Monday, February 19, 2024

Against the Dark

You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. (Ephesians 2:2 NLT)

Have you ever bought something that you didn’t really need? You came back from the mall with a new purchase, and you wondered why you bought it. So, you mentally retraced your steps. How did it all start?

Maybe you went to the mall to pass some time. You were walking along and saw a nice window display, and there was something about it that got your attention. Then you walked into the store, and you browsed your way right over to something. Eventually you decided to buy it. And when you got home, you thought, “How did I end up with this?”

It started because you were browsing. You were walking along without any aim or purpose. And the next thing you knew, you bought something that you didn’t need.

That is the picture the apostle Paul used in Ephesians when he wrote, “All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else” (Ephesians 2:3 NLT).

We were just browsing our way through the world, doing what everyone else did and parroting what everyone else said. We were acting like everyone else. That was the way we used to live before we committed our lives to Jesus Christ.

In fact, we thought we were in control of our lives, but it is clear that we were being blown about like a weather vane as Satan manipulated our lives.

The Bible says in 2 Corinthians, “Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God” (4:4 NLT).

And 1 John 5:19 tells us, “We know that we are children of God and that the world around us is under the control of the evil one” (NLT). This mentality, this realm, this wavelength that people are on is energized by Satan, the god of this world. That is a bleak scenario.

However, we come to these great words in Ephesians 2:4-5: “But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)” (NLT).

But God. We were in a bad place, doing bad things, and going the wrong way. But God. Underline those words in your Bible. If you want to do a fascinating word study, follow that phrase throughout Scripture.

Against a dark background with all the things that were going wrong in our lives, God, who “is so rich in mercy, . . . gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead.” This is what God has done for every believer. This is what God has done for you.

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