places in my own life where I’ve become callous. Where I’ve decided that change is far too difficult and I’d rather not deal with that particular issue.

Of course, being desensitized also means that I don’t see the pain that my habits and sins cause others. I’m numbed to it.  I harm friendships and destroy relationships. And worse, sinning injures my relationship with God and pulls me far from Him.

I can’t count how many times I look at the decision made by someone I love and think, “Doesn’t she see? Doesn’t she understand what is going to happen?” But she can’t see it or feel it or understand it, because she’s blind and numb!

Finally, Paul says that sin causes us to lose control. That when we don’t see our own sin, when we don’t understand the effects it has on ourselves or on others, we can’t control ourselves. We fly to pieces. Bad goes to worse, and eventually we’re somehow in a pit sitting in the mud and we have no idea how we got there!

But! -And Paul is great about painting a bleak picture only to clear the clouds away with a burst of glorious light- But!

There’s hope. There’s hope for the sin in the world. And there’s hope for the sin in us. And that hope is a relationship with Jesus.

As Christians, we’re not to live like the rest of the world. We’re not to live blind and numb and out of control. We’re supposed to walk in this world in a distinctly different way from the one to which our culture subscribes.

So how do we do that, exactly? Well, we’ll get into what Paul says about that.

But first, let’s make sure that we pray for the “Gentiles” in our lives- for the people who are walking unfeelingly and blindly through life. I know I have those people. My sister is one of them. I love her. It hurts me to see her make bad decision after bad decision. So pray. Pray that God would soften their hearts, that He would enlighten them to see the sin in their own lives, that they would find a relationship with Him. 


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