Al Capone rose from a petty hustler in Brooklyn to become the boss of Chicago’s underworld. In spite of being involved in money laundering, prostitution rings, racketeering, illegal liquor sales, murders, and many other crimes, the authorities were continually confused by the multiple layers of Capone’s activities. The authorities knew he was “the Boss” of the Chicago underworld, but they couldn’t prove it. In the end, Capone was sent to prison for income tax evasion, and that was only because another Chicago mobster turned state’s evidence and testified against Capone.
Confusion always has dangerous effects on one’s ability to enforce the laws of the land or to live according to the spiritual laws of God’s kingdom. Confusion leads to indecision, frustration, passivity, and a lack of progress—and we know that it is not God’s will. The apostle Paul stated: “God is not the author of confusion but of peace” (1 Corinthians 14:33).
If our life is beset by confusion and disorder, won’t people wonder about the God we claim to worship? What kind of God would lead His followers into a state of confusion and disorder? Not the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! Therefore, we must make sure that confusion is captured and put away for good.
When a witness in a trial turns state’s evidence, he is usually someone who has been accused of a crime himself. He pulls back the curtain on a defendant’s activities in order to be given a lighter sentence when he goes to trial for his own crimes. We want to turn up the lights and pull back the curtain to expose confusion’s hidden M.O., its “means of operating.” By revealing how confusion works, we can capture it before damage is done.
In a society, a community, a home, a church, or a personal life where no principles or rules exist, confusion reigns supreme. Think of the early chapters of Genesis when the earth was full of evil. After God’s revelation was rejected in the Garden of Eden, the whole earth devolved into chaos, resulting in the Great Flood. But it also happens at a personal level: “Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls” (Proverbs 25:28). When we see a nation or an individual in a state of confusion, it’s almost always because they have cast off God’s principles—His rules and laws for living.
From the days of our Founding Fathers until today, the Bible has, little by little, been moved to the periphery of our culture. God’s revelation has been ignored and set aside, replaced by the arbitrary principles of human reason. Confusion’s fingerprints are everywhere: in personal morality, economics, marriage and the family, politics, and yes, even in some quarters of the Christian church.
When any person sets aside God’s revelation, confusion will result in that person’s life. It gradually occupies every nook and cranny of one’s life when God’s principles are not obeyed.
What accompanies confusion? How about shame and disgrace (Isaiah 45:16)? Or stumbling and failure (Jeremiah 20:11)? Or unreasonable and unlawful behavior (Acts 19:29)? Or envy and self-seeking (James 3:16)? Ultimately, defeat is the end result of confusion (1 Samuel 7:10). And what characterizes defeated persons but anger and frustration.
If you see any of these traits in yourself, you’re recognizing confusion personified. It’s time to align your thinking with God’s Word, time to take every thought captive in obedience to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).
The best place to look for the seeds of confusion, and its partners-in-crime, is in the arena of self-discipline or self-control. If you are grieving the Spirit (Ephesians 4:30) by not immediately confessing your sins, by not living daily in prayerful submission to the authority of God and His Word . . . confusion is hiding just around the corner. Don’t let the lack of spiritual discipline create a place in your life for confusion to hide.
Captured by . . .
If confusion comes from ignoring God’s principles, that’s the place to begin. Take every thought captive and submit them to Christ, moment by moment. Give confusion no place to hide. Turn state’s evidence on the state of confusion, and you will be set free.
Dr. Jeremiah is the founder and host of Turning Point for God and senior pastor of
Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California.
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As you read Christ Above All, Dr. Jeremiah’s study of Colossians, you’ll come to better know who Jesus is theologically. In other words, the truth about Him—the whole truth and nothing but the truth—will thrill you. Our minds need solid doctrine so we’ll have a solid relationship with Christ, built on personal reverence for Him and friendship with Him.