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What in the World has Come Over You?

For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.

1 John 2:16

We use many expressions to question unseemly behavior? I used one of them in the title. Here are a few more:

“Why would you do such a thing?”

“What got into you?

“Have you lost your ever-lovin’ mind?”

What causes us to cross the line of godly morality and good judgement? In our focus text, we learn of three reasons: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. More importantly, we’re told that the powerful attraction of this giant sin magnet doesn’t come from the Father. It comes from the world.

Back home in Virginia, the Shenandoah County Fair was a popular summer attraction. Shows. Games. Exhibits. One year, my high school band was invited to play. After the concert, our band director gave us free time. On previous trips to the fair, I was always accompanied by adults. Since they had a farming background that meant checking out prize-winning livestock and garden produce. (Never could get excited about blue ribbon pickles or the longest ear of corn.) Consequently, I had never been allowed to visit the fair midway. That is, until the day of the band trip — without adult supervision.

How liberated I felt strolling the midway with my friends. That’s where the action was. Exciting rides. Enticing side shows. A bearded lady? Really? And games of chance. That’s when it happened. Men with tattoos wearing aprons called to me from inside colorful booths. They taunted, dared, teased, and begged me to play their games to win big prizes. Ultimately, I fell for it. Spent all my money on nothing.

It has been said, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” Everybody gets swept away by worldly temptations, entrapped by sin far worse than an immature kid at the county fair.

The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. Not all things IN the world are bad. God has given us more than enough that is satisfying, wonderful, and beautiful. But the world, under the influence of the evil one (1 John 5:19), offers attractive alternatives.

The Bible gives us examples of these sinister forces at work in our world. The first is found in the book of Genesis. You know the story:

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. Genesis 3:6

And what do we all do when we discover something new and exciting? We spread the word. “She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” (Gen. 3:6b)

How many times have we heard someone say, “I can do whatever I want as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else?” Wrong. Sin hurts others.

Worldly temptation arises unexpectedly. King David was going about his daily routine when temptation struck. Remember this?

One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful… 2 Samuel 11:2

The woman he saw was Bathsheba, who was married to Uriah the Hittite, a soldier in David’s army. When David learned Bathsheba was pregnant with his child, he ordered Uriah to the front lines where he was killed. David then married Bathsheba.

One sin led to more sin, destroyed lives and damaged David’s relationship to God. All this from a man the Lord once described as “a man after His own heart.” (1 Samuel 13:14)

Yes, a man who had been a faithful servant to the Lord fell to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.

Walking in spiritual harmony with the Lord is difficult. Wisdom and divine enablement is required. That’s why we must pray continually, serve faithfully, and fight evil. Like Paul said, “Put on the full armor of God.” (Ephesians 6:11)

As long as we live in this world, the lure of bigger, better, and newer will always be before us. To avoid falling into sin, we would do well to remember the words of 1 John 2:16. Trust the Spirit within you to help you discern what is from the Father — and what is from the world. If it’s from the latter — flee.

For more on this topic, check out this article: When You Fail to Do the Good You Know

Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 4 (October – December) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.

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