WHERE IS THE WORLD HEADING?
In spite of tremendous increase in knowledge and understanding, and technological advances that have revolutionised our way of life in practically every area, the world seems to be becoming more and more chaotic. Instead of becoming better organised and equipped to meet the challenges of life, people are becoming more confused, unhappy, fearful and stressful as time goes on. Moral decay, violence, corruption of values and dissolution of age-old social systems are driving many to despair. Hardly a day goes without reports of suicides, rapes and murder. Acts of communal and racial violence, riots and terrorist attacks are cropping up rather frequently. Even the wealthy who seemingly can get whatever they want and the highly educated people who can think and come up on top of situations are not exempt from suicides resulting from hopelessness and helplessness.
Those who predict that things are going to become better cannot avoid being overwhelmed by the realities of the world around them. Jesus was one who actually predicted that things were only going to become worse, especially as the time neared for His return. His coming this time would be for judging the world and starting a new earth and heaven with His people. Right now this world is heading for judgement, and the short time that is left is the only chance many are going to get to repent and turn to God.
Satan, the ruler of this world, knows that his remaining time is short, and he is bent on showing his maximum fury against all the creation of God and especially the people who have chosen to love God. He is the mastermind behind all that is going wrong in this world, and he is scheming and carrying out his devious strategies to directly or indirectly turn people away from God. One of his strategies is to make people think that a sovereign and loving God does not make sense in this world that is apparently going out of control. Another is to offer people things that can take the place of God in their lives, such as wealth, pleasure, fame, personal independence, etc.
It is through people that Satan and his demons spoil the world. They corrupt a few people and then using those people they try to spread the poison across the world. Using the same technique that they use to tempt us, they plant their ideas into our mind. They do this in such a subtle way that, unless we are alert and we check everything with the standards of the word of God, we can be fooled into thinking that it is a part of our own thinking. And then we can act on these ideas and imagine that we are being very clever!
Look at the way the media is manipulated. The tremendous power of the media in shaping the thoughts, attitudes, values and behaviour of people is being deliberately used to spread Satan’s venom all over the world. Even if people think that they are intelligent enough to sift through the media and eliminate the bad elements from their minds, it does not work that way. What we hear and see a lot does have an impact on our mind, and one of the things that happen is that our values get eroded in the long term. Things that used to shock us before are now tolerated and later accepted. We may not be aware that such changes are happening in us because the devil makes us think that we are becoming more ‘enlightened’—the same trick that he used with Eve. Over a period of time, our behaviour also begins to change.
Think of how fashions are being manipulated slowly to make women look tantalising, and when men are exposed to this through the media they are made to think that sex is the most exciting pleasure on earth for which they should be willing to give up anything else. When violence is depicted on the screen in its most gruesome form, and children’s video games major on indiscriminate use of violence in order to win, what are the behaviour patterns getting ingrained into the brain? When immorality in the form of adulterous and homosexual relationships is portrayed in reality and comedy shows as things to be laughed at and enjoyed, what is going to happen to our value systems?
With the media’s penchant for the sensational, based on their findings on what people want, the audacious, weird, perverted and crooked behaviour gets noticed more than the lives of ordinary and normal people. Reports of rape and murder coming up every day give an impression that a large number of people are involved in such things—which is really not so. Activists who are fighting for freedom for abortion or recognition of homosexual behaviour and same sex marriages exaggerate the statistics in their favour. Pseudo-scientific interpretations that evolutionists and homosexuals bring up are blown out of proportion by the media and presented in such a way as to make anyone who disagrees with them look like idiots.
Another way Satan works is to give ideas to people that appear to be solutions in challenging situations. Is it not possible that it is he who suggests to people in desperate situations to go and hang themselves, in tempting circumstances to rape someone, and in violent build-ups to retaliate brutishly? When disputes in families, churches, workplaces, communities and even among countries escalate and go out of control, do we think Satan has nothing to do with them? “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph.6:12). Of course, this is not a ‘devil-made-me-do-it’ explanation or devolving the responsibility of people themselves for the actions they choose, but trying to illustrate one more dimension in what is going wrong with the world.
When Bible teachers are thinking hard on understanding difficult passages or when pastors are preparing sermons, should it be assumed that they will only hear from the Holy Spirit? Then where do ‘doctrines of demons’ come from (1Tim.4:1)? These doctrines can be as innocent looking as not eating certain foods or not marrying in order to become holy, as Paul mentions in the context, or damning heresies that distort the character or person of God. A desire to produce something ‘new’ and ‘impressive’ plays into the hands of demons who are only too happy to oblige!
Of course the ‘ruler of this world’ has been defeated decisively when Jesus died and rose from the dead, and he is going to end up in the lake of fire ultimately when our time of testing is over. Even though it looks as if Satan is having a field day, we must not forget that God is still carrying out His purposes sovereignly. This gives us a position of victory and authority to work from. But till Jesus comes, we have to be on the alert and vigilant lest we should be taken captive by his devious schemes and get corrupted ourselves (1Pet.5:8). We must not allow ourselves to be swayed by the moves of public opinion around us and change from our position of confidence in His word and the truth He has revealed to us in it. Involvement of Satan in the affairs of the world is also a factor which we need to include when we pray for ourselves and for others (Eph.6:18,19).