“Yo, ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me!” I sing and clap along with my seatmates as we float through the amusement park ride. Slipping past us are scenes of a seaside village being overrun by jovial pirates. On one side, a line of women tied together with a rope stands waiting for their turn on the auction block. A pirate auctioneer points out what wonderful “brides” they’ll make. Most of the women pose, smile and try to appear attractive. Further down we float past two drunken pirates recklessly shooting guns at one another while perched precariously on kegs of gunpowder. Describing these scenes without the catchy soundtrack that plays throughout the ride gives them a different feel. If we took the smiles off the characters’ faces, the playful nature would be gone altogether.
If I think about it, the scenes we’re witnessing in this ride are horrific. Marauding pirates are finding drunken pleasure in terrorizing a sleepy village while women are being sold to the highest bidder. Yet it’s depicted in such an appealing way that we laugh, smile, and hum the memorable tune as the ride comes to an end.
My example here isn’t intended to condemn the amusement park or the ride. However, it does provide a perfect example of how easily Satan deceives us by making blatant sin seem appealing, fun and harmless. We can be so absorbed by his lies that we fail to realize the sins we embrace or choose to overlook are meant for our harm, not our good: “For the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23a, NIV)
Maybe that’s why I like Paul’s clear words: “Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way.” (2 Thessalonians 2:3a, NIV) Our culture is full of deception as Satan lulls us into thinking of sin as fun and exciting while viewing righteousness as boring or unattractive. You don’t have to look very far in the world of advertising or entertainment to understand what I mean. We can easily be deceived into thinking that certain sins are “no big deal” or “all in good fun.” Rarely do we see the ugly consequences depicted later.
With our guards down we get lulled into complacency and compromise. Things that should upset us because they dishonor God no longer make us flinch. This is one of the many ways Satan deceives us and renders us ineffective as Christians. Jesus describes Satan as “a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44b, NIV)
Despite the deceiving allure of sin, a world without God’s love and goodness would be far from appealing. Beth Moore paints a vivid picture: “If the entire law of God hinged on love, swing your head the opposite direction and picture the exact reverse. In the light of that darkness, you’ll begin to formulate the basic structure of lawlessness. Feel the temperature of warm hearts plummet to frozen tundra. Picture a world where people couldn’t care less about their neighbor.” (Children of the Day p. 171)
A world devoid of God’s presence would be an awful place, even for those who do not acknowledge Him. The Bible tells us that God is good, God is light and God is love. He doesn’t just bring these things to earth; He is the embodiment of them. This means anywhere that light, goodness and love exist on the earth, God is present. I believe this is true even in places where people refuse to acknowledge Him. That is why “the hellishness of hell will be the absence of God.” (Children of the Day p. 172)
Let’s consider this for a minute with a few Scripture passages to help us.
God is Light
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.” (Genesis 1:1-4, NIV)
“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.“ (1 John 1:5, NIV)
-Both passages above show that God created literal light and it is He who sustains it.
“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” (John 8:12, NIV)
-Jesus is the light of the world and makes it possible for us to move from spiritual darkness into spiritual light.
“There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign forever and ever. (Revelation 22:5, NIV)
-In the earth’s last days when Jesus returns, God will be the source of all light.
God is Good
“You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees.” (Psalm 119:68, NIV)
-Strong’s Concordance explains: “God is good in the very widest sense of the word including His nature, character, and actions.”
God is Love
“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 John 4:8, NIV)
-The Wycliffe Bible Commentary explains: “Love is not simply a quality which God possesses, but love is that which he is by his very nature.”
Can you imagine living without light, goodness or love? While some people may take them for granted or not acknowledge God as their source, we daily reap the benefit of their existence in our world.
As Christians we have to make a clear and intentional choice not to be deceived by Satan and his lies. Paul gives us the best remedy for this. “So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.” (2 Thessalonians 2:15, NIV)
We have the honor of holding the Word of God in our hands and have the freedom to access it at any time. We can study it alone using a multitude of resources or gather with others to learn and grow. Current events remind us that this is not the case everywhere in the world today. Let’s not take this great privilege for granted. We must be on our guards to avoid being lulled into complacency by attractively disguised sins. Engaging God’s word daily is the best defense for keeping ourselves from falling prey to deception.
“Forever Reign” by Hilllsong is a fantastic worship song describing some of God’s attributes that were highlighted in this post. Click on the link to hear some Truth set to music.
Moore, Beth; Children of the Day; Lifeway Press, 2014
Pfeiffer, Charles, F. & Harrison Everett F; Wycliffe Bible Commentary; Moody Press 1990, p. 1475
Strong, James; Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, Thomas Nelson, 2001, p. 103